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Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?
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Author:  zensquiggle [ Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Does anyone here have any experience with restrictive cardiomyopathy in cats?

Our cat, Steve, ended up at the emergency vet on Sunday afternoon after throwing up for 18 hours (he got into the trash and licked the icky juices from a teriyaki turkey tenderloin package my sis cooked for her kids). When the vet did x-rays to make sure Steve didn't eat part of the package and cause an obstruction, we discovered that he has a very enlarged heart.

(Incidentally, it turns out that the reason the teryaki turkey juice made him so sick is that he also has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which they found on an abdominal ultrasound, and for whatever reason the bacteria in the turkey juice caused it to flare up. Poor guy.)

The vet referred Steve to a radiologist for cardiac ultrasounds, and it turns out that he has feline restrictive cardiomyopathy. According to the vet and what I can find online, the restrictive form is the least common and least treatable form of feline cardiomyopathy, and the ultrasound showed that he already has a sizeable blood clot formed on the edge of his aorta. We are working with our vet to try to find a good balance between drugs (which our vet told us have not really been proven to help with the progression of this form of the disease) and quality of life.

Because of this, Steve will not live a long life and chances are that he will either die suddenly or throw a clot and have to be put to sleep long before we have to worry about congestive heart failure. He is only 3 or 4 years old, and our vet predicted he has anywhere between a few more days and a few more years left. It's breaking my heart trying to come to terms with this and move forward with the best life we can have together for as long as we have... does anyone have any experience with this disease? Can anyone recommend any drugs or therapies that were particularly helpful for your kitties that we might consider for Steve?

Thanks, everyone. Anything you can share will help... I'm feeling a little bit lost right now. Hopefully the vet's office can get him to eat a little today so we know the bowel flare-up is over and we can take him home tonight. I miss the little fuzzybutt something fierce.

Author:  ijustdiedinside [ Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

ugh. I'm so sorry about your kitty! I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to let you know that I'll keep you and your little fur buddy in my thoughts. I hope they can figure out a way to treat him since he's such a young guy. and don't forget that you can always try to get a second opinion if you are unhappy with what one vet tells you. maybe there are some newer drugs or something?

Author:  paprikapapaya [ Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I'm keeping you and Steve in my thoughts. I don't have any experience with that particular feline disease, but I know how difficult it is to deal with a cat health emergency.

Author:  zensquiggle [ Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Thanks to you both, we'll take all the good thoughts we can get!

I'm really fortunate to have a great vet, and she is working to hook us up with a cardiologist at the Washington State University vet school who will be able to give us a second opinion and some specialized advice. I think I would be able to come to better terms with this if we could do something about the blood clot. I've known people who have lost cats to blood clots that lodge near the back legs... it's horribly frightening and painful for them (it paralyzes the back legs), and I worry that something like that could happen when I'm not home and Steve would be alone and scared and in pain. I'll see the vet again this afternoon and hopefully there's a way to lessen that particular risk... I think that would help me feel a lot better about everything.

Author:  molly [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I am so sorry. My cat Owen died at age 12 from cardiomyopathy and we didn't know it until I came home one day and he had thrown a blood clot that permanently paralyzed him. I know this is very hard but I would just try to treasure every moment you have left with him - at least no matter what happens, you won't be surprised by a sudden death and will have time to say goodbye.

Author:  seitanicverses [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Hugs to you <3

Author:  happyfaced [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

i don't have any advice either, zensquiggle - but i will be keeping Steve in my thoughts and i'm sending you both big hugs!

please keep us updated on the second opinion, too.

Author:  zensquiggle [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

We are crossing our fingers that Steve might get to come home for good today!

His heart isn't causing any immediate problems, but the "garbage gut" in combination with the Inflammatory Bowel Disease hasn't resolved yet so he's still not eating/drinking the way he should be. Our vet got word back from a veterinary internist that she consults with that one of the appetite stimulants she wants to use (mercazipine, which is indicated as not safe for cats with severe heart disease) should be okay for Steve's particular situation so hopefully she can combine that with the anti-nausea drug and he'll eat and drink something on his own today.

Once we have him back and eating normally we'll start looking at heart meds. We'll do a phone consult with the vet cardiologist at WSU, and if she feels that it would be helpful to see Steve in the flesh we'll trek down there and consult in person.

Whatever happens, we're going to have a great life together for as long as it lasts. I just hope it lasts a long, long time. I've had a lot of cats over the years and they have all been amazing and special... but for some reason Steve has fit into a really special place in my heart and my life in a way that no other animal has before.

Thank you all for the hugs and support, and thanks especially to you Molly... Steve will probably go the same way your Owen did, and I hope he bucks the odds and makes it as long as Owen did!!!

Author:  paytizzy [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Hugs to you and Steve! I hope he gets to come home today.

Author:  zensquiggle [ Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Steve is home for now, but it's conditional. I had to syringe feed (the nice way of saying force feed) him tonight since he still won't eat on his own. I think the experience traumatized both of us. :-)

But because he has food in his system he can stay home tomorrow and have all day in a familiar place to hopefully get around to eating on his own. If he doesn't there will either be more syringe feeding or a trip back to the vet's office.

I'm glad to do this because he has to eat, but it's hard because he's pretty mad at me and all I want to do is haul him up to bed to cuddle up and watch old episodes of the Muppet show until we both fall asleep.

Author:  zensquiggle [ Mon May 14, 2012 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Steve passed away suddenly on Friday. He was such an extraordinary cat and an amazing friend, and I am so thankful that we had him in our lives.

I miss him so much.

Author:  Book Luster [ Mon May 14, 2012 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I am so sorry for your loss of Steve. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better. But I know there isn't. I've been there. Losing a special cat friend at a young age suddenly to heart disease is unbearable. The love you shared with him will always be there, try and hang on to that.

Author:  raspberrycomplaint [ Mon May 14, 2012 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I'm so sorry.

Author:  fisticuffs [ Tue May 15, 2012 5:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

So sorry for your loss (((hugs))).

Author:  alice1drland [ Wed May 16, 2012 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I am truly sorry. I know it's hard, but you were there for him until the very end, which is all you can really ask for.

Author:  fatcat [ Wed May 16, 2012 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I'm so sorry for your loss; but glad that you still had some time with Steve.

Author:  zensquiggle [ Tue May 22, 2012 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Thank you all so much. And in loving memory of an amazing cat and an extraordinary friend, here is Steve.


Watching TV with Mr. Squiggle:

Hiding from the camera:

Such a pretty face!

There is such a big hole in my life without him, but he was loved every moment he spent in our lives. Rest in peace, little dude.

Author:  rosek [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

wow, your cat really resembles my Alfie. I have 2 cats. my Lucky just got diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. I'm devastated, because apparently it is the worst form of heart disease. he's young like your Steve was. its really hard to deal with this, i know its only gonna get worse! the vet said anywhere between 6 to 9 months. it really sucks when they get sick. if u dont mind me did Steve go? in his sleep? or was it painfull?

Author:  zensquiggle [ Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Oh Rosek... I'm so sorry you've gotten this diagnosis! It's such a hard one to deal with because there's really nothing you can do except treasure every second you have with your Lucky until his time comes.

Steve didn't pass in his sleep. I said goodbye to him when I left for work in the morning, the same as I always did, and told him I loved him and to have a good day. He was totally normal. My sister had been staying with us while she was going through her divorce, and Steve's litterbox is in the downstairs bathroom. She was putting on her makeup for the day and noticed that he seemed to be having litterbox troubles so she texted me (Steve had some irritable bowel problems, so our first thought was either that he was particularly constipated, or that he'd managed to give himself a urinary tract infection and had a blockage). He had squatted and seemed to be stuck and frustrated, but NOT IN PAIN, so I had her call our vets office. Once they realized that it was Steve and what his health issues were they told her to bring him in right away. He started to get worse, and he couldn't move right. He lost control of his bladder and bowels in the car, and crawled into her lap while she was driving. I rushed to meet them at the vets office and he was just barely hanging on. He stayed with us for maybe 3 or 5 minutes after I got there while I talked to him and petted him and then he was gone.

In retrospect, I had noticed for the last week or so that he was wheezing a bit when he breathed, so he had some fluid building up in his lungs. Our vet suspects that he strained just enough in his litterbox that the blood clot broke loose and that's what took him. I think there was some pain for a very short time, and part of me wishes I'd realized sooner what was really happening (I work a half hour from the vets office) because I would have told our vet to let him go if she thought Steve might be suffering at all. But ultimately I think he didn't feel pain for very long, and he lived life so hard and so joyfully for the time he had that I can't regret anything. And I KNOW that he felt no pain or illness leading up to that day. Maybe he tired more easily, but I carried him up the stairs to bed every night anyway because it was part of our routine.

I am just so grateful that my sister was home and that Steve had someone there for him when his time came.

My only advice is to treasure Lucky every minute of every day. It really does help in the end if you know you did that. If your vet recommends any medications do your research and balance quality of life with medication. Ultimately, after talking with our vet the only medication that she could have given Steve was Plavix, to try and keep new clots from forming in addition to the one that was already there, but there's no research showing that it would have helped at all in his situation. Ultimately we decided not to do it, and I really don't regret it. But everyone's situation is different.

If there is anything at all I can help with, or if there's anything I can share that might help you work through this just PM me or post here and I'll do my best to respond. And every time you leave the house, tell your Lucky how much you love him.

Author:  agilmore2000 [ Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Oh my gosh. I just came across your posts about feline restrictive cardiomyopathy.

My orange tabby "Kitten" aged 8 was diagnosed with this in November. We had noticed that his breathing was starting to look labored a few months prior, but we didn't think anything of it. We took him in to the vet in November and they had a cardiology specialist come look at him. She told us that he had restrictive cardiomyopathy and the prognosis was grim. She said that some cats live for a month, some for a year or longer. She said he had fluid in his chest or "pleural effusion" that needed to come off through a chest tap. They took about 250 ml of fluid out that first time and he was breathing much better. He was required to be put on several medications - lasix(2 times per day), benazapril (1 time a day), plavix (1 time a day) and Vetmedin (2 times a day).

We were able to manage it fairly well for a few months, but it was quite a struggle. He had to get fluid taken off of his chest 5 times, so that he could breathe better. He kept filling up with fluid and then they added another diuretic called hydrocholorthiazide (one time per day). So, he was on 5 medications and basically my days were spent doling out meds to him. Luckily, I work from home (thank God).

However, this past Monday night, we noticed his breathing was really starting to be labored again and the vet's office was closed. We decided to take him to the ER. They said his breathing was not good and that his heart was not pumping well. They said they felt uncomfortable taking fluid off of his chest because they feared he would die, but they said he would die if they didn't do it. We decided to go ahead and have it done. This would be his sixth time to have fluid taken out in a short period of time. Luckily, he made it through the night and we picked him up in the morning (Tuesday).

He seemed like he was breathing much better and was drinking water and just walking around the house. He did seem a little lethargic. About 3 hours later I saw him on the patio (his favorite spot) and I was getting ready to go sit by him and then he literally had a heart attack right in front of me and died right there. It took about 30 seconds.

I have been so down and depressed this week that I cannot function. I am glad that I saw him pass, but I didn't think it would happen that day we got him back from the ER. He seemed happy and fairly normal, just tired. In fact, he was purring like I had never heard him before! My theory is that he wanted to die at home on his favorite porch in front of me. I miss him so much. This is so hard.

I am really sorry for the loss of your cat and any other owners going through restrictive cardiomyopathy. Kitten's heart muscle couldn't pump anymore and he literally just died quickly.

If anyone has questions about this, please let me know. I have learned a lot in this process. I have learned that this is a rare diagnosis and the prognosis is not great. But, the cardiology vet did say that there are cats who can live longer. I thought he would be one of these, but he was ready to go. I don't think he wanted to endure any more chest taps or visits to the vet.

I miss my cat! We get his ashes back next week...: (

Author:  agilmore2000 [ Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

By the way, what a cute cat. We had one named Biggs who looked just like that. He died in March of renal failure! We have two left now - another gray tabby and an orange tabby, but they are both getting older.

Cherish every moment with these animals!

Author:  billysings [ Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

My cat just received a diagnosis of restrictive cardiomyopathy. Most interesting that your Steve had IBD as does my Sophie. More and more and more, inflammatory processes are blamed for organ tissue breakdown. On searching, I've collected several studies which suspect, but do not yet prove with certainty that inflammation in the bowel and its VARIOUS results are the culprits in many organ failures and PARTICULARY HEART DISEASE SUCH AS CARDIOMYOPATHY. An interesting question is this: as cardiomyopathy is a result of scaring, WHAT THE HELL ELSE OTHER THAN INFLAMMATORY PROCESSES (such as hyperesinophilia - a result of "allergies") COULD POSSIBLY CAUSE THE SCARRING?

A number of years ago, a researcher who possessed a healthy dose of common sense theorized that cats would be healthier if they ate their natural diet. On testing mice, he discovered they are LOADED with the amino acid TAURINE.

A few studies later it became worldwide conventional wisdom that cats do in fact have a requirement for a bunch of TAURINE and now every producer of cat food adds it to their products. What is the end result? NEAR ERADICATION OF CARDIOMYOPATHY!

Ask your vets. I promise every one of them will tell you that average lifespan of cats is more than 5 years longer than it was just a few years ago, all as a result of added taurine and the resultant healthier feline hearts.


My cat has always had food with taurine added. But since she has had inflammatory bowel processes its possible she has not absorbed taurine along with other nutrients. My vet agrees with that (but he didn't think of it). My choices - and suggestions for proactive behavior toward cats with early onset cardiomyopathy - are as follows:

1. I'm having blood drawn to determine taurine level and I will supplement if indicated.

2. I'm following a carefully drawn diet plan, not at all difficult and quite loving, and which makes perfect sense. I'll link it here and you can see what you think. For your own sake, don't stop with this one if you haven't read others. But coming from one whose become reasonably versed on the sense AND dangers of raw diets, this one is a good read! It's purpose is health but its route is manifold; healing the gut in appropriate phases, allowing for proper uptake of nutrients, elimination of inflammation in the bowel and much of the rest of the body. The diet plan is on the 2nd and 3rd pages of the report so your patience will serve you well. ... nt?start=2

It's quite possible too that none of this will eliminate or slow the disease progression in Sophie. On the other hand I believe in one rule which applies to all living creatures; all bodies are always trying to be healthy. Give them what they are designed to get and the health-making process is at its best. But you all knew that.

Please pray for Sophie's healing. Please pray that I get blessed with wisdom. I'm very grateful for your prayers and I sure need the wisdom in large doses. Thank you.

Author:  gwlaw99 [ Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I am so very sorry for your loss. My cat Lilly has had restrictive cardiomyopathy for two years now and there were several times where I thought it was the end and was devastated. She now has renal failure and may only live a short time.

I just wanted to write the rest for someone who finds this thread looking for answers for their recently diagnosed cat. I thought we would only have a few months but with luck, great doctors, and Lilly's spirit, she has lived two years now.

Lilly has been on many medications, but you must ask your vet about these before using any of them. I was lucky to have a cardiac specialist vet near my home in the States. The most importantmedication for Lilly is furosemide (Lasix) which is a diurctic to keep liquid out of her lungs which can cause congestive heart failure. She crashed once from it and spent the night at the emergency vet. The next medication is pimobendan (Vetmedin). This makes it easier for the heart to work. It is made for dogs, but can be prescribed for cats as well. She was on Benazapril, but has been taken off it because of her kidney problems. She also takes Soltalol which helps with heart arrythmia and high blood pressure. Lastly she takes Plavix (mailed from canada because of price) which is a blood thinner to keep blood clots from forming. You can also use small amounts of aspirin. Except plavix, they can be compounded into liquids, chews, or even ear cream.

Occasionally she decides she doesn't want to eat and takes an appetite stimulant every 3 days.

Kidney function should also be monitored as diuretcs can put strain on the kidneys. I would familiarize yourself with all the symptoms of early kidney failure here

Feel free to ask any questions. I hope this will help someone.

Author:  seitanicverses [ Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

I'm resurrecting this thread because, to my absolute shock, I had to put my six-year-old cat Thurston down today due to this disease. I had no idea anything was wrong with him--I mean, lately he'd seemed out of sorts in general, not eating as much, depressed and I thought he was mourning Kizzy, my 19-year-old cat who had to be put to sleep last month and thought he was dealing with the changes with the new cat in the household. I did notice his breathing seemed weird for the last few days and yesterday I called the vet to make an appointment to have him checked out because it was starting to worry me, especially with the activity the new cat (Lovey) brought about for him--you know, if his breathing was labored, maybe it was too much for him and I should try slowing him down and giving him more breaks from the new cat?

boring story even more boring, at the vet this morning they took a chest x-ray, said Thurston's lungs were filled with fluid, his lung capacity (to take in oxygen) was extremely minimal at this point and they couldn't even see his heart on the x-ray but estimated it was severely damaged since his chest was so filled with fluid and the vet said if it was his cat, he'd put him down at once so I made that choice.

I'm in shock you guys. I can't forking believe it. I lost Kizzy on June 17 last month and now Thurston, who was only six years old, a day shy of a month later. How can this be? I thought I'd have Thurston in my life for many years to come. He was such a beautiful boy and loved me so much. He was my most devoted kitty who followed me everywhere I went all the time, even into the bathroom!

I'm glad Lovey (my new cat who I've only had for ten days) is here and he's lovely and giving me great comfort but my God, I had no idea when I woke up this morning that this would be what my day came to. I can't believe Thurston is gone. I just can't forking believe it. Anyway, stupid feline restrictive cardiomyopathy. It really snuck up on me. I had no clue, no clue at all. RIP Thurstles. I'll post my favorite picture of him later. I've had no time to grieve him and I'm heartbroken that he's not here anymore.

Author:  raspberrycomplaint [ Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Feline Restrictive Cardiomyopathy?

Oh gosh, seitanicverses, I am so so sorry. It's terrible to lose two animals so close together. I just want to give feline restrictive cardiomyopathy a big kick in the face for you (and all the others in this thread). I hope Lovey is taking good care of you. Hugs.

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