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What To Do If Your Cat Is Choking

Diagnosis Of Foreign Objects Stuck In The Throat In Cats

Choking Cat – What to Do | First Aid for Pets

Your veterinarian will need to perform chest and neck x-rays in order to diagnose your cat’s partial or complete obstruction. Signs that the object is obstructing the lower respiratory tract, such as coughing or trouble breathing, will lead a veterinarian to x-ray your cat’s chest. If your veterinarian suspects the upper respiratory tract and upper airways are obstructed, he or she may use a scope as part of the physical examination. These tools make it easier for your veterinarian to locate the foreign body.

Foreign bodies lodged in the GI tract are usually visible with a typical head or chest x-ray if they are made from a material that shows up on x-rays, such as a needle or bone. If your veterinarian cannot locate the foreign body on an x-ray, he or she may perform a contrast esophagram, where your cat swallows a radioactive dye to assist with imaging. An esophagoscopy, whereby your veterinarian will feed a scope, or camera, down your sedated cat’s esophagus to visualize the foreign body, may be performed. A scope can also be used to examine any esophageal tearing or irritation caused by the foreign body.

What To Do When Cats And Dogs Are Choking

The first step of helping a choking pet is to determine if they are actually choking. Coughing and gagging can look like choking, so first you must restrain them and identify the problem. If they are coughing or gagging they can still breath, so you should still see them taking breaths. If they are choking, their airway can be partially or completely blocked and they have trouble getting air. They act panicked when they cannot breath. Once you know they are chocking, determine if they are choking due to something around the outside of their neck that is putting pressure on their airway or if it is something inside their throat. If there is anything that is visible on the outside, quickly remove it or cut it off.

If the object is inside their mouth, open it up and see if you can visualize the object. If you can see it, attempt to flick it to the side. Do not try to push or grab at it as that could lodge the object further down their throat. If you cannot see the object or it is too far down to attempt to dislodge, you can attempt the Heimlich maneuver.

Be cautious as a choking pet may be quite panicked.

If your pet continues to choke or is in respiratory distress, you should proceed to your nearest veterinary emergency clinic. If your pet is unconscious, start CPR as you proceed to emergency care.

Is Your Cat Hacking Choking Or Gagging

Vocalization is an important aspect of our cat’s interaction with their human companions. In fact, cats will generally only meow at humans and not their fellow felines. However, among the sounds cats make toward their human pals, coughing, choking or wheezing are abnormal. Knowing what is an abnormal sound in your cat involves getting to know them and understanding their healthy vocal expressions. Each cat is unique in this regard, but getting to know your cat well is part of the rewarding experience of living with a pet.

The type of sound the cat makes will help determine the cause of the problem. You will need to see how severe it is, whether it sounds dry or wet and whether it is accompanied by any substances. With a cat hacking, itis usually a sound to indicate choking, but the cause of the choking might vary. A cough might sound like it is hacking, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a foreign object is present. Gagging is choking, but it will usually be quite an immediate problem and will lead to asphyxiation without proper intervention.

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Best Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Choking

The best way to prevent your cat from choking is by keeping potentially sharp or dangerous items out of their reach and away from their throats. Never feed your cat bone-in food items and always ensure that any collar you utilize is a quick-release collar.

Quick-release collars have a mechanism that opens the collar when extreme pressure or force is exerted, which can help to prevent your cat from strangulation or serious injury.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Coughing And Choking

What to Do If Your Cat Is Choking

Coughing is often mistaken for choking. Cats may cough if they have hairballs, asthma, or heartworm disease. If your cat is coughing, you should have it checked out by your veterinarian.

Choking, on the other hand, is a dire situation for which you should seek immediate veterinary care. “Cats that are truly choking have difficulty inhaling,” Simpson says. “A choking cat may have reduced oxygen delivery resulting in cyanosis and may lose consciousness within two minutes if the airway is completely obstructed.”

Other signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Increased breathing movement in the abdomen
  • Open mouth
  • Salivating

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When Does A Coughing Cat Need Veterinary Attention

It may be normal for some cats to cough occasionally. As long as the cat is maintaining good health and the cough is not productive , veterinary attention is not immediately indicated.

However, if the cough persists for more than a few days, is severe, is productive, recurs consistently, or if your cat appears sick or is losing weight, you should consult your veterinarian.

How To Protect Your Cat From Choking

Cat emergencies are common, considering their inquisitive nature, and it is important to identify an issue quickly and take action. One frequently occurring cat emergency is choking, which has a rapid onset of symptoms and short window of time to alleviate the blockage.

Choking is a life-threatening emergency caused by an obstruction that keeps air from entering the lungs. This can result from ingestion or inhalation of an item that obstructs the airway, preventing normal breathing. Without oxygen for a prolonged period of time, a cat may enter a coma or even die.

Some cat owners may believe that their pet is choking due to breathing difficulties brought on by other ailments, such as feline asthma or congestive heart failure. The most important thing to understand is that if you believe your cat is choking or having trouble breathing, it is always an emergency and action needs to be taken immediately.

Here are the causes of choking in cats, what to do if your cat is choking, and how to prevent choking:

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What Causes Cats To Cough

In cats, coughing is most often a sign of an inflammatory problem affecting the lower respiratory tract, especially some form of bronchitis. This inflammation is often due to an infection, particularly with viruses such as feline viral rhinotracheitis, or bacteria such as Bordetella.

Parasitic worms, especially heartworms, may be responsible for coughing and respiratory problems in some cases. Allergies of various origins may also cause coughing. Cats can cough for a variety of other reasons, including the presence of foreign material within the airway, or irritation from inhaled liquids or gases.

“In cats, coughing is most often a sign of an inflammatory problem affecting the lower respiratory tract, especially some form of bronchitis.”

Chest tumors can occasionally cause coughing. Coughing is not commonly associated with heart disease.

Coughing may accompany upper respiratory tract disease when irritation or inflammation affects the larynx or trachea, or a disease in the nose that results in excessive secretions draining into the larynx and trachea, causing irritation and coughing.

Asthma And Bronchitis In Cats

What to do if your cat is choking

Asthma or chronic bronchitis is a condition where the lower airways of cats become narrow and produce excess mucus in response to a noxious stimulus such as cigarette smoke, dust, or fragrances. The most common clinical sign is coughing. A diagnosis is made through a combination of chest radiographs, heartworm testing, bloodwork, urine and fecal testing, and may also require bronchoscopy or airway lavage. As asthma cannot be cured, treatment is aimed at management of the disease using a combination of steroids and bronchodilators, usually given by inhalation to avoid or reduce negative systemic side effects. Adjunct treatments include modifying the environment to reduce exposure to the noxious stimulus, hypoallergenic diet trials, and acupuncture.

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What To Expect At The Vets Office

Before visiting your vet, take note of any other signs or symptoms your cat has shown in addition to the cough. If possible, try to take a video of your cat coughing at home to show the vet. Your vet will want to know as much as possible in order to properly diagnose and treat your pet.

Some questions your vet might ask include:

  • How long have the symptoms been present?
  • Is the cough wet or dry?
  • Have you noticed any other symptoms besides the cough?
  • Does your cat go outside?
  • Is your cat receiving preventative treatment for parasitic worms?
  • Is your cat more lethargic than usual?

Although relatively common, coughing in cats can be a sign of a more serious issue that can be life-threatening in some cases. If you are unsure if your cats cough warrants a visit to the vet, always err on the side of caution and take them regardless.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Coughing

First and foremost pay attention! Even if its the first time you see it, youll need to remember a few things about the cough so you can compare it to any future coughs and so you can give your vet an accurate description of whats going on.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • The quality of the cough is it wet or dry, does it last for ages or go away quickly?
  • The timing of the cough is it mostly during the day, or at night? These things can help point your vet in the right direction.
  • Possible triggers does the coughing happen during or after exercise? During or after eating? Keeping a journal of your cats symptoms is a good idea to help you recognise patterns.
  • Any other symptoms look out for lethargy or weight loss, sneezing, wheezing, breathing difficulties or any other symptoms that dont seem right to you.

It should go without saying, but Im going to say it anyway please do not try to treat this at home. Over the counter remedies can be great, but before you make assumptions PLEASE go to the vet, armed with as much information as you can gather.

Treatment for your coughing cat will of course depend upon the underlying problem. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, anti-fungals, corticosteroids or anti-parasite medications to help clear the problem causing the cough.

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Is It Normal For A Cat To Choke On A Hairball

Hairballs are normal for a cat, but if they have ingested too much it can lead to a trichpbezoar. These can get stuck further down the digestive tract and can be dangerous. They are rare and they probably wont be accompanied by choking. While a hairball might be temporarily uncomfortable, they will usually not cause harm to the cat.

What To Do If Your Pet Is Choking

What to Do If Your Cat Is Choking in 2020

If Possible, Remove the Object

As choking cats and dogs often struggle, its important to restrain them first to keep both you and your pet safe. If a cord, string or other item is wrapped around his or her neck and causing them to choke, carefully use a pair of scissors to remove the item.

If an item is lodged in your cats or dogs mouth or throat, open the mouth and try to locate the object. If you can see it, attempt to use your finger to swipe it away.

If the object is not visible, dont try to poke your finger down your pets throat in an effort to discover it, as this may cause injury. If youre unable to dislodge the object by swiping it away, do not try to push on it or poke it – this can force it further into the throat.

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What To Do If Your Cat Is Choking

Are you confused if your cat is choking or coughing? Its hard sometimes to identify whats happening with your cat.

If you are a cat owner, read more to know when your cat is choking, what to do if the cat loses consciousness and when to call emergency.


Cat care is like watching small children, you should be aware of any potential choking hazards.

So its a good idea to keep your cat away from such hazards. Moreover, if something is labeled as a cat toy, doesnt have to mean its safe for your cat.

My Cat Is Choking: What Do I Do

  • Fact Checked

Cats will often hack and sound like they are choking when trying to cough up a hairball. However, sometimes a cat isnt merely coughing but actually is choking on something. When a cat chokes on a foreign object, it can become life-threatening if the object gets stuck.

Choking is very common and is often the reason a cat finds himself in an emergency vet clinic. Cats are curious little explorers, and though we all do our best as pet owners to keep our feline friends safe and healthy, even under the most watchful of eyes they can get in trouble.

When a cat is choking, always remember that time is of the essence. How quickly you respond could mean the difference between life and death for your kitty.

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Causes Of Choking In Cats

Choking is caused by an obstruction of the airway. This is most often from a blockage in the neck, inhaled foreign body, throat swelling, or foreign object caught in the throat.

  • Obstruction of the Neck. Cats can be choked by having an obstruction or restriction around the neck. This is often caused by a cat√Ęs collar getting snagged or an object and getting wound around their neck. Also, monitor hanging chords associated with window blinds around kittens, as this is a potentially dangerous cause of strangulation.
  • Throat Swelling. Swelling of the throat can occur due to an allergic reaction or tumor in or around the airway.
  • Large Ingested Object. Ingesting a large object can cause a cat to choke, and it most commonly occurs when a smaller cat or kitten swallows an item too large for their esophagus. The object in question then interferes with their ability to breathe.
  • Something Caught in the Mouth. Cats can choke when a foreign body is inadvertently stuck in their mouth. When this occurs, the cat may be in great distress, pawing at their mouths and crying, which can make it very difficult for their owners to provide assistance. An example of an oral foreign body can be a toothpick, sewing needle, or bone caught in the mouth or wrapped around the teeth. A regurgitated hairball can also cause an obstruction.

How To Save A Choking Cat

How to SAVE a Choking Cat – Cat Safety Advice!

This article was co-authored by Jean Johnson. Jean Johnson is a Cat Specialist and a writer for the KittyNook Blog. Jean specializes in providing advice on cat health, play, and general information about cats and cat breeds.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 370,040 times.

Be aware that true life-threatening choking in cats is very rare, largely because cats are usually discriminating about what they eat. This means they are at less risk of chewing or eating things that may cause choking than dogs, or even children. True choking occurs when an object blocks the back of the throat, especially the windpipe, and it is relatively unusual for a cat to eat something large enough to get stuck. However, cats sometimes make choking-type sounds when they are not actually choking. Because of this, the first thing you need to know is how to identify actual choking and then learn how respond if the cat is actually choking.XResearch sourceMerck and Merial, < i> The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health< /i> , p. 1052, , ISBN 978-0-911910-99-5

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Symptoms Of Cat Choking

Symptoms of choking can vary, but generally include anxiety and very obvious distress, in addition to gasping for air, gagging, drooling, and difficulty swallowing. Lack of air and injury to the lung may also cause pulmonary edema , which is precipitated by nerve stimulation and potentially life-threatening.

How Is The Cause Of A Cat’s Cough Diagnosed

Because coughing is often associated with other signs of respiratory infection, an extensive initial work up may not be required. However, if the cough is severe, or if it has been present for some time, then further investigation may be needed. A thorough medical history documenting the onset of the problem and its progression, any changes in the cat’s home environment, or any other signs of illness in the cat, will be important.

The diagnostic work-up may include several types of blood tests, including heartworm antigen tests, laboratory cultures of a wash sample from the lower respiratory tract, endoscopic examination and radiography . Ultrasound evaluation of the heart may be necessary in some cases. Your cat may require a sedative for some of these procedures. Many of these tests will also help distinguish coughing from feline asthma.

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