How to Revive Your Cat With Rescue Breathing

This kitty is sleeping peacefully, but if he weren't, resuscitation is possible.

This kitty is sleeping peacefully, but if he weren't, resuscitation is possible.

Finding your cat unconscious and unresponsive doesn't mean you're out of options. If your precious feline has stopped breathing, you can try breathing for him. This will get his lungs moving and blood pumping until you can get him to a veterinarian.

Place your hand on the cat's side to check for movement. Alternately, put your hand directly in front of your cat's nose. Do you feel any air against your skin? If so, the kitty is still breathing, and attempting to use rescue breathing on him could be risky.

Roll your kitty on his right side. Preferably he'll be on a flat, firm surface, but don't waste time moving him if not. You'll lose precious seconds that could be the difference between your pet's life or death.

Tip his chin up so that his head is extended and his airway is straight.

Open his mouth -- be gentle! Pull his tongue forward so you have a clear view and use your finger to remove any foreign objects that may have blocked his ability to breathe.

Close kitty's mouth, but keep his tongue out so his mouth closes over it. Hold his snout so the mouth can't open.

Place your mouth over the kitty's nose and mouth.

Breathe out -- again, gently -- so that air goes into kitty's airway. Make sure there's no way for the air to leak. He needs it all. Repeat this every three seconds until his lungs inflate and he breathes on his own.


  • Training in pet first aid and CPR is highly recommended. Check with your local humane society or American Red Cross regarding upcoming classes.
  • Release kitty's mouth as soon as he begins breathing on his own.
  • Check the kitty's heart to make sure it's still beating. You should be able to feel it on his chest, close to his left leg. If there's no heartbeat, you'll need to perform cardiac compressions.
  • The ASPCA recommends doing five cardiac compressions for every rescue breath.


  • Get your cat to a veterinarian as quickly as possible after resuscitating him.

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