What Can I Do if My Cat Has Something Stuck in Its Throat?

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Feeling as if you can't help your suffering pet is one of the worst feelings any pet owner can experience. Cats, like children, can sometimes swallow objects that become lodged in their throats, creating an emergency. Knowing what to do if this occurs in your home can help you save your cat's life.

Locate the Blockage

If you suspect your cat has something stuck in its throat, carefully open the cat's mouth and see if you can locate whatever might be blocking its airway. Often, an object is to blame, but, on occasion, severe allergies or other ailments can cause the cat's throat to swell, obstructing the airway and causing the cat to act as if it is choking.

Try to Remove the Object

If you are able to see the object stuck in your cat's throat, gently try to remove the object with your fingers. Ensure you can see what you are reaching for, as cats have small bones that support the base of their tongues that some pet owners may mistake as removable objects.

Try the Heimlich for Cats

If you are unable to pry the object free, you can attempt a modified Heimlich manoeuvre on your cat. According to the Pet Place website, this is accomplished by grabbing the animal around the waist so it is facing away from you, placing your fist behind the animal's ribs, compressing the cat's abdomen three to five times with short, quick pushes, and then checking your cat's mouth to see if the object was dislodged. Alert your nearest veterinary hospital of the situation, especially if the object is not loosened on the first attempt at the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Call Your Veterinarian

If, for any reason, you are unable to dislodge the object in your cat's throat in a minute or so of noticing the problem, call your animal hospital immediately. Follow the veterinarian's instructions as to what steps to take and in what order, including whether to bring the animal to the animal hospital.