Can someone describe the technique for dealing with a cat that is choking? I just want to know in case my cat ever gets something stuck in its throat. Is it similar to CPR?
First things first - remain calm. The cat will pick up on your distress, and since it is already in trouble, the last thing you want to do is make it more upset.
You will want to try to remove whatever is obstructing the cat's airway, UNLESS IT IS A NEEDLE. If it is a needle, DO NOT try to remove it, as you can cause a lot of pain and injury to the cat - take the cat to the vet RIGHT away if you notice they are choking on a needle.
One of the easiest ways to open a cat's mouth (and the method I use to get my cat to open his mouth when I need to give him pills and the like when he is ill), is to wrap your hand over the top of the cat's head (so the top of the head is against your palm), and use your thumb and index finger to press against the jaw (near the longer fang teeth) and the cat should open its mouth for you, and you should be able to reach in with your fingers (or needlenose pliers if you can't get a grip on the obstruction) and pull it out.
If it doesn't, you can also (as terrible as it might sound), pick the cat up by the back legs and turn it so its head is facing the floor, and shake vigorously. It might seem like a really horrible thing to do, but it can save the cat's life!
If you cannot get the object out, take the cat to the vet RIGHT AWAY, so they can help you.
Source: a pamphlet my vet gave me when I got my cat, and this site that also explains cat CPR!