Blood pressure in cats is measured as in humans, with the systolic (upper) value representing the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is contracting and the diastolic (lower) value representing the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes.
- Many cats suffer from a stress-induced, temporary increase in blood pressure that can be due to the anxiety of being in the veterinarian’s office. A systolic pressure of below 170 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) suggests that a cat does not have hypertension.
- High blood pressure can cause blindness and impaired cardiac and kidney function.
- Rarely do cats suffer from high blood pressure without an underlying cause, which means another disease is usually causing the hypertension.
- Symptoms of hypertension may include sudden blindness or visual impairment (often with pupil dilation), increased thirst, increased or decreased urine output, respiration problems, lethargy, anorexia, seizures, disorientation, and wobby gait. If any of these are observed in your cat, an immediate visit to your vetinerarian is warranted.