How to Save a Choked Cat: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Save a Choked Cat: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Save a Choked Cat: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

It is important to be aware that choking in cats is rarely life-threatening, as these animals discriminate what they put in their mouths, which means that the chance of chewing or swallowing things that can cause choking is much lower than in dogs and even in children. Choking does occur when an object blocks the back of the throat, especially the windpipe, but it's quite unusual for a cat to swallow something so big that it gets stuck. However, in certain cases, cats make sounds that suggest they are choking, when in fact they are not. Because of this, the first thing the owner should know is how to identify if there is something stuck in the pet's throat and learn how to proceed if the choking is actually occurring.


Part 1 of 2: Determining if the cat is really choking

Save a Choking Cat Step 1

Step 1. Look for signs of choking

It's important to identify them quickly. The main signs of a choking cat are:

  • Inability to breathe.
  • Coughing hard.
  • Choking and salivation (drooling).
  • Bring the paw to the mouth.
Save a Choking Cat Step 2

Step 2. Watch for signs that resemble choking

Among them are the exaggerated efforts to breathe that involve the entire body while the cat emits a kind of whistle as it tries to exhale. Such movements and sounds can be quite intense, giving the impression that the cat is feeling very sick. In addition, these animals can worry the owners even more by the habit of expelling fur balls or having an urge to vomit, leaving the owner worried about the possibility of a choke. In fact, retching is commonly confused with choking by cat owners, as it is a common symptom in cats.

Save a Choking Cat Step 3

Step 3. Assess whether it is likely that the cat is actually choking

Think about what he was doing before exhibiting such behavior; if the pussy was sleeping or calmly walking around the house, there is little chance that it is actually choking, as the cat hasn't caught anything in its mouth, so it hasn't had access to anything that could block the windpipe.

Save a Choking Cat Step 4

Step 4. Keep the cat calm during an “attack” that is not actually a choke

These episodes can be caused by a cat's deep breathing, pulling part of the soft palate against the larynx (the entrance to the airway). When trying to breathe deeply once more, the animal continues to “suck” the soft palate against the airway. For it to stop, just calm it down and make it return to breathing calmly normally.

  • Talk gently with the animal, caress the coat and also under its chin.
  • In some cases, helping the cat to swallow takes the suction off the soft palate, reorganizing the cat's anatomy. For the animal to swallow, give it the treat it likes best.
Save a Choking Cat Step 5

Step 5. Observe the coloration of the cat's gums

If nothing goes well, check the animal's gums to determine if enough oxygen is available. If they are pink in color, this indicates that the amount of oxygen is good and the cat is not in danger; however, the purple or blue color means there is a lack of oxygen and the pussy's situation is at risk.

  • If the gums are blue or purple, contact the veterinarian immediately or take the animal to a veterinary emergency room.
  • When the gums show such colorations, observe the animal's mouth. If you don't find any obstructions or remove them easily, don't waste any more time and quickly take it to the vet. Remove the obstruction if possible.

Part 2 of 2: Administering First Aid to a Choking Cat

Save a Choking Cat Step 6

Step 1. Give immediate attention to the animal

The feline larynx is extremely sensitive; if spasms occur at the site, the airway can be blocked, suffocating the animal. There is no time to wait for the veterinarian's assistance, but the owner should still call for the professional's advice if possible.

Save a Choking Cat Step 7

Step 2. Take a thick material, such as a towel, and wrap the cat in it

Leave only the head exposed to support him, allowing him to have control of his front limbs.

Save a Choking Cat Step 8

Step 3. Look inside the cat's mouth

Leave his head slightly tilted back, allowing the owner to open his mouth and get a better look at you. With one finger, gently push his lower jaw down and use tweezers to remove the trapped object. If you cannot see what is causing the obstruction or the foreign body is wedged in too deeply, do not try to remove it.

  • Avoid putting your fingers in the cat's mouth. In addition to risking being bitten, the object can be pushed even deeper.
  • If someone can help, the task will be much easier.
Save a Choking Cat Step 9

Step 4. Try to force the obstruction to be expelled

With the palm of one hand, tap it firmly, but not forcefully, between the animal's shoulder blades. Another option is to perform several quick compressions on both sides of the rib cage. To make the compressions, follow the Steps below:

  • Sit on the floor with the cat in front of you, but facing away from you.
  • Raise his hind legs and hold them between your knees.
  • Place one hand on one side of the animal's chest and squeeze firmly enough to compress about a third of the animal's chest. Do not apply excessive force or the ribs of the pussy may be broken. When squeezing, make irregular movements.
  • The goal is to make the cat "cough". Squeezing four to five times should be enough to force the animal to expel the object.
Save a Choking Cat Step 10

Step 5. Treat an unconscious cat differently

He may pass out or become unconscious due to lack of oxygen. If this happens, do the following:

  • Open his mouth as much as possible. The jaws will not be damaged by being opened wide. Look for an obstruction; if it is easy to detect and is not pinched, use tweezers to remove it. In this case, the owner can use their fingers, but only if there is a way to avoid putting pressure on the object, as it could end up being trapped further in the airways.
  • Remove fluids with a cloth or tissue paper. Lay the cat down on a slope, keeping its head lower than its heart. This helps the fluids in the mouth to be removed and not flow back down the throat, preventing them from being ingested again by the cat. Avoid cotton as the material can get stuck in the throat.
  • By making sure your cat's airway and throat are clear, begin CPR on the cat, resuscitating it through the mouth and nose, which can save the cat's life.
Save a Choking Cat Step 11

Step 6. Make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible even if you can remove the obstruction yourself

It is important that the cat is examined to see if the foreign body has caused damage to the throat. Keep him calm until he gets to the vet.

Save a Choking Cat Step 12

Step 7. If you are unable to clear the airway, take it to the vet immediately

Check if there is any method of transport that does not make you nervous (someone to help is very important in this case) and with plenty of ventilation during the journey. Call the veterinarian to let them know you are on your way or take the animal directly to a veterinarian emergency room.


  • A flashlight (or any other type of directed light) can help find an obstruction in the cat's mouth.
  • The veterinarian may have to apply anesthesia to the cat to see what is choking him. In addition, in some cases, the professional performs X-rays and other tests, stabilizing the animal's condition through an oxygen balloon and medications, depending on the veterinarian's preferences.


  • A semiconscious cat can still bite. Caution.
  • There is a risk that the cat will choke to death by choking; deal with it immediately and urgently.

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