How to Save a Choking Cat
Fortunately, choking in a cat is rare. However, when a cat suffers from choking, it is fatal. So it's always great to learn how to save one if any cat needs rescue in such condition. One of the most concerning factors is time. If you cannot clear the cat's airway, she might die. Seeking a veterinarian's help immediately is the ultimate option for you a cat but before you reach to his office, you should try to comfort your cat as much as possible by removing foreign objects, artificial respiration, and CPR.
Technically, choking is any foreign objects get stuck in larynx and trachea. The foreign object can be pieces of bones from your cat's favorite food, pen lid, thimble or anything that your cat might find enticing and eat.
What is Your Job Before You Visit Vet
The more your cat tries to breathe, the more panicky she becomes. So your job is to clear its airway without being bitten. It might be possible that your cat is not choking and you misinterpret her indications.
So, here are some signs you need to look for.
- Pawing at mouth
- Anxiety and panicking
- Coughing and gagging
- Labored breathing
- Fainting and unconsciousness due to blocked airway and inability to breathe
If you're the only person around the cat, you might need someone and call him to restrain the cat in case she is too anxious and panicky. Follow the below steps to save a choking kitty.
Step 1: Approach the cat and simply make her comfortable because she might be so nervous and anxious.
Step 2: Clear the airway blockage of the kitty.
Here is how you can do it.
- Lay the cat on its side and place your hand on her head so that your thumb and index finger fall just behind her canine teeth and her head rests against your palm. Restrain your cat if she is struggling too much to breathe.
- Tilt the kitty's head the way her nose points upwards. The next thing is gently pushing your thumb towards your index finger to open her mouth.
- Pull out her tongue and hold it with your thumb. Use a torch to look into her mouth if the light is not enough. If you can see the object, try to remove it with your hands or with the help of needle-nose pliers.
- If you find a thread inside, DO NOT pull it. The string may have been stuck in her respiratory or digestive organs inside and pulling would make things worse.
- Needle nose pliers shouldn't be used when the object is a needle. If the object is a needle and it's embedded deep into the top of the mouth, don't try to pull it out. Seek vet's help and meanwhile, you reach to the office, try to keep her mouth open and hold her tongue.
- If the object (other than the needle) is not coming out despite your efforts, grab her back legs and pull them to make her upside down the way her mouth points downwards. Shake her vigorously and slap her back. This helps in getting the object out.
Step 3: If you still cannot dislodge the object, you need to hurry to see a vet.
Your cat might be unconscious and might not be breathing. And in some severe cases, the heart may cease to function and in that time skip the following section and perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
How to help your cat breathing again (Artificial Respiration)
Step 4: If your cat's heart is not beating please ignore the following steps and go straight to CPR.
Step 5: Gently extend the head and hold it with her neck and keep her mouth closed with the help of your fingers.
Step 6: Place your lips on her nostrils and blow air. You should blow air once per three or five seconds.
Step 7: Stop once you feel resistance in blowing air or you see her chest rising. Observe her for a few moments to make sure the kitty is breathing on her own and if not, keep blowing air in her nostrils.
Step 8: If the cat is not breathing on her own, you should continue artificial respiration until you reach to the vet office.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Cats
If the cat's heart is not beating, you should go with CPR for a cat.
Step 9: If the cat is not breathing on her own, you should continue artificial respiration until you reach to the vet office.
Step 10: Now grasp the cat with your hand from her chest the way her breast bone rests on your palm and your fingers will be on one side of the chest and the thumb on the other. Your thumb and fingers would fall in the middle of her chest.
Step 11: Compress her chest using your fingers and thumb at the frequency of 100 to 160 compressions per minute.
Step 12: After 30 seconds or a minute, try artificial respiration just as mentioned in the above section. Hold her mouth, close her lips and blow air in her nostrils until you feel the resistance or her chest rising.
Step 13: You can check her heart beats by placing two of your fingers one inch behind the elbow. If the cat's heart has started beating but she still isn't breathing, you should continue artificial breathing.
Step 14: If you see nothing is working, don't give up and keep performing CPR and Artificial Respiration until you reach the vet office.
Although the choking in a cat is rare, it is crucial for anyone to learn how to save one. Nothing feels great than saving a life. You can do that too. Follow this guide to comfort a choking cat before you reach to your vet for help. And importantly, if it is your cat that is suffering, don't panic or be worried, you should focus on saving your feline furball.