Diagnosis of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy currently is based on the presence of myocardial hypertrophy detected using conventional echocardiography. The accuracy of tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) for earlier detection of the disease has never been described. The objective of this sudy was to quantify left ventricular free wall (LVFW) velocities in cats with hypertrophic muscular dystrophy (HFMD) during preclinical cardiomyopathy using TDI. The study animals included 22 healthy controls and 7 cats belonging to a family of cats with HFMD (2 affected adult males, 2 heterozygous adult females, one 2.5-month-old affected male kitten, and 2 phenotypically normal female kittens from the same litter). All cats were examined via conventional echocardiography and 2-dimensional color TDI. No LVFW hypertrophy was detected in the 2 carriers or in the affected kitten when using conventional echocardiography and histologic examination, respectively. The LVFW also was normal for 1 affected male and at the upper limit of normal for the 2nd male. Conversely, LVFW dysfunction was detected in all affected and carrier cats with HFMD when using TDI. TDI consistently detects LVFW dysfunction in cats with HFMD despite the absence of myocardial hypertrophy. Therefore, TDI appears more sensitive than conventional echocardiography in detecting regional myocardial abnormalities.