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Name: Shakti
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Location: TX
Country: USA
Date: Summer 2010

What is the best way to find a cat's heart rate using a stethoscope? Because I have tried to hear their heart beat but their purring is all I can hear. If I shouldn't use a stethoscope, then what should I use?

Hi Shakti!

If you want to use a stethoscope, the trick is to get your cat to stop purring. Two good ways that I have found to help stop the purring 1. Cover their nose (generally cats don't like this and will stop purring) or 2. Put on the tap to drip or lightly stream water (also, they generally don't like this and will stop purring). Alternatively, you can get their heart rate from feeling their pulse. A good place to try to feel a pulse is right where the leg attaches to the abdomen - in an area called the inguinal region. Now granted there are some heart conditions that will cause an animals pulse and their heart rates don't match up, and it's hard to feel if you have a fat cat, but it's a good place to try if you are really trying to get a heart rate in a healthy kitty!

Good luck!

Susannah Sample DVM, MS
University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

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