Signs Your Cat is Choking & What to Do

If a cat is choking, it is a complex and potentially life-threatening situation. Many cat parents fear the day they find their kitty has swallowed something it shouldn’t have.

Signs Your Cat is Choking

Most cats will show some combination of these symptoms if they are choking:

  • Coughing
  • Distress
  • Salivation
  • Blue mucus membranes
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Gagging or retching
  • Rubbing their face against the ground

What To Do If Your Cat is Choking

Remove The Object if Possible

Restrain your kitty first. Choking cats will struggle, which may cause them harm. If blocking due to a cord, string, or other item wrapped around the neck, carefully use scissors to cut it off.

If you cannot see it, don’t try to poke your finger down your pet’s throat to find it, as this can potentially cause injury.

If you cannot dislodge the object by swiping it away, do not try to push on it or poke it, as this can end up forcing it further down the throat.

Heimlich Maneuver for Cats & Dogs

If you are not able to remove the object your pet is choking on, you’ll have to do the Heimlich maneuver:

  • Lay your pet on its side.
  • Hold your pet’s back against your stomach.
  • With one hand, find the soft hollow under the ribs.
  • Check the mouth to determine if the object has been dislodged.


If this doesn’t work and your cat loses their pulse, begin CPR at approximately 120 chest compressions per minute and continue these until at the veterinary practice.

What to do After the Choking has Stopped

Even if you remove the object choking your cat or dog, it is wise to bring your pet to the vet anyway. The vet will be able to ensure that the choking didn’t cause any harm to your pet’s body that you can’t see.

Read More: Why Can’t My Cat Stop Coughing?

Preventing Future Choking

To minimize the chances of your pet choking in the future, keep an eye on anything that could be a potential choking hazard. Generally, dog and cat food are formulated with the animal’s size in mind, but it’s always a good idea to monitor them when eating.

Monitor your dog or cat during play and make sure any toys do not include pieces that could break off and become potential choking hazards.