ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Save a Cat from Choking

Updated on January 17, 2009

Something all cat owners should know


Cats are surely inquisitive creatures. They like to inquire and explore the world around them. Many times, however, their inquisitive nature may get them into serious trouble. Some cats, in particular kittens, may go as far as trying to eat or swallow dangerous items that may get lodged in their throats causing them to choke.

Common objects that are ingested are small knicks and knacks such as buttons, strings, cloth, tinsel, fish-hooks, and small toys. Cats may also choke on large pieces of food. In some cases, cats may choke as a result of an allergy causing the throat to swell and not allow sufficient airflow. This is an emergency situation as well, requiring immediate vet attention.

Signs a Cat is Choking

Owners must be able to learn how to differentiate a cat that is choking from one that is gagging, coughing up a hairball or regurgitating. This is very important as choking episodes require quick and firm action that may cause unnecessary injury if the cat is in reality not choking.

A choking cat is not a nice scenario to visualize. The cat will appear panicky and in distress, he/she will gag in an effort to dislodge the object, may drool and will carry the neck extended. The cat may be pawing at its mouth, have difficulty breathing and in severe cases, the gums and tongue may take a pale or bluish tint ultimately causing the cat to faint.

Owners must act quickly and refrain from getting panicky themselves. If the cat is still conscious, restraining a choking cat may be a difficult task. Some cats will struggle up to a point of causing the foreign object to work its way even deeper down the throat.

Ideally owners should wrap their cat into a towel burrito-style and head to the closest veterinary hospital. However, this may not be too practical if the vet is far away and every second counts. Owners therefore, may try 3 different approaches:

1) Manually Dislodge the Object

Once the cat is wrapped in towels, the owner will lift the cat's head back and will elicit the cat to open the mouth. The cat's nose should be pointing towards the ceiling. The tongue must be pulled out of the way to allow a clear visualization of the throat. If an object is seen obstructing, owners may try to manually remove it. Owners must be careful not to attempt to pull out anything that feels odd. It is easy to confuse the cat's small bones supporting their tongue as chicken bones.

2) Use Gravity To Dislodge Object

By grasping the rear legs and having the cat in a lifted "wheelbarrow" position owners may shake the cat and even give a few blows on the back in an effort to dislodge the obstructing object. Being too gentle here may not be much productive, the cat will need to be vigorously shaken and the blow should be firm enough and between the shoulder blades.

3) The Feline Version of Heimlich maneuver

Because the real only way to perform this maneuver effectively is by seeing it done, a video of the Heimlich maneuver for cats is available at this link. The owner must pick up the cat around the waist and reunite both hands forming a fist and will place the fist behind the ribs on both sides of the abdomen. The fist will be placed at the sternum, behind the ribs in sudden firm upward motions (usually 3-5 movements will suffix) until the object dislodges.

If the above attempts are not working, the cat should be seen promptly. Time is of the essence. Should the cat appear unconscious artificial respiration (CPR) must be administered. Choking cats are also prone to a complication called Pulmonary Edema. While choking may be a rare event in cats, all owners greatly benefit in learning what to do so to be able to respond effectively should a choking episode arise.

Feline Heimlich maneuver explained


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)