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Can Cats Get Hiccups?
Cat BehaviorCat CareCat HealthCat Fun Facts

Can Cats Get Hiccups?

Is it possible for cat hiccups to go from cute to concerning? The hiccup is often linked to speedy eating, a brief pause for cuteness, or kitten playfulness, and these little hiccups are usually harmless and can be part of your cat's daily charm. However, frequent hiccups might signal other underlying conditions.

Can Cats Get Hiccups?

Believe it or not, cat hiccups can happen! According to an article from petMD, a kitten with hiccups is more common than an adult cat, but hiccups can occur with cats of any age. This article will dive deeper into the topic to help demystify this feline phenomenon and help cat parents know what to watch for when these pesky hiccup episodes occur.

Understanding Cat Hiccups: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

We’ll start at the scratching post here and discuss some causes of hiccups in our feline friends. Typically, a hiccup occurs when the nerve that leads to the diaphragm becomes irritated. This can be due to various reasons, including hairballs, quick inhalation when breathing, and food intake. 

Cat hiccups sound similar to what you’d expect to hear from a human in terms of sound. Additionally, you will notice a slight abdominal spasm. It’s essential to ensure you’re not confusing a cough or choking episode with a hiccup. While the occasional cough can be nothing to be concerned about, productive or frequent coughing should be reported to your veterinarian. However, choking is considered an emergency and will require immediate veterinary attention.

You may be wondering what you can do for your hiccuping kitty. Well, there are a few things you can try. Still, it’s essential to continue monitoring your cat or kitten. If you notice frequent hiccups or any other changes in their behavior and wellness, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Brushing your cat regularly can assist in the management of loose hair in their coat. According to The Cornell Feline Health Center, cats also digest a good amount of fur when they groom themselves - another good reason to brush routinely! The less loose hair in their environment, the less likely they will develop a hairball. 

If you notice that your cat tends to eat quickly or in large volumes, there are a few things you can try. Items such as interactive toys or alternative bowls can help slow down your fast-paced eater. You can purchase many different puzzle toys or slow feeder bowls. These items are meant to slow down a cat’s intake of food. Whether that’s a ball they bat around that slowly releases their kibble or a bowl with different ridges and sections requiring them to slow down when eating. They’re both great options. But keep in mind that a voracious appetite can be indicative of other health concerns that should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

a couple of cats laying on top of a bed
a couple of cats laying on top of a bed

Kittens with Hiccups

As mentioned, kittens are more likely to have hiccups than adult cats. New kitten moms and dads can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this is entirely normal and pretty cute, too! 

Common Causes and Remedies

Remember how we talked about that nerve leading to the diaphragm being a little pesky? This is known as the phrenic nerve and is even trickier in kittens. Due to the increased sensitivity of this nerve, our little feline youngsters are even more susceptible to getting hiccups. While a case of the hiccups should subside momentarily, you can also try distracting your kitten with play, brushing, petting, or whatever they like. 

Why Do Cats Hiccup After Eating?

Have you ever gotten the hiccups after inhaling too quickly or drinking a carbonated beverage? Can cats similarly get hiccups? Well, yes, but not from the carbonated drinks, of course. This all boils down to the rapid intake of additional air into the body. And thus, hiccups are born. The same concept applies to cat hiccups after eating, especially if your cat is a fast eater. They’re eating quickly and taking in additional air. Have you ever heard of “inhaling your food?” 

As mentioned previously, there are different toys and bowls that cat parents can purchase that work to slow down a cat who eats too quickly. Remember that you may have to try a few different things before you find something your cat likes - after all, our feline friends can be a bit picky, can’t they? Always remember that the introduction of something new will take time.

Hiccups for Two Days, What To Do?

Do cats get hiccups? Sure, on occasion, they do. However, the frequency and duration of these episodes will be something you’ll want to monitor. It is vital to take note of any abnormalities you notice with your cat’s behavior. Are the hiccups occurring after a specific event, such as grooming or eating? How long do they last? Are there any other health-related abnormalities you’ve noticed? It can also be helpful to share a video of the occurrence with veterinary professionals. This will allow them to see exactly what you’re seeing at home and can give them more insight. 

When to Seek Veterinary Care for Your Cat 

If cat hiccups seem to last longer than expected, it’s time to make a veterinary appointment. Ensure you bring along the documentation and videos discussed in the previous paragraph. The more information you can provide your veterinarian with, the better. Since our pets can’t speak to us and let us know what’s going on, it’s up to us to advocate and speak for them. This includes close observation and notation of any abnormal behaviors or health-related concerns.

Conclusion

While an occasional hiccup can be nothing more than a cute occurrence, cat parents need to be aware of what to watch out for and ensure they’re not mistaking something such as choking or difficulty breathing for the hiccups. If you ever have any concerns about your cat friend, contact their veterinarian for further guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can cats get hiccups when purring? 

Well, it’s possible. According to an article written on Cat-Friendly Homes, purring results from vibrations within your cat’s vocal cord area and the process of inhaling or exhaling. So, it is possible that a cat could develop hiccups during this process. 

What do I do when my cat has hiccups? 

While a case of the hiccups should be temporary, you can distract your cat with play, brushing, or anything else they enjoy. If the hiccups are frequent, it is advisable to note any other behavioral changes, get a video of the occurrence, and get your pet in to see their veterinarian so they can be evaluated further. 

How do I know if my cat has hiccups? 

Cat and kitten hiccups sound similar to what you hear in humans or puppies. 

Should I worry if my cat has hiccups? 

While an occasional case of the hiccups shouldn’t be cause for concern, if you notice an increase in the frequency of the hiccuping episodes or if they’re accompanied by any other symptoms, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian. At times, this can be indicative of other illnesses that would require professional diagnosis and treatment. 

Is my cat hiccuping or choking? 

If you notice any signs of distress in your cat or if they are having trouble breathing, this is an emergency, and your cat needs to be brought to the nearest emergency clinic for treatment. It is advisable to contact the clinic while you’re en route so that they know about the emergency and can meet you right when you arrive to render aid to your cat.