Cats may have nine lives, but knowing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on your kitten will hopefully leave them feelin’ fine — and most importantly, alive. So don’t let curiosity kill the cat, and keep reading to learn more about what to do if your cat is choking.
You may have already known that there was a Heimlich for dogs, but did you know there was one for cats, too? While the movements are generally the same when it comes to saving a choking cat, dog, or human, there are a few actions that are specific to our four-legged friends.
The first step in saving a choking cat is to inspect their mouth. Can you see whatever there’s an object obstructing their airflow? If so, reach in and pull it out. But what if you don’t see anything or can’t get a good enough grip on your puss to look inside. Then, you need to grab your cat’s hind leg and turn him or her upside down. If the only thing this accomplishes is angering your already terrified cat, put him or her down on all fours and strike the back. The force of your smack will dislodge whatever is stuck inside the throat. Your last step is to wrap your arms around your cat and place his or her back against your stomach. Then, thrust your arms against their tummy like you would for a human. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you can’t force the item out.
If you manage to get your kitty to eject whatever they were choking on but they’re not breathing, you may have to perform mouth-to-mouth. And before you say “ew,” just think about all the times you’ve let your cat lick you despite having no clue where they’d just put their tongue. Your cats may not appreciate you saving their lives (because when do cats ever appreciate anything?), but deep down we’re sure they love you just as much as you adore them.