Why Does My Cat Choke Himself?

As a cat owner, you know that your feline friend can be prone to all sorts of curious behaviors. But when you see them choking themselves, it’s natural to feel concerned and wonder what could be causing this distressing behavior.

There are several reasons why cats may choke themselves, from trying to clear their throat of an obstruction to dealing with underlying health issues like asthma or allergies. Regardless of the cause, witnessing your cat struggle in this way is never easy.

But don’t worry – there are steps you can take to help your cat feel more comfortable and avoid this behavior in the future. In this post, we’ll delve into the possible causes of cat choking, explore some helpful tips for addressing it, and offer advice on how to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

So whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or just starting out on your feline journey, read on for everything you need to know about why cats choke themselves – and how you can help them overcome this troubling behavior.

Reasons for Cats Choking

Choking in cats can happen for several reasons, and it’s essential to understand the causes and how to prevent them. Here are five reasons why your cat may be choking and what you can do to keep them safe.

Eating Too Fast

Cats that eat too quickly are at an increased risk of choking. When cats don’t take their time while eating, they may not properly chew their food, causing large chunks to get stuck in their throat. To prevent this, try feeding your cat smaller portions or use a slow feeder bowl to help them eat at a more moderate pace.

Swallowing Non-Food Items

Cats are naturally curious animals, and they love to play with various objects. However, some cats have a habit of chewing and swallowing non-food items such as strings, rubber bands, or small toys. These objects can easily get lodged in the cat’s throat and lead to choking. Make sure to keep these items out of your cat’s reach and provide them with safe toys to play with instead.

Dental Problems

Cats with dental problems such as missing teeth or gum disease may have difficulty chewing their food correctly. This can cause large pieces of food to get stuck in their throat and lead to choking. To prevent this, make sure your cat has regular dental check-ups and cleanings.


Just like in humans, obesity can also increase your cat’s risk of choking. Overweight cats may have difficulty swallowing large pieces of food or other objects, leading to blockages in the throat. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight for your furry friend and prevent choking.

It’s important to note that choking in cats is a serious emergency that requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. If you suspect that your cat is choking, do not attempt to remove the object yourself as this can cause further damage to the airway. Instead, seek veterinary care immediately.

Ingesting Foreign Objects

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However, this curiosity can sometimes lead them to ingest foreign objects that can cause choking. From small toys to rubber bands, cats may accidentally swallow items while grooming or playing, which can become lodged in their throat and cause them to cough or gag.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a foreign object, it’s crucial to act fast and take them to the vet immediately. The vet will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the object and prevent any further complications.

To prevent your cat from ingesting foreign objects, it’s important to keep your home tidy and free of small items that your curious kitty could potentially swallow. Be sure to keep any small toys, string, or rubber bands out of reach of your cat. If you have children in the house, make sure they understand the importance of keeping small items away from their feline friend.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to your cat’s health. By keeping your home tidy and free of potential choking hazards, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays safe and healthy. And if you ever suspect that your cat has ingested a foreign object, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care immediately.

Respiratory Issues

These issues can stem from various causes and range from mild to severe. As such, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of respiratory problems to take immediate action and ensure your cat’s well-being.

One common culprit of respiratory issues that can cause your furry companion to choke is asthma. This chronic condition affects a cat’s lungs and airways, leading to inflammation and narrowing of the airways. This can make it difficult for them to breathe, resulting in coughing, wheezing, and difficulty catching their breath. In some cases, these episodes could be severe enough to cause choking.

Another respiratory issue that could lead to choking is pneumonia. This infection of the lungs may cause inflammation and fluid buildup, making it challenging for your cat to breathe properly. This can result in choking and other severe complications if left untreated.

Upper respiratory infections and bronchitis are also respiratory issues that can make your cat choke. These ailments may cause inflammation and irritation in the throat and airways, making it difficult for your cat to swallow or breathe correctly.

If you suspect that your cat is experiencing any respiratory issues that are causing them to choke, seek professional help from a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will examine your cat and diagnose the underlying cause of the issue. They will recommend an appropriate treatment plan, which may include medication to manage the symptoms and prevent further choking episodes.

Predisposed Breeds

It’s true – just like humans, some cats are more predisposed to certain health issues than others.

The Siamese breed is one such example. These beautiful cats have been known to have trouble swallowing food properly, which can increase their risk of choking. Persian cats, on the other hand, have a flat face and small nose that can make breathing and swallowing more challenging, putting them at higher risk for choking.

But it’s not just these breeds that are at risk – Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, and Sphinx breeds may also experience difficulty breathing and swallowing due to their unique facial structures.

While breed predispositions certainly play a role in a cat’s risk of choking, other factors can also contribute. Age, underlying medical conditions, and even the type of food your cat eats can all impact their risk of choking.

It’s important to be aware of these risks and take steps to prevent them. By keeping an eye on your furry friend and seeking veterinary care if you notice any signs of choking or difficulty breathing, you can minimize their risk of complications.

Symptoms of Choking in Cats

However, choking is an unexpected situation that can occur at any time, and it’s essential to know the symptoms of choking in cats so that you can act quickly and seek veterinary attention if necessary.

The most apparent sign of choking in cats is coughing or gagging. Your cat may also paw at their mouth or neck, indicating discomfort or pain. If you notice your cat wheezing or having difficulty breathing, this could be a sign that something is lodged in their throat, which can cause serious respiratory problems.

In addition to coughing and gagging, excessive drooling, retching, or even vomiting are also symptoms of choking in cats. Your cat may also display signs of distress such as restlessness, lethargy, or loss of appetite. These signs are crucial to recognize because they indicate that your furry friend’s respiratory system is affected.

It’s crucial to act quickly when you suspect that your cat is choking because it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary for foreign objects lodged in the throat that require urgent removal to ensure that the cat can breathe correctly.

To ensure that your feline friend receives the care they need promptly, you must recognize these symptoms early on. Always keep an eye out for any unusual behavior in your pet and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s health. With quick action and proper care from a professional, your furry friend will thank you for it.

Treatment for Choking in Cats

Unfortunately, choking can happen to any cat, and it’s vital to act fast and with care if it does. While seeking immediate veterinary attention is recommended if your cat is actively choking, there are steps you can take at home if your cat has stopped choking and is breathing normally.

To begin with, it’s essential to remain calm and composed during the situation. Cats are highly sensitive to their owners’ emotions, so try to keep a cool head. Gently restrain your cat by wrapping them in a towel or blanket to prevent them from wriggling around too much during the treatment process.

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Next, examine your cat’s mouth for any visible obstructions or objects that may be causing the choking. If you spot an object, try to remove it gently but cautiously with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. Be mindful not to push the object further down the throat or cause any additional harm.

If you cannot see any obstructions or the object is too deep in the throat, do not attempt to remove it yourself as this could cause more harm than good. Instead, seek veterinary attention immediately.

In some cases, your veterinarian may need to perform an emergency tracheotomy to allow your cat to breathe while they remove the obstruction. This involves making a small incision in the trachea and inserting a tube to facilitate air flow.

Once the choking incident has been resolved, it’s critical to monitor your cat’s breathing and behavior for any signs of distress or discomfort. Offer them water and food in small amounts and keep a close eye on their appetite and energy levels.

Prevention of Choking in Cats

However, the thought of your cat choking can be an incredibly scary experience. Luckily, there are several measures that you can take to prevent choking in cats.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to keep small objects out of reach of your curious kitty. Anything that can be easily swallowed, such as rubber bands, hair ties, or small toys, should be stored away safely. Even seemingly harmless items like strings, ribbons, and cords should be kept away from your cat as they can easily wrap around their neck and cause choking.

Supervising your cat during mealtime is also essential to preventing choking. Make sure to feed your cat on a regular schedule and in a calm environment to reduce stress. Feeding small portions at a time can also help prevent choking incidents. Don’t forget to provide your cat with fresh water at all times to aid in digestion.

Choosing the right food for your cat is also crucial. Wet food is generally better than dry food as it is easier for cats to swallow and digest. Dry food can be difficult for some cats to chew properly, which can increase the risk of choking.

In addition, keeping up with your cat’s dental health is another important preventative measure. Dental problems can make it difficult for cats to chew their food properly, which can lead to choking incidents. Regular brushing and dental checkups can help prevent these issues altogether.

By following these preventative measures, you’ll ensure that your furry friend stays safe and healthy. However, it’s always wise to know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a cat or where to seek veterinary care immediately in case of an emergency.

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Risks of Not Treating Choking in Cats

That’s why it’s crucial to understand the risks associated with not treating choking in cats. Ignoring a choking episode can lead to several complications that can be detrimental to your pet’s health and even be life-threatening.

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One of the most significant risks of not treating choking in cats is aspiration pneumonia. This condition occurs when food or liquid is inhaled into the lungs, leading to severe respiratory issues. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible damage and be fatal for your cat. As a responsible pet owner, you want to prevent this from happening by taking immediate action if your cat shows signs of choking.

Prolonged choking can also cause damage to your cat’s esophagus, leading to inflammation and scarring. This can make it challenging for your cat to swallow food and water, resulting in malnourishment and dehydration. These secondary health issues can further exacerbate any underlying health conditions, making it essential to address choking as soon as possible.

Additionally, choking can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss, which can have a significant impact on your cat’s overall well-being. By being aware of the risks and taking preventive measures such as keeping small objects out of reach, supervising mealtime, and maintaining dental health, you can reduce the likelihood of choking incidents.

However, accidents can happen despite our best efforts. That’s why it’s crucial always to be prepared by knowing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver or where to seek veterinary care. Seeking immediate medical attention from a veterinarian is always recommended for your cat’s safety and well-being.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Keep Gagging But Not Throwing Up?


As a cat owner, seeing your feline friend choke can be alarming. But fear not, there are steps you can take to help them feel more comfortable and prevent this behavior from happening again. In this article, we’ve explored the possible causes of cat choking, offered helpful tips for addressing it, and provided advice on how to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

From gobbling down food too quickly to underlying health issues like asthma or allergies, cats may choke themselves for various reasons. However, most of these causes are preventable. Feeding your cat smaller portions or using a slow feeder bowl can help prevent them from eating too rapidly. Keeping small objects out of reach can also reduce the risk of swallowing non-food items.

It’s crucial to remember that choking in cats is an emergency that requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. If you suspect that your cat is choking, do not attempt to remove the object yourself as this can cause further damage to their airway.

By following these preventative measures and seeking veterinary care if necessary, you can ensure that your furry friend stays safe and healthy.