Would you know how to unstuff a cat? Sometimes, in emergencies, it's essential to have some first aid skills to be able to save your pet's life. Choking, in particular, can make felines agitated and desperate - the more they try to breathe, the more panicked they become.
It's therefore important to act quickly to end your kitten's distress as soon as possible, while making sure it doesn't bite or scratch you. From prevention to performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, learn how to help a choking cat breathe normally again below. Read on!
Choking cat: what are the causes and how to identify choking?
Sometimes a choking incident in cats is caused by a simple hairball that the animal cannot expel. Choking can also be the result of food not chewed properly, a toy, bottle cap and even a pill lodged in the throat. Here are some signs that may indicate that a cat is choking:
- He starts rubbing his head on the floor;
- It puts its paw in its mouth numerous times;
- It has chokes;
- Coughing cat;
- You are vomiting;
- Blue or purple tongue and gums;
- Increased salivation;
- Breathing is labored, difficult;
- Fainting, if the airflow is completely obstructed.
Choking cat: what to do to clear the airway?
When you see a cat choking, there is not much time to waste. Before anything else, you should try to expel the object that is preventing the flow of air. Sometimes it can be something simple and easy to remove. Learn how to act:See_also: Dog jealous of children and babies: how to deal?
Step 1) Do not despair and approach your cat calmly. If he is very nervous, wrap him in a blanket or towel, leaving only the animal's head out;
Step 2) Check if the airway is really blocked. If it is a hairball, the animal will probably expel it quickly. If there is an obstruction, follow the next steps;
Step 3) Place one hand on your cat's head and gently open its mouth with the other;
Step 4) Then, search the entire mouth with your index finger to remove the obstruction. Look carefully while trying to touch the object to avoid pushing it further down;
Step 5) If you still can't find it, gently pull the cat's tongue out to get a clearer view of the back of the throat. When you see the object, try to remove it with your thumb and forefinger, forming tweezers.
Important: If you notice that a longer wire is causing the respiratory blockage, do not try to pull it out (unless it slides off easily, like a "wet spaghetti"). There is a possibility that it is stuck somewhere, and removing it could cause further damage to the cat's health (throat injuries, for example).
The Heimlich maneuver can save the life of a choking cat
If the steps described above are still not enough to dislodge your cat, you should immediately apply the Heimlich maneuver, a first aid technique widely used in choking emergencies in humans and animals. Here's how to do it:
Step 1) Hold the kitten with its back against your chest/stomach, letting its paws hang down and its head up;
Step 2) Then cross your hands and place them on the cat's belly, just below the ribs;See_also: Can dogs eat pork?
Step 3) Use your hands to gently but firmly push his belly in a succession of rapid, inward and upward movements. Repeat the manoeuvre four to five times;
Step 4) If the object is still obstructing the airway, transport the cat immediately to the vet. On the way, you can repeat the Heimlich manoeuvre;
Step 5) If the object has been expelled and your cat is not breathing, check for a heartbeat or pulse. If there are no signs, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation/muzzle-to-muzzle resuscitation) of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute. At this point, however, the emergency visit to the vet should already be underway.
How to prevent a cat from choking?
Getting potential choking objects out of reach is the first step to keeping your cat safe. To do this, simply go around the house and hunt for household items that are small, shiny and easy to swallow. It can be a pompom, hair elastic, paper clip, plastic bags, cellophane, flaps, wine corks and even a piece of aluminum foil.
When it comes to cat toys, always keep an eye out for something dangerous or too worn. If possible, avoid items with dangling decoration, such as feathers, small rattles and fringe. Objects larger than the animal's mouth, such as balls, string mice, wands and interactive toys, generally do not pose a threat.