This is how you can save your cat’s life if it is choking

Hangai Lilla

2023. October 22 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

One of the scariest things for an owner is to see their pet choking on something. In addition to being overwhelmed by complete panic, we also feel helpless. However, it doesn't have to be this way; the Heimlich maneuver can also be used on cats.


In the following, you can read about what you can do to save the life of a choking cat.

Coughing is one of the most telltale signs of choking.

These are the signs that your cat is choking

To be sure, let’s first understand what a choking cat looks like:

For a choking cat, do the following

It’s not easy to do, but the most important thing is to try to stay as calm as possible in this case. This is the only way you can be effective and make the right decisions.

First, hold the kitten gently but firmly, don’t let it move. If possible, carefully open its mouth to see if there is something in it and if you can get it out with your hands. You can also gently pull his tongue forward to see better. If you have the opportunity to remove the stuck object by hand, feel free to do so, but be careful not to injure the cat in the process. Do not under any circumstances put your finger or anything else down the cat’s throat, this will only make the situation worse!

If you cannot manually remove the foreign material or object stuck inside, use the Heimlich maneuver.

How to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on your cat

  • Lift the cat up and hold it close to your chest with its back towards you. The kitten should stand upright, its legs hanging freely.
  • You should feel a soft identation under the ribs where you can insert your hand; here is the cardia. Depending on the size of the cat, fit the inner half of your clenched fist or your fingertips here.
  • Press the cat’s belly with a series of 3-5 quick upward thrusts.
  • Then reach into its mouth to see if you managed to get the foreign object to the surface.
  • If there is nothing in its mouth, hold the cat upside down by its hips and tap its back firmly with an open palm.
  • Check the mouth again.

Once the object is out, the breathing rate should return to normal and the gums should return to pink. If the Heimlich maneuver did not help, the cat must be taken to the vet immediately! Even if you have successfully removed the foreign object with the technique, you should still take the cat to the vet; only they can check that your pet is injured or not.

How to protect your pet from choking

Unfortunately, there is no special trick for this; you simply have to be careful what the cat has access to. A cat owner has the duty to make the apartment cat-friendly! Cats are curious creatures, they poke their noses into everything, so it is very important what they have access to.

In particular, they should be protected from small office accessories, hobby and decoration accessories, kitchen accessories such as straws, packaging materials, rubber bands, etc., but toys with various small elements and coins  can also pose a risk.

cat-friendly home Health heimlich menauvre suffocating the cat is choking

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