Your kitty is laying on the floor unconscious and not breathing. You panic. You grab your kitty and drive to the closest animal hospital. However, your kitty may or may not make it to the hospital in time to be saved. Learning how to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on your cat will better the chances you are able to save your cat’s life if he or she should stop breathing.
When a cat stops breathing, the cat no longer receives oxygen. If a cat does not receive oxygen for more than a few minutes irreversible damage may occur. This article will teach you how to perform basic CPR on your cat. However, I am not a veterinarian and while I believe this information is correct, you may want to verify this information with your vet before using it on your cat.
First, make sure your kitty is actually unconscious and not breathing. Touch your kitty and talk to him or her, and say his or her name several times. If a cat is deeply sleeping instead of unconscious, he or she may hurt you when he or she suddenly wakes up.
In addition, check your cat’s heartbeat or pulse. If your cat has a pulse you may do rescue breathing for him or her. If your cat’s heart is not beating, you will need to do heart massage for him or her.
Next, make sure your cat’s airway is open. Lay your cat on his or her right side. Extend your cat’s head and neck. Open your cat’s mouth and pull his or her tongue forward in order to see if there is any vomit or saliva blocking your cat’s airway. If there is, put your finger into your cat’s mouth and remove it.
If you are unable to see if there is anything blocking his or her airway, stick your finger into your cat’s mouth, reaching into the throat and make a swipe with your finger. This motion should clean out your kitty’s airway so that you can proceed. Be sure to not pull on the smooth bone-like structure in your cat’s throat. This is your cat’s Adam’s apple and you can damage it if you pull on it.
Next, watch your kitty to see if he or she begins breathing. Sometimes a cat will start breathing when its head and neck are extended and his or her airway is clear. Watch your kitty for 10 seconds. If the chest does not begin to rise and fall and you do not hear your cat breathing, proceed to begin rescue breathing.
Close your cat’s mouth, but leave the tongue hanging out. Put your mouth over your cat’s nose and breathe into it. Breathe into his or her nostrils until you see your cat’s chest expand. If his or her chest does not begin to expand, breathe into your cat’s nose more forcefully. Allow your cat’s body to exhale by releasing your breath. Your cat’s lungs will automatically deflate.
Give your cat one breath every four to five seconds. Continue this procedure until your cat begins to breathe on his or her own or until veterinary help is available. It is important that you ensure that your cat’s heart continues to beat.
IF YOUR CAT’S HEART IS NOT BEATING OR STOPS BEATING, follow these instructions for heart massage.
Place your fingers and thumb on either side of the sternum, located between your cat’s arms, just above his or her elbows. Firmly compress the chest six times. Administer a rescue breath. Continue in this pattern. If it is possible, continue to compress the chest while you administer your cat rescue breaths.
Pause every two minutes to check your cat’s heartbeat (pulse) and to see if your cat begins breathing.
Continue giving heart massage and rescue breaths until your cat’s heart begins to beat and begins to breathe on his or her own, until a veterinarian takes over, or until no heartbeat is detected for 30 minutes.
Heart massage and rescue breathing can save your cat’s life. Print these instructions and keep them handy for emergencies. Talk to your vet if you need more detailed instructions on these procedures. Your vet will also be able to demonstrate exactly how to execute heart massage and rescue breathing techniques.