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How to give a cat CPR

Cheer up, Curacao. You’re still breathing.

Cheer up, Curacao. You’re still breathing.

Dear Fisher:

I had a scary accident last week, and my humans are still reeling from the experience. I was racing around in the back yard, chasing a leaf, when I jumped up high to catch it. Unfortunately, it was too close to the pool. I lost my balance and ended up hitting my head and falling in. I was dazed enough that I couldn't swim. My boy saw this happen and laughed, then got scared because I looked like I was going to go under. I was gasping and trying to get air with no water. It was awful. They were all so scared and seemed to be mad at me. How can I help them forget this terrible incident?


You have just disproved the great myth that cats always land on their feet! You have also exposed another truth — cats can really be clumsy at times.

Consider this a lesson well-learned, and your people will follow suit. Remember that sometimes your humans love you so much and an upset like that can make it seem like they are mad at you, but they are not.

What is the worst that could have happened? You could have gone down for Count 1 and taken in a lot of water. By Count 2, your breathing would have gone awry, and you probably would not have even been aware of Count 3. No wonder your people are upset.

Most likely, the biggest result of this accident is fear that you will pull a stunt like this again. The best thing to do is have a plan of action. One option: pet first-aid classes. Many animal shelters and the Red Cross have them. Planning for the worst will ease the fear for both you and your people.

I strongly recommend you and your humans take a course in CPR, which is used if there is no pulse and no breathing. A good online description can be found at Rescue Critters (

Right off, you need to know the first three rules — look, listen, and feel for breathing.

Rescue breathing is used if there is a pulse, but no breathing:

• Give four or five breaths using the "mouth-to-snout" method.

• Check for a pulse.

• If there is a pulse, give one breath every two seconds for a cat.

Please visit the site, or take a class. I cannot take the risk of missing a step. Practice sessions will probably annoy you, but remember it is for your own safety.

In the meantime, I suggest getting another hobby besides leaf chasing.

I recommend napping.

— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to or visit

How to give a cat CPR 11/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 1:31pm]
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