my cat keeps trying to choke herself!

joanne semple

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I've been googling and trying to find out if this is a common problem, but I think my cat has a severe attention seeking disorder!!

At least once a day, ever since she's lived with us (we took her in as a stray), she finds some random object to wedge against her windpipe so that it restricts her breathing and she starts to choke. She always does it when she's in the same room as me, so I think it's attention seeking. Just telling her to stop won't work, I have to physically pull her away. A couple of times I've had headphones in and didn't hear her choking until it was almost too late and her tongue was blue and sticking out!!

I think it must be attention seeking, because if she did this when I was out of the house she'd surely be dead by now. She also manages to do this with just about any object so I can't choke proof my house. She sometimes hangs her head off the edge of the table to do it, or over the back of a hard chair, or even on the edge of a shoebox! 

She was badly treated before we took her in, and she always seems to want to be loved but then can't handle it and runs away or scrabs us, very very seldomly she will come and sit on us but if we try and stroke her she goes crazy. But we love her and her crazy ways and have lived with her for 5 years. I just wondered if anyone else had ever heard of cats behaving like this, it's like some kind of asphyxiation fetish! 
 

yayi

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Nothing physically wrong with her? I have never heard of a cat purposely choking unless maybe she can't meow? 
 
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joanne semple

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she meows just fine, she's pretty vocal! Two vets have said there's nothing physically wrong with her, it's a mystery. She is an absolutely crazy animal though, I've never known a cat like her. She's always racing around, picking things up like shoes and running across the room on her back legs, carrying them with her front and then tossing them around, playing with things, leaping out from doorways at eye level, playing with us, I wish I had half her energy. She only eats dried food and not too much or too little. She's as fit as a flea, just this weird habit she has! 
 

robinbw

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hello , im new to this website but i want to tell you i have the exact same problem as you do with my cat , she is 5 years old and has been doing the same thing all the time , trying to choke herself over objects she hangs her head over. have you found any answers yet?
 

molson

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Apparently no experts have heard of this.  The only solution I've found is to keep the laundry basket upside down.  I'm lucky since the laundry basket is the only thing he's tried choking himself on--I've read about a couple other cats (possibly like yours) who choke themselves on many surfaces.  So strange and scary!
 

mufasarafiki

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Omg I am so happy I found this! My cat is doing the same exact thing! At first, it was the mini couch shaped scratch post...then I noticed he did it on any box I had. So I eliminated all of these box types items. He is now doing it on the tv stand! I have googled and read enough posts that this isn't THAT rare of a problem. Has anyone found an expert that knows wth is going on?!?!?! It is the weirdest thing ever! They like look at you then keep on going! I have to literally push my cat away...pls help!!!!
 

ameliashuman

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My sister's cat doesn't go to the extremes you guys are describing but she seems to enjoy pressure right on her throat. She'll push her throat against the table edge or chair. she will also push her throat against a hand that's petting her. We just assumed it was a pleasurable feeling for her
 

BonitaBaby

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Do you think this behavior could be stress-related? I think many cases of cats chasing their tails is stress-related. About 2 wks after I adopted my cat, she was lying on me and I accidentally dropped my small but heavy tablet on her back. She immediately leapt off me but seemed to know it was an accident (or maybe wasn't sure what happened) because she didn't run off and hide. She stood there looking so sad and then came back to lie down on me. I noticed her chasing her tail after that happened and I hoped it would stop and it did after a week. She never chases her tail anymore. I've also never dropped my tablet on her again. Sorry I'm not of any help, but I wonder if the cat is stressed and somehow feels better by doing this. Could also be doing this while you're gone, but has been okay afterwards.
 

Carlsmom

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Omg I am so happy I found this! My cat is doing the same exact thing! At first, it was the mini couch shaped scratch post...then I noticed he did it on any box I had. So I eliminated all of these box types items. He is now doing it on the tv stand! I have googled and read enough posts that this isn't THAT rare of a problem. Has anyone found an expert that knows wth is going on?!?!?! It is the weirdest thing ever! They like look at you then keep on going! I have to literally push my cat away...pls help!!!!
I wonder if there’s been any update on this topic. My young male cat does this against the wire inside of his fleece lined hammock bed. It’s crazy!!
 

Alleycatsmom

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Mine does this too! She is 11 now and has been doing it almost her entire life. She chokes herself usually when laying her chin flat on things. I have to run over to her and lift her head and help her through the gasping/coughing spell. So weird. Glad to see we aren’t alone here!
 

FeebysOwner

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I wonder if there’s been any update on this topic. My young male cat does this against the wire inside of his fleece lined hammock bed. It’s crazy!!
Mine does this too! She is 11 now and has been doing it almost her entire life. She chokes herself usually when laying her chin flat on things. I have to run over to her and lift her head and help her through the gasping/coughing spell. So weird. Glad to see we aren’t alone here!
I have seen this subject twice - once about a cat who was trying to make themselves throw up, and they thought it was due to hairballs. The other scenario I read about was thought to be related to a scratchy/irritated throat/windpipe. Don't know if one of these situations apply to either of you, but thought I would share them with you anyway.

Also, my cat loves her neck/throat area scratched and will push against my hand to create extra pressure - could either of yours be something like that, and they are doing their own form of neck scratching?
 

Alleycatsmom

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I don’t think it’s throwing up, because if she ever does (which is rare) it’s not any time around the choking incidents. She loves her chin scratched too, but when she does this, she is resting. Like she is either curled up in the top tier of her cat tree and resting her chin on the ledge and then I start hearing the gasps/wheezes, or she is laying on my leg with her head hanging over my knee and does it. I got a new couch, but she used to do it on the arm rest of that too. I’m not sure if she has a scratchy throat, I wish she could tell me though! Haha. I’m not sure if she does it when I’m not around, but I have heard it happen in the morning. It’s woken me up a couple of times and i have to run to the living room and save her. Usually it’s at night and she is resting while we are watching tv.
 

Rori&Owen

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My male medium-haired orange tabby started doing this off a woven raised basket/scratcher he has.

He started it mid pandemic couple months after we moved. I thought it was interesting someone said they saw it begin when their cat was five. Makes me wonder if it’s related to some kind of underlying health issue? Before this thread I thought it might be stress or attention-seeking only, but he has some symptoms of allergies and he’s chilled out on his other typical stress-related behaviors since we‘ve moved…. So now I’m wondering if it might be something related to his breathing still. Like others have mentioned, I don’t think it has to do with hair balls (though it definitely crossed my mind) cus he never does it to the point of vomiting… he reserves that for eating grass :p.

One other thing, this cat throws himself into my feet sometimes? Like a bulldozer. I used to think he was just getting caught up when racing me to the bathroom but, especially around feeding time, I’ve noticed he’ll go out of his way to bulldoze into my legs when I’m putzing around the kitchen and then just stay there as if he wants to direct me.

Idk, I don’t expect this thread will have the solution but I thought I’d share my version of this situation in case someone else could relate.

These posts have been helpful. Thanks, everyone!
 

Dhandy333

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So crazy my cat does the same thing he chokes himself on purpose! I honestly think it's just some weird fetish that he likes to do. It looks really weird and scary but he's totally fine and normal otherwise!
 

cassiecsws

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hi all! i just created an account on here just to say my ~8 year old orange tabby chokes himself allll the time! mostly on the top tier of the cat tree. he won't even stop once he's coughing/choking. he'll just sit there and continue coughing! it's crazy. we have to jump up to move him and sometimes he goes back to it 1-2 more times. he's had some urinary and constipation issues in the past couple of years, but only here and there, whereas he chokes himself almost everyday, even when he's fine health-wise. anyway, just wanted to chime in and say i have a weirdo kitty too! we have a check up for him this week so maybe we'll ask the vet again lol.
 

Docs Mom

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My cat Roxie doesn't cough. But she is always laying with her head over the edge of her box, bed etc...
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Just her weird quirk guess.... But the way you guys describe your cats actively choking is scary !
 

peanutbutler

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My cat does this also. He is a 9 year old Maine Coon. He exclusively does it with his water bowl and he is extremely deliberate about it. Same posture every time. arms straddling the bowl laying on his stomach makes little choking sounds, does it for about 3-5 minutes. He just did it a minute ago after having an adorable bath on his favourite bed, rolling around and flopping about in delight, then the choking, then back to the bed to relax. I think he just likes it. He purrs excessively if you firmly massage his windpipe during snuggles. Idk but it is a little weird lol and still freaks me out
 

CoachK

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My 11 year "old lady cat" does this and it is 100% her modifying MY behavior. When she wants an action, usually fresh food in the AM, or a clean out of the box, she will start with standing on me physically. Not relaxed. Perched and oddly 30lbs of pressure per paw. If I decide to do ANYTHING other than tend to her, she will move on to licking trashbacks as she then chokes herself into wheezing so that I get up and shoo her, Where does she go when shooed? The kitchen by her bowl. It's her way of controlling the house and its occupants. Im glad she's not the only kitty that does this.
 

CoachK

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My 11 year "old lady cat" does this and it is 100% her modifying MY behavior. When she wants an action, usually fresh food in the AM, or a clean out of the box, she will start with standing on me physically. Not relaxed. Perched and oddly 30lbs of pressure per paw. If I decide to do ANYTHING other than tend to her, she will move on to licking trashbacks as she then chokes herself into wheezing so that I get up and shoo her, Where does she go when shooed? The kitchen by her bowl. It's her way of controlling the house and its occupants. Im glad she's not the only kitty that does this.
 

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