Pet Tips 'n' Tales©
Chipmunk CPR?!

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What do "Cat", "CPR", and "Chipmunk" have in common besides beginning with the letter "C"? Linda and her cat, Seamus, provide the answer through their CA(p)Tivating story.

Linda enjoys feeding the birds, chipmunks and squirrels that frequent her yard, who in return provide hours of "entertainment" for her cat, Seamus, a rescue named for his beautiful "Irish orange" fur, who eyes them "through the looking glass", from inside the house.
One particular day, Linda's "normal" feeding routine quickly morphed from "normal" into heart-stopping! "As I opened the door to go out to feed everyone, Seamus charged out like an orange streak of lightning!", said Linda.

"I wasn't too concerned, thinking that he was eager to explore the outdoors; stalk a few bugs, chase some wind-blown leaves, etc. I grabbed the squirrels' peanuts, then headed out to retrieve my furry boy. When I caught up with Seamus, I discovered that he had one of 'our pet' chipmunks wriggling between his jaws!

Seamus' long, low growl warned me to back off. But, after 34 years as a maternity/newborn nursery nurse, it could not deter me from my mission of mercy and instinct to do whatever  I could to save the little guy's life. So, I bent down and frantically attempted to separate Seamus' jaws. I was successful; the little chipmunk dropped to the ground. He was very still and limp. 

I tenderly picked him up, cradling him in my left hand as I inspected him. He wasn't breathing; there was blood surrounding a puncture wound in the right lower quadrant of his abdomen; and his left front paw (which resembled a tiny hand), was bloodied. I stared at him wondering what to do. Then intuitively, I administered a one-finger chest compression. Surprisingly, his little mouth opened and I heard a gasp. So, I administered two more compressions, achieving the same results. I was administering chipmunk CPR!

After the third compression the little guy began breathing on his own. I stroked him gently, then carried him to the bird bath and put a drop of water at the side of his mouth. His little tongue lapped it in, then he swallowed. I gave him another water droplet and watched as he licked his lips while regaining full consciousness.

I was so caught up in saving his life that I 'forgot' about him being a wild rodent who could bite me with his very sharp teeth. "Chip" squirmed as I gently stroked him with one finger, still holding him in my hand. Then suddenly he 'jerked', jumped out of my hand, and ran off into the bushes. I don't know which surprised me more: looking at his lifeless form, performing CPR on a  'dead' chipmunk, or his quick revival?!  I did gratefully notice that he didn't seem to limp on his injured paw. I carried Seamus back into the house, then returned to my 'feeding schedule', placing peanuts and a small water bowl under the bushes to speed up the chipmunk's recovery.

The next day, I had to take Seamus to the vet for a slight cough. I told the veterinarian what I had done and asked her if she thought the chipmunk would survive.  She laughed and said. 'I would have done the same thing and yes there's a good chance he'll be OK.' If  Chip hadn't jumped out of my hand I would have brought him to the clinic for treatment. But, I guess he feels the same way as Seamus, regarding car trips

Some folks will think that I'm crazy for trying to save a chipmunk's life, but it was an amazing experience!  Imagine performing CPR on such a small critter; I hope he survives! As for Seamus - he's grounded!" 


The following pet CPR videos demonstrate mouth to snout CPR and the proper usage/placement of pet oxygen masks, and provide information on donating pet oxygen masks to EMT, police and fire departments.

Even though CPR is now taught/performed using chest compressions, only, the original mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is mentioned in the Bible with midwives resuscitating newborns. CPR was "rediscovered" in the late 1950's by two doctors who taught mouth-to-mouth ventilation. In the early 1960's, three other doctors realized the benefit of including chest compressions to promote artificial circulation. The combined method was taught/used until five years ago before switching to chest compressions, only. Check with your local Fire Department, American Red Cross, and/or American Heart Association for availability/cost of "people" CPR classes.
Read the Pet Tips 'n' Tales article on how Seamus rescued Linda:
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