Heart Murmurs In Cats: What Is This Feline Condition?


Have you seen your vet observing or listening to your cat’s heart? He may be listening to your cat’s heart murmur. These heart murmurs in cats are an important indication for the overall health of a cat. Get to learn more about this and more. Feel free to give this article a read!

Heart Murmurs in Cats: What is this?

The heart murmurs in cat might be heard by a vet when he/she is listening to the cat’s heart. This particular phenomena is due to turbulent blood flow inside the heart or the large vessels, which exits from the heart. Furthermore, this may result in an irregular noise that may be heard by the vet while listening to the heart through a stethoscope.

The extra heart vibrations, which are yield as a result of a particular disturbance in the blood flow, in fact, enough to produce an audible noise, are what they refer to as the murmurs. More often than not, these murmurs are classified in accordance to a variety of characteristics, which includes the timing. Furthermore, the systolic murmurs, for instance, happen when the heart muscle tends to contract. On the other hand, the diastolic murmurs happen when the heart muscles relax in between beats. Furthermore, the continuous and to-and-fro murmurs happen all throughout all or most of the cardiac cycles.

Causes of Cat’s Heart Murmurs         

A murmur is due to a turbulent blood flow in the heart. From time to time, a heart murmur is being defined to as a physiologic or innocent, while some other times, the heart murmur is being determined to be pathologic or something that is caused by a condition. The pathologic heart murmurs may be due to a physical problem in the heart, or may be due to a condition, which is extracardiac; for instance, not caused by a heart illness.

Here are some other possible causes of heart murmurs in cats:

  • Flow disturbances in association with regurgitant flow because of an incompetent valve, patent ductus arteriosus, or a flaw in the septum.
  • Flow disturbances that’s in association with the outflow obstruction or the forward flow via the disease valves or in a dilated great vessel.
  • Disturbed blood flow that’s in association with the high flow via normal or abnormal valves or with the structures that are vibrating in the blood flow.

Types and Symptoms of Cat’s Heart Murmurs

The symptoms that come with the murmurs mainly depend on a variety of characteristics, including the configuration, grade, and location. However, if the murmur is in association with the structural heart disease, the cat might show some signs of congestive heart condition like weakness, exercise intolerance, or coughing.

Grading scale of heart murmurs in cats:

  • Level I –scarcely audible. Not easily perceived.
  • Level II –soft, yet easily heard using a stethoscope
  • Level III –transitional loudness. Most of the murmurs that are in connection to the mechanics of the blood circulation are no less than level III
  • Level IV –lurid murmur, which may radiate extensively. This -often comprising the opposite side of the chest
  • Level V –very audible, noticeable with stethoscope hardly touching the chest. Further, the vibration is strong enough to be felt as well via the chest wall of the cat
  • Level VI –so loud, noticeable with stethoscope hardly touching the chest. Further, the vibration is strong enough as well to be felt via the chest wall of the cat


  • Decrescendo murmurs begin loud and gets soften and are common of diastolic murmurs
  • Crescendo-decrescendo murmurs may get louder and softer and are common of ejection murmurs because of the turbulent onward flow
  • Plateau murmurs have a uniform loudness and are common of blood regurgitation via an abnormal valvular orifice

How is it passed?

The assessment and grading of the heart murmurs in cats is actually in accordance to a particular criteria. Furthermore, levels or grades I-VI are being recognized, with the Level I as the mildest, and the Level VI as the most austere. Furthermore, the grading system is mainly based on how loud the murmur is, yet some other factors are considered as well, just like the area in which the murmur is audible.

Moreover, the level or grade of the heart murmur doesn’t necessarily relate to that of the degree of severity of the main heart problem. Some austere heart illnesses might not be in association with any heart murmurs at all, and various loud murmurs might happen with comparatively small defects.

Treatment for Cat’s Heart Murmurs

The heart murmurs are just abnormal heart sounds, which are due to turbulent blood flow, and the treatment for which varies on the underlying cause of the heart murmur or the choppy blood flow. Furthermore, the physiologic heart murmurs don’t need any treatment. Nevertheless, regular monitoring of the cat, which has evidence of a particular physiologic murmur is advisable to make sure that there is no problem being developed. In case the heart murmur is due to an underlying problem, the treatment plan may be based on the prognosis, and might include a set of specialized diets, medications, as well as supportive care.


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