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First Aid for chocking felines

Something is lodged near the opening of my trachea
Karla Kirby

Choking takes place when a foreign object is stuck near the opening of the trachea blocking the flow of air into the lungs. Fortunately, choking is quite uncommon in cats. Choking and coughing can also be hard to tell apart. The important dissimilarity is that a coughing feline can inhale relatively normally, but a choking cat can not. A choking cat may seem frenetic and the lips and tongue will begin to turn blue. This may advance to unconsciousness if the obstruction is not relieved.

If your cat can to a degree breathe, it may be best to keep him/her calm and rush him/her to the veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can remove the foreign body in safety, using sedation and special instruments.

It may be possible to remove the foreign object with your finger, with tweezers or with forceps. If you believe your cat will bite you--don’t do this.

If your cat is unconscious, brush your finger along the back of his/her throat to push aside any foreign material.

If this doesn’t work, execute the kitty-Heimlich maneuver by placing your hands on both sides of his/her rib cage. Squeeze forcibly three to four times and repeat until the foreign body is dislodged.

Once the obstruction is relieved, perform Rescue Breathing.

Don’t forget: First Aid is the care made available to a sick or injured cat until professional help is possible. True, First Aid does not take the place of good veterinary treatment, but when used correctly, it could make all the difference in the world for both you and your cat.

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