Saturday 5 November 2022

Can you do CPR on a domestic cat? Yes. Here are the steps.

CPR is a combination of artificial respiration and heart massage. CPR stands for 'cardiopulmonary resuscitation'. Artificial respiration is an emergency procedure. It is used to exchange air in a cat who is not breathing and unconscious. Heart massage is used when there is no heartbeat, or one cannot be heard or felt.

Heart massage and artificial respiration go together because when cats stop breathing their hearts stop functioning.

CPR on a cat.  This is a screenshot from the video below. This is not a real cat!

I am thankful to the veterinarians who wrote the book Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook for the following information.

Artificial respiration

  • You lay your cat on a flat surface with his right side down.
  • You open his mouth and clear away any secretions with a cloth. Check for foreign bodies and if present you remove them if it's possible. If there are foreign bodies or a foreign body you should try and remove it using the Heimlich maneuver.
    You pull the cat's tongue forward and close the mouth. Place your mouth over your cat's nose but not the mouth. You blow gently into the nostrils. The cat's chest will expand. You should blow gently. This means not blowing hard enough to inflate a balloon.
  • You momentarily stop to let the air come back out.
  • If the chest does not start to rise and fall indicating breathing you can blow more forcefully and if need be seal the cat's lips with your hand.
  • You breathe into your cat's nostrils at the rate of one breath every 4 to 5 seconds.
  • You continue until the cat breaths on their own or as long as the heart continues to beat.

Heart massage

  • Continue with mouth-to-nose breathing.
  • Place your fingers and thumb on each side of the cat's sternum or chest behind their elbows.
  • You press the chest firmly (not overly firmly) six times and administer a breath. You then repeat. The massage rate is 80-120 compressions per minute.
  • Don't stop heart massage while administering a breath.
  • You pause every two minutes for 10-15 seconds to allow you to check for a pulse and to check whether your cat is breathing.
  • You continue until the heart beats and the cat breaths on their own or until no heartbeat is felt for 30 minutes.

I hope this helps. The source of information is very sound. You will find many articles on this on the Internet so you can search elsewhere. And you will see videos on the Internet, one of which I have included below.

This video has been selected because it has been on YouTube for a very long time and therefore it is unlikely to be deleted and in which case it will continue to function on this website. However, it may stop working at some time in the future and if so, I apologise but I have no control over this.

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