If you have a kitty, chances are you may have heard your feline pal choking and gagging from time to time. While Fluffy has a reputation for being finicky, she is also curious, and a bit quirky. Kitties sometimes try to eat things that aren’t food, such as bits of plastic, thread, or other small objects.
While all of us here at your local Lafayette animal hospital sincerely hope you’ll never need to use this knowledge, we always prefer to err on the side of caution.
Here are a few tips:
Recognize Warning Signs
Just like people, kitties will start to panic when they realize they are choking. Your furball may approach you for help, or she may run and try to hide. One thing cats often do if they are choking is try to scratch or paw at their mouths. You may also hear Fluffy hacking as she tries to breathe.
You’ll need to check to see if there is anything stuck in Fluffy’s throat. Even if your furbaby is a little cuddlebug, she may scratch or bite if she’s scared, so restrain her gently. If you can see the object, you may be able to dislodge it with a flat spoon handle. Be very careful, and don’t use anything sharp! If this doesn’t work, try the Heimlich Maneuver.
Start by laying Fluffy on her side. Put one hand on her tummy, just under her ribcage, and another along her back. Push in and up sharply on her tummy several times, and then check her airway to see if anything was dislodged. Next, close her mouth and breathe into her nose several times, repeat, then check her throat again. If you can’t see anything and there is no change, start CPR and get your kitty to the vet immediately.
If your kitty ever chokes, take her to the vet immediately. Even if the object is expelled, there could be damage to Fluffy’s throat or digestive system. Your furball may be stressed and frightened from the experience, and may want extra attention afterwards.
Fluffy may also want to be left alone. If she decides to hide, check on her frequently. Provide plenty of fresh water.
Do you have any questions about caring for your kitty? Call us anytime! As your local Lafayette vet clinic, we are always here to assist.