Ever wonder, “Why do cats hiccup?
Wondering if that sound your cat just made was a hiccup? Or wondering if cats can even get hiccups?
While we humans do have a way of personifying our pets (was Grumpy Cat really all that grumpy?), this is one case where it checks out. Hiccups aren’t just a human condition. There are many animals that get hiccups, including our feline friends.
So, the short answer to your questions is: Yes, cats can and do get hiccups!
The more interesting answer to this question about cat hiccups is … why? After all, humans tend to get hiccups – and get rid of hiccups – with a fright.
Cat hiccups, which are actually more common in kittens, can be caused by situations like overeating, eating too fast, or dealing with hairballs.
Still, like hiccups in humans, cats can get hiccups at any age. Though they’re not a cause for concern, it’ll certainly put your mind at ease to know a bit more about what causes them.
What Causes Cat Hiccups?
In humans and cats alike, hiccups are caused when our diaphragm contracts involuntarily at the same time as the glottis closes.
Beyond the science, you may wonder what makes this apparently involuntary action occur. How, for example, does overeating or eating too fast, lead to your cat having hiccups?
In this instance, it’s because your hungry little cat has not chewed all of their food well. In that speed – or with that quantity – they have ended up swallowing some extra air alongside it. This leads to the diaphragm’s spasms.
Beyond a voracious appetite, another reason cats develop hiccups is hairballs. Fortunately less common in humans, hairballs happen as your cat tries to break free and dislodge fur that’s been caught in the throat. In that process, the irritation can cause hiccups to happen.
While hiccups can cause a light-hearted moment, there are a few cases where hiccups should be taken more seriously. If this hiccuping continues for a longer stretch of time, and especially if you have an older cat, the hiccups could be a sign of something more serious. These problems can include asthma, a tumor, or heart disease, or even parasites or food allergies.
So, How Long Should Cat Hiccups Normally Last For?
As a rule of thumb, if your cat has had hiccups for a day or less, they’re probably fine and you can trust the cat hiccups will go away on their own. In these instances, it’s likely connected to eating too fast – or too much.
If it goes past a day or two and the noises are still happening, contact your veterinarian.
How To Cure Cat Hiccups
(And no, we don’t think scaring your cat is a good idea.)
The best treatment to help your cat with their hiccups is just to give them some down time. Especially if you’re sure it’s food or water-related, just make sure they’ve got food and water available and let them be for a while. Try not to overstimulate or start up play time.
If this hiccups problem keeps occurring because of overeating, you can try to feed your cat smaller portions throughout the day. Also, you can make the food bowl slightly more difficult to access so your cat has to eat more slowly, or by placing a larger toy in the food bowl that they have to eat around.
If these hiccups tend to come about because of hairballs, a switch in the diet could help. This is also a good point to check in with your veterinarian to make sure a dietary change is okay.
Are Cat Hiccups Worth Worrying About?
Cat hiccups that go on for more than a day or a few days could be a sign of a more serious problem.
If your cat does develop long-lasting or regularly occurring hiccups, then it’s a good time to check in with your veterinarian to see what types of changes you can do to help them feel better.