Heart murmurs can be dangerous to cats.

Heart murmurs can be dangerous to cats. Image: Pexels

What is a heart murmur in cats?

Heart murmurs in cats signal an underlying heart problem that necessitates careful attention and ongoing monitoring.

Heart murmurs can be dangerous to cats.

Heart murmurs can be dangerous to cats. Image: Pexels

During a physical examination, a veterinarian typically detects abnormal sounds heard during the heartbeat, characterizing a heart murmur in cats using a stethoscope. While it might sound alarming, a heart murmur itself is not a disease but rather a symptom of an underlying issue affecting the heart’s function or structure.

Understanding Heart Murmurs in Cats


Heart murmurs in cats can arise due to various reasons:

  1. Valvular Disease: Dysfunction of the heart valves can cause turbulent blood flow, leading to murmurs.
  2. Cardiomyopathy: This condition involves the weakening or thickening of the heart muscle, affecting its ability to pump blood effectively.
  3. Congenital Defects: Cats can be born with heart defects that result in murmurs from birth.
  4. Hyperthyroidism: This condition can lead to secondary heart problems, including murmurs.

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Heart murmurs are graded on a scale of 1 to 6, indicating the intensity or loudness of the sound. Lower grades (1-2) might not pose immediate concern, while higher grades (3-6) often signify more severe issues and require closer monitoring and treatment.

Symptoms of Heart Murmurs in Cats

Detecting symptoms related to a heart murmur can be challenging as cats are skilled at hiding signs of illness. However, possible indicators may include:

  • Lethargy and Weakness: Cats might show reduced energy levels or tire easily.
  • Coughing or Difficulty Breathing: This can occur due to fluid buildup in the lungs.
  • Poor Appetite and Weight Loss: Some cats might exhibit a decreased interest in food.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If a veterinarian detects a heart murmur, they may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as echocardiograms, chest X-rays, or blood tests, to determine the underlying cause and severity of the condition.

Treatment for heart murmurs depends on the specific diagnosis. In some cases, medication can manage symptoms and improve heart function. Surgical options might be considered for congenital defects or more severe cases.

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Care and Management

Owners of cats with heart murmurs should follow their vet’s advice carefully. This may include administering medications, dietary changes, and regular check-ups to monitor the condition’s progression.


Heart murmurs in cats are indicative of an underlying heart issue that requires attention and monitoring. While a heart murmur itself might not always be immediately life-threatening, it serves as a crucial sign for potential heart-related problems. Early detection, proper diagnosis, and appropriate management by a veterinarian are crucial for maintaining a cat’s heart health and overall well-being. Owners should stay vigilant for any changes in their cat’s behavior or health and seek prompt veterinary care if any concerns arise.

Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.