If a kitten is born and is not breathing, follow the cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) directions outlined below. Have one person contact your veterinarian for help.
Clear the airway. Hold the kitten's head downward to allow gravity to help drain fluid from the mouth, throat, and lungs. Use a suction bulb to remove any fluid from the airway.
Give two or three little puffs of air into the kitten's mouth and nose. In order to do this, your mouth needs to close around the kitten's mouth and nose. Do not give large breaths, as the kitten's lungs can be easily damaged. Be aware that some diseases can result in weak or dead kittens and can be transmitted to humans through contact with the kitten or fluids.
Check for a heartbeat; feel the chest wall between your fingers or use a stethoscope. If no heartbeat is found, compress the chest in the area right at the back of the bent elbow. This is the approximate location of the heart. Press the chest between the thumb and forefinger. Compress quickly. Remember, a newborn kitten's normal heart rate is over 150 beats per minute.
Every 15-20 seconds, give another couple puffs of air.
Each minute check for a heartbeat/breathing. If the heart is beating slowly, stimulate the kitten by rubbing it roughly (but carefully) with a towel, turning it over in your hands, or holding it by its scruff. This kitten needs stimulation and may need you to give it a few breaths of air in order for it to live. Continue to work with this kitten for 20 minutes to see if it can be saved.
If the heart is not beating, continue the CPR for about 5 minutes. If the kitten is not alive and active by then, it is unlikely the kitten will be saved.