Skip to main content

Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.

Can I give a cat CPR?

The most important thing to understand about CPR is that you probably will never need to use it on a pet, and if you do, your efforts probably will be unsuccessful.

Can I give a cat CPR?

Q: I recently took a pet first aid class, and the veterinarian who taught it did not include CPR instruction. I feel cheated. I have three cats and think it's important for me to know feline CPR. Can you tell me what I need to know?

A: The most important thing to understand about CPR is that you probably will never need to use it on a pet, and if you do, your efforts probably will be unsuccessful, even if you'd been trained. That's because a cardiopulmonary arrest usually occurs during the final stages of a cat's or dog's illness.

Even when cardiopulmonary arrest occurs in the animal hospital, where staff can respond immediately with CPR, oxygen, stimulant drugs and other treatments, fewer than 10% of pets that were not anesthetized at the time survive long enough to be discharged from the hospital. These dismal statistics are even worse when the arrest occurs outside the hospital.

The most common cause of sudden heart failure in apparently healthy cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle. Unfortunately, by the time the cat collapses, the disease has progressed to the point that it cannot be reversed, and no amount of CPR is likely to be successful.

I hope you feel better knowing you possess the most important feline first aid skills and that your cats are unlikely ever to need CPR.

Editor’s Note: Having the supplies to stabilize your dog during an emergency can help save its life. Here are tips for creating a pet first aid kit for home or on-the-go.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at vet@askthevet.pet.

  • Instagram logo
  • facebook
  • tiktok
  • Twitter

No one is permitted to sell, solicit or negotiate an insurance policy without a producer license in the state in which the plan is sold, and all prospects should be directed to Figo Pet Insurance. The information contained in this website is for illustrative purposes only and coverage under any pet insurance policy is expressly subject to the conditions, restrictions, limitations, exclusions (including pre-existing conditions), and terms of the policy documentation issued by the insurer. Availability of this program is subject to each state’s approval and coverage may vary by state. Coverage underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC), a Delaware Insurance Company, 485 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Live Vet and the Figo Pet Cloud are separate non-insurance services unaffiliated with IAIC.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Figo Pet Insurance LLC. All rights reserved