Performing CPR on a cat is a delicate and challenging task that should only be attempted by individuals who are trained in veterinary CPR. CPR for cats requires specific knowledge of feline anatomy and physiology. If you suspect your cat requires CPR, it is essential to seek immediate veterinary assistance. In the meantime, here are some general guidelines on how to perform CPR on a cat:
Note: These guidelines are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for proper training in veterinary CPR.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
- Ensure your safety and the safety of the cat. Approach the cat carefully, avoiding any signs of aggression or distress.
Step 2: Check for Responsiveness
- Gently tap the cat's shoulder and call its name while assessing for any signs of responsiveness, such as movement, breathing, or vocalization.
Step 3: Check for Breathing and Pulse
- Place your ear near the cat's mouth and nose while watching the chest for any signs of movement. Look, listen, and feel for breathing and check for a pulse by feeling the cat's femoral artery (located inside the hind leg).
Step 4: Call for Help
- If the cat is unresponsive and not breathing or does not have a pulse, call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately for guidance and assistance.
Step 5: Begin CPR
- Place the cat on a flat, firm surface with its right side facing up.
- Administer chest compressions by using your fingers. For most cats, you will use two fingers (typically the index and middle fingers) placed on the chest just behind the cat's front legs. Be very gentle to avoid causing injury to the cat's delicate chest.
- Compress the chest gently to a depth of about one inch for adult cats. For kittens, use even lighter pressure.
- Perform chest compressions at a rate of approximately 100-120 compressions per minute.
Step 6: Provide Rescue Breaths (If Trained)
- If you are trained in feline CPR and comfortable providing rescue breaths, you can incorporate them into the CPR process. Here's how:
- After every 30 chest compressions, open the cat's airway by gently tilting the head back slightly.
- Cover the cat's nose and mouth with your mouth, creating an airtight seal, and give two gentle puffs of air into the cat's nostrils and mouth.
- Resume chest compressions immediately after giving rescue breaths.
Step 7: Continue CPR
- Continue the cycle of chest compressions and rescue breaths until the cat shows signs of life, professional veterinary help arrives, or you are advised to stop by a veterinarian.
Step 8: Seek Veterinary Assistance
- Once the cat shows signs of life or professional veterinary assistance arrives, transfer the cat to a veterinary clinic or hospital as soon as possible for a thorough evaluation and treatment.
Remember that performing CPR on a cat is a temporary measure to sustain the cat's life until they can receive proper veterinary care. Seek veterinary assistance promptly in any emergency involving a cat.