How to Save a Choking Cat
Choking can be life threatening for your cat. The harder a choking cat tries to breathe, the more panicky he or she can become. A cat owner's goal is to open the airway without being bitten.
If you are uncertain whether your cat is choking, some signs to look for include the cat pawing at his or her mouth, a pale or blue cat tongue, obvious distress, and unconsciousness. If your cat is choking, use the following cat care tips.
Step 1: Approach the cat carefully. If your cat is nervous or anxious, restrain the cat if necessary.
Step 2: Clear the cat's airway.
Step 2a: Place one hand over the cat's head so that your thumb and index finger fall just behind the long canines (fang teeth), the head resting against your palm. If the cat is struggling too much, proceed to Step 2e.
Step 2b: Gently tilt the cat's head back so its nose is pointing upward. Push your thumb toward your finger; the mouth will open.
Step 2c: Gently pull the tongue out. If you can see the object, try to remove it with your fingers or needle-nose pliers (unless object is a needle).
Step 2d: If object is a needle and it is embedded deeply in the roof of the mouth, stop. Transport the cat immediately to the veterinarian. Keep the tongue gently pulled out of the mouth if the cat is in distress.
Step 2e: If you cannot remove the object (other than a needle), pick up the cat by grasping its back legs; turn it upside down and shake vigorously. Slapping the back while shaking may help to dislodge the object.
Step 2f: If object is still not dislodged, lay the cat on its side, place your palms behind the last rib on both sides of the abdomen, and press your palms together quickly three or four times. If the object is still caught, repeat this procedure.
Step 3: If you cannot dislodge the object, transport the cat to the veterinarian immediately.
Step 4: If you dislodge the object but the cat is not breathing, feel for a heartbeat by placing your fingers about one inch behind the cat's elbow and in the center of its chest.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 5b
Artificial Respiration for a Cat
Step 5: If the cat's heart is not beating, proceed to Step 6. If it is beating, perform artificial respiration.
Step 5a: Turn the cat on its side.
Step 5b: Extend the head and neck. Hold the cat's mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Administer one breath every three to five seconds. Repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise.
Step 5c: After ten seconds, stop. Watch the chest for movement to indicate the cat is breathing on its own.
Step 5d: If the cat is still not breathing, continue artificial respiration.
Step 5e: Transport the cat to the veterinarian immediately and continue artificial respiration on the way to the veterinarian or until the cat is breathing without assistance.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for a Cat
Step 6: If the cat's heart is not beating, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Step 6a: Turn the cat on its side.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Steps 6c and 6d
Step 6b: Kneel down at the head of the cat.
Step 6c: Grasp the chest so that the cat's breastbone is resting in the palm of your hand, your thumb on one side of the chest and your fingers on the other. Your thumb and fingers should fall in the middle of the chest.
Step 6d: Compress the chest by firmly squeezing your thumb and fingers together. Strive for 100 to 160 compressions per minute.
Step 6e: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the cat's mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils. Blow for three seconds, take a deep breath, and repeat until you feel resistance or see the chest rise. Repeat this 10 to 20 times per minute.
Step 6f: After one minute, stop. Look at the chest for breathing movement and feel for the cat's heartbeat by placing your fingers about one inch behind the cat's elbow and in the center of his or her chest.
Step 6g: If the cat's heart is still not beating, continue CPR. If the heart starts beating, but the cat is still not breathing, return to Step 5b to continue artificial respiration.
Step 7: Transport the cat to the veterinarian immediately. CPR or artificial respiration should be continued on the way or until the cat is breathing and its heart is beating without assistance.
©Publications International, Ltd.