Cat Emergencies – Choking Or Eating Toxic Substances

It seems the younger the cat, the more likely it is that they will ingest something they shouldn’t. My older cat wouldn’t touch chocolate – very toxic to cats – but the younger one has yet to taste anything he doesn’t like.

It also seems to be true – the same way that your car goes dead on the Sunday of a long weekend, or on a country road in the middle of nowhere – that your cats will only get themselves in some major life-threatening situation in the middle of the night, or after regular vet office hours, or when your car is out of commission.

Knowing how to help your cat right away can make all the difference.

Three things you should always have in your medicine kit:

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Activated Charcoal

A dose syringe or plastic eyedropper.

Toxic Substances

If you know or suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate, chewed on your poinsettia, or ingested any other known toxin:

Call A Vet immediately.

If the suspected poison is not a caustic or petroleum product:

Start to induce vomiting.

Give your cat approximately 5 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide every 5 minutes until the cat vomits.

Note: 1/4 oz = approx. 7 ml. A plastic eyedropper or dose syringe is the easiest, fastest way to get the liquid down it’s throat. A small baster (as in turkey baster) will do the trick in an emergency.

After you’ve made your cat vomit, give it activated charcoal – it may absorb some of the toxin.

Caustics include dishwater detergent, drain cleaner, grease remover, lye, oven cleaner, battery acid, corn and callous remover.

Petroleum products include paint solvent, floor wax, and dry-cleaning solution.


You hear your cat coughing or gagging, pawing at its mouth, acting frantic. You know or suspect something is caught in its throat.

1. Open the cat’s mouth by grabbing it’s head so that the palm of your hand is over the cat’s head, and your thumb and index finger are behind the canine teeth.

2. Tilt the cat’s nose up and use the index finger of your other hand to open the mouth.

3. Put your finger on the lower teeth and gently push the jaw down.

This is not something you want to be doing for the very first time in an emergency situation. Practice on your cat now, so that if in the future you need to do this procedure, you will at least have an idea of how to do it and how your cat will react.

4. Look in the cat’s mouth and remove object.

In most cases, this also means getting scratched and/or bitten.

PLEASE NOTE:If you see a piece of string, ribbon, thread, anything wrapped around the cats tongue.


You could very well do some serious damage to your cat.


If you see something embedded in the roof of the cat’s mouth.


5. If you cat struggles too much for you to see inside its mouth or if you cannot see or remove the object:

a. Pick your cat up by its hind legs so that it’s hanging upside down.

b. Shake the cat

c. Slap the cat on the back while you’re shaking it.

This may help to dislodge the object.

6. If your cat is too large or heavy for you to pick up.

a. Lay it on its side.

b. Put your palms behind the last rib on both sides of the cat’s abdomen and press your palms together quickly 2-3 times

c. Repeat rapidly until object is dislodged.

d. Continue trying to dislodge object even if your cat loses consciousness.

7. If your cat loses consciousness, you should also start mouth to nose rescue breathing.

a. Make sure tongue is not blocking airway.

b. Close the cat’s mouth

c. Breath into its nose – one breath every 3 seconds.

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