Abnormal heart rate detected while stroking cat

I frequently get an abnormal heart rate detection warning shortly after my cat sits on me and I start stroking her. 
Initially I thought this was the watch detecting the purring or stroking motion and misinterpreting it. Once I get the alert, using a finger pulse-ox usually shows my heart rate at 70-80bpm so not above the 100bpm threshold for the alert.
However today I had the alert a minute or so after I had finished stroking her and my hand with the vivosmart 4 on had been still for a minute. I immediately brought up heart rate display which showed 84bpm, a finger pulse ox showed 76 bpm.

I suspect what really happens is my heart rate quickly drops, but the vivosmart latches onto the 2nd harmonic instead of the fundamental (real) bpm rate, and thinks my rate is 2x higher than it actually is. 
Does anybody know what's going on?

  • I had this again today while stroking the cat, fortunately I had a finger pulse ox monitor on beforehand displaying a HR graph and my HR was 86 throughout. The vivosmart kicked up an abnormal HR warning and by the time I got it to show HR it said 118 and gradually dropped to the correct reading of 86. So beware false readings while stroking cats!

  • The abnormal hear rate alert on the VS4 can be set to both high and low heart rate alerts, one of them only, or none. Check your low heart rate alert settings - if you've been inactive, and then petting your cat relaxes you even more, you might be dropping below the threshold you have set, triggering the alert.

    The wrist-based HR monitors are also not entirely reliable in the first place. They perform better when the strap is tight - tighter than is comfortable all day, so assuming you have your band at a comfortable tightness, you may well be getting false dips or spikes in the detected heart rate, especially if you're moving or twisting your wrist, as you might be while petting a cat.

    If that's not it, could just be bugged settings. Do a hard reboot to clear out any issues in RAM-stored settings without losing anything else, or a full reset if that doesn't clear the problem (your settings *should* restore from Garmin Connect without issue, though you will lose the algorithmic personalization/learning data on the watch itself).

    You could also just disable the alerts - unless you have a medical condition you're specifically worried about, you don't really need them, and if you DO have a medical condition, an actual medical device that can alert you to heart rate problems might be a better option.

  • Can confirm. Cats somehow trigger this alert. Has been happening fairly regularly for me at night when my cat cozies up for pre-sleep cuddles. 

    No physical effects, just HR reading above threshold despite lying in bed. Feeling my pulse the old-fashioned way it sure doesn't seem like tachycardia.


  • Not sure what's going on but it's sure weird.