By Dee (Florida)
CPR is an emergency procedure to try and keep a cat, animal or a person alive. I’m going to talk about Chester the cat. It may be lengthy. Chester was the third and last animal CPR I performed.
Chester came to me as a stray about 4 years ago. He was huge (around 15 lb), all black except for a small patch of white on his neck, large polydactyl front paws and semi-feral. I made him an inside cat although he didn’t really care for other cats. However, he tolerated them, and that’s pretty much all I expect from the clan I have.
After almost a year, he and I were pretty good pals, but he didn’t trust other people, especially my vet. As all of us do with our cats, I knew him well…well enough to see that he wasn’t “right” one day.
It was nothing real specific, but I just knew it wasn’t good. All PoCers know what I mean. So, we went to the vet and his labs showed kidney failure, possibly end-stage. On top of that he had a grade IV heart murmur. It was decision time.
Dr. Kramar was exceptional in explaining what would be involved if I chose an attempt to save him. I opted to try. Now, my only choice was to have him treated in the hospital or treat him at home. So many things were discussed:
- The hospital couldn’t provide round-the-clock care.
- Chester required intensive care, subcutaneous fluid administration that was risky as a fluid overload would put him into congestive heart failure, and he would be so frightened in the hospital that he would have to be sedated the entire time.
Well, I was not a vet nurse. I was a people nurse with a specialty in intensive care. I felt that I could handle what was required and Chester would not have to go through the traumas of being alone (and, maybe dying alone at night in the hospital), he wouldn’t have to be sedated, I would have the time to give him 24/7 attention if my daughter would agree to come and stay a short while to take over the rest of my crazy cat life (which she did).
So, armed with antibiotics, bags of IV fluid, tubings, needles, and a schedule of the whens and how much stuff to give, Chester and I went home.
After 3 days, he seemed to be improving. He was eating and drinking some, peeing fair amounts, and even groomed himself a little. I was becoming hopeful.
Then, after his first fluid therapy that third morning, I picked him up to love on him some because I hated sticking him with needles as much as he hated being stuck. And, he suddenly went limp and lifeless in my arms.
This was my third CPR occasion so I was more comfortable than previously. I learned the technique from the internet. There are many sites and videos. It is very different from CPR on a human.
I followed the steps as I remembered them:
- I laid him on his right side.
- I could see that he wasn’t breathing, so I made a tight seal around his nose and mouth with my mouth and gave him 4 quick, short breaths.
- I checked for a heart beat by moving his arm and putting my fingers in the place where his “elbow” had rested. I couldn’t feel anything.
- I placed my right hand underneath him opposite the place where I checked for a heartbeat and my left hand on top at the heartbeat spot. I compressed with 3 fingers of each hand (sort of like a squeeze) at a depth of about 1/2 inch as fast as I could for about one minute (the compressions are supposed to be 100-120 per minute). Then, 2 quick breaths and repeat over and over.
I tried for at least 15 minutes with no response. I wept the whole time. There wasn’t anything else to do at that point. It was over.
My two previous CPR occasions were with a cat and a dog. The dog was strictly a respiratory arrest and he survived. The cat didn’t respond.