How to feel the cat’s pulse, heartbeat and vital signs

Learning to hear the heartbeat of our cat can be essential in times of emergency or to check the state of health of the cat.

How do you tell a cat is healthy? If his vital signs are normal, there is usually no need to worry. And we don’t necessarily have to go to a veterinarian, on the contrary we often have to intervene alone to check that our cat is well, perhaps in a moment of emergency. And then, it is necessary to learn to hear the heartbeat, measure the temperature and know the breath of our cat, so as to be able to intervene promptly.

How to hear a cat’s heartbeat

To perceive the pulse and heartbeat of the cat, there is a very simple way that uses the femoral artery of our four-legged friend.

Here’s how to proceed, counting on the collaboration of the cat:

  • We place the right hand on the inside of the cat’s thigh, with three fingers (index, middle and ring finger). We need to place it at the groin level.
  • We swipe our fingers, but we don’t apply pressure.
  • We will notice at some point under the fingers the femoral artery. To the touch it will feel like a kind of rope.
  • We make a slight pressure, so we will feel the pulsations.
  • We place the animal lying on its side. We move its front paw forward.
  • We place the hand with the palm on his chest, just behind the elbow.
  • Once we find the beat, we can measure it.
  • A good method is to measure the beat for 20 seconds, and then multiply it by 3 to get the number of beats per minute.

Of course, as you can understand the main problem will be that the cat may not have any intention of allowing us all this if he is too nervous.

Equally important, before continuing, is to know what are the vital values ​​of a cat that we can consider “normal”, as a reference:

  • Heart rate: 100 – 170 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate: 10 – 40 per minute
  • Rectal temperature: 38.5-39 ° C

How to take a cat’s temperature

We consider that the body temperature of a healthy cat should normally be between 38.5 and 39.2 ° C.

A temperature that is below 38.5 ° C or above 39.5 ° C should alarm us and require a visit to the vet.

Obviously, if the cat is in a stressful time (such as in the vet’s office) his temperature may be temporarily higher than normal.

Some people rely on the wetness of a cat’s nose to know its body temperature. But it is not a precise method.

Often if a cat’s ears are warm, then our four-legged friend has a fever. But even then, we can’t rely on it.

The only really reliable and accurate way to measure our cat’s temperature is to use a rectal thermometer.

How to measure a cat’s breath

A cat that breathes normally should have a frequency between 16 and 30 breaths per minute, to be evaluated obviously when the cat is at rest.

To count its respiratory rate, while the cat is sitting or lying down, we observe the movement of its rib cage.

Also in this case, as for the heartbeat, we count for 30 seconds how many movements we see , and then multiply by 2.

There are various possible reasons for the increased respiratory rate: if the cat suffers from heart or respiratory problems, heat stroke, stress.

We then evaluate the general situation and the conditions of our cat, to understand if we should really worry.

If we notice that the cat is breathing with his mouth open, in any case, it is important to take him to the vet immediately.

Like humans, cats can suffer from upper respiratory infections or respiratory allergies. Again, there are variations in his breathing.

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