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Created: 18th July 2000
How to Perform Artificial Respiration and/or CPR on Your Cat
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In any emergency situation, it is always best to get your cat professional help immediately, rather than to try to help it yourself. However, if your cat has been injured and has stopped breathing or has no pulse and you cannot get to an emergency hospital, the following procedures may save your pet's life.

Artificial Respiration

Use the technique below on a cat who has a heartbeat, but is not breathing. Under no circumstances whatsoever should you ever perform artificial respiration on a cat who is breathing on its own.

  • Remove the cat's collar.

  • Open the mouth and pull the tongue forward to open up the throat.

  • Check the throat for any foreign bodies that may be blocking the airway, then clear the mouth of any excess saliva or mucous. If the cat has vomited or was underwater, suspend the cat upside down by its hips and gently swing his body a few times to drain out the liquid.

  • Lay the cat on his right side with the body elevated slightly higher than the head. Keep the head and neck straight to maintain an open airway.

  • With the tongue pulled forward, place your mouth over the cat's nose only; do not cover his mouth. Blow air into his nostrils for approximately three seconds (excess air will come out the cat's mouth). You should be able to see the chest expand. Repeat every two seconds until the cat begins breathing on its own.


Do not attempt this on a cat who is breathing - coronary pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is only used when there is neither breathing nor heartbeat. Please note: this is a very difficult procedure to do correctly and should be only done if it is impossible for you to get your cat to the nearest animal hospital.

  • Lay the cat on its right side.

  • Continue performing artificial respiration in rhythm with the CPR.

  • Place the thumb of one of your hands on the cat's sternum and your fingers on the opposite side (so your palm cups the chest).

  • Compress the chest firmly, but not so hard you break the ribs. The rate is one compression per second.

  • Perform five compressions, then administer a breath.

  • Watch the cat closely and check for breathing and/or pulse every few minutes.

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