Heart Failure in Cats

Did you know that cats can suffer from Congestive Heart Failure? The bottom line is pets are no different from us, even when it comes down to health problems.

What is Congestive Heart Failure (left side) ?

A cat’s heart consist of four different chambers. The right side of the heart collects blood to pump to the lungs and become full of oxygen, then the left side of the heart collects the blood to send it to the rest of the body’s organs.  But when heart failures occurs on the left side, it leads to too much blood in the lungs and not enough for other organs. Because of this, cats with  congestive heart failure will experience serious health problems.

Symptoms too look for

  • Problems breathing
  • Weakness
  • Must stand in a weird position to elevate pain
  • Increase heart rate
  • When listening to lungs, a crackle sound can be heard
  • Pale greyish bluish mucus
  • Gums turn pale for awhile  after lightly pressing w/finger
  • Weak pulse
  • Possible heart murmur


Different causes can lead to heart failure, here are a few cause.

Muscle failure of the left heart chamber

  • Heart worm or other parasite infection
  • Inactive thyroid
  • Overactive thyroid

Pressure overload of the left heart

  • High blood pressure
  • Narrowing of artery
  • Tumor

Volume overload, separation of left artery and ventricle

  • Abnormal development of Mitral valve
  • Abnormal hole in the wall that divides the two bottom chambers.

Issues with getting the left side of heart filled with blood

  • Restricting  inflammation in sac around the heart
  • Enlargement due to heart disease
  • Tumor/blood clots
  • Fluid filling sac making it heard to breathe

Heart Beat rhythm issues

  • Increase heart beat
  • Decrease heart beat

Trip to the vet

If you find that your cat have these symptoms contact your vet In order to help your kitty with his or her  problem. The vet will perform different test including a blood test to find out what caused it and how bad it is. Type of treatment will depend on the cause. If your cat’s conditions are mild, the vet may prescribe medication and a diet change.  A really bad case, where your cat is having trouble breathing  may mean your cat need to be put in ICU, in a oxygen cage. For heart abnormalities, surgery  maybe recommended.