Cats are naturally curious and get into many items and messes, so their chances of being hurt or becoming unconscious are very probable. An important part of cat care is knowing how to help an unconscious cat before you can get to a veterinarian. Your efforts may save the cat's life.

If a cat is unconscious, use the following cat care tips:

Step 1: Check the cat if you suspect choking.

Step 2: If the cat is breathing, check for shock. In shock cases, the circulation to the external parts of the body is greatly diminished. Examine the gums and the inside of the upper lip. If you find white or very pale gums, shock is almost certainly present.

Step 3: Feel for the heartbeat by placing fingers about one inch behind the cat's elbow and in the center of the chest.

Step 4: If the heart is not beating, follow these steps below to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If the cat's heart is beating, go to Step 4h to perform artificial respiration.

Step 4a: Turn the cat on his or her side.

Step 4b: Kneel down at the head of the cat.

Step 4c: Grasp the chest so that the breastbone is resting in the palm of your hand, your thumb on one side of the chest and your fingers on the other. Your thumb and fingers should fall in the middle of the chest.

Step 4d: Compress the chest by firmly squeezing your thumb and fingers together. Strive for 100 to 160 compressions per minute.

Step 4e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the cat's mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for three seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.

Step 4f: After one minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement and feel for heartbeat by placing fingers about one inch behind cat's elbow and in the center of its chest.

Step 4g: If the cat's heart is still not beating, continue CPR.

Step 4h: To perform artificial respiration, extend the cat's head and neck. Hold the cat's mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer one breath every three to five seconds. Repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.

Step 5: Transport the cat to the veterinarian immediately. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued on the way to the veterinarian or until the cat is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.

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