Just like people, middle-aged to older cats are at risk for developing high blood pressure. Sometimes this condition develops as a side-effect of another disease (i.e. chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism) but in other cases, no identifiable underlying cause can be found. These cats are diagnosed with primary hypertension.
No matter the reason for a cat’s high blood pressure, it needs to be addressed right away. Hypertension can cause damage to a cat’s heart, brain, eyes, kidneys and other organs. Thankfully, cat medications like Amlodipine are available to help keep a cat’s blood pressure out of the danger zone. Cats are diagnosed with hypertension when their systolic blood pressures (the higher of the two numbers reported) are over 160 to 180, but stress levels and physical exam findings should be taken into account when interpreting individual readings.
Routine blood pressure checks should be a part of wellness exams for cats seven years of age and older or for cats that have been diagnosed with a disease that puts them at risk for high blood pressure.