Cat Hiccups: Our Vet Explains Causes & What to Do

by beaconpet
What Do Cat Hiccups Sound Like?

If you’ve ever wondered if cats can get hiccups, the answer is yes! Just like humans, cats can experience hiccups for various reasons, and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Hiccups in cats are caused by contractions of the diaphragm, the muscle that helps with breathing. While the sound of a cat’s hiccups may differ from humans’, the physiology behind it is quite similar. Most cats don’t make much noise while hiccuping, but you may notice their belly spasming or contracting quickly. In this article, our vet explains the common causes of cat hiccups and provides tips on what you can do to alleviate them. So if you’ve ever wondered about those adorable little hiccups your cat gets, keep on reading to learn more! For more follow Beaconpet.

What Do Cat Hiccups Sound Like?

What Do Cat Hiccups Sound Like?

When a cat hiccups, the sound might not be as noticeable as human hiccups. Most cats don’t make a noise while hiccupping, or if they do, it’s usually just a quiet squeak or chirp. However, you may be able to see or feel your cat’s belly spasming or contracting quickly. A cat can have several hiccups in quick succession, but a bout of hiccups rarely lasts for more than a few minutes. If your cat’s hiccups seem to last a long time or become frequent, it’s a good idea to have them checked by a vet.

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What Does It Mean if a Cat Hiccups?

For most cats, hiccups are a normal occurrence and are rarely a cause for concern. However, there are a few common reasons why a cat might experience hiccups:

1. Eating quickly

One possible cause of hiccups in cats is eating too quickly. When a cat swallows air while eating, it can irritate the main nerve (phrenic nerve) that sits close to the diaphragm, leading to hiccups. If your cat tends to gobble down their food, it’s worth trying to slow them down by encouraging slower eating habits. You can observe their meal times to see if any external factors, such as competition from other cats or disturbances in the feeding environment, might be causing them to eat quickly.

2. Not chewing properly

Not chewing properly

Swallowing food whole without chewing it properly can cause irritation in a cat’s stomach and diaphragm, leading to hiccups. This is especially true if the cat produces less saliva due to not chewing enough. The size and texture of cat food can vary, so it’s important to find the right type of food that encourages your cat to chew. Regular check-ups with a vet can also help detect dental issues that may affect your cat’s eating habits.

3. Hairballs

Hairballs are a common issue for cats, especially those with longer hair. Persistent attempts to dislodge or cough up a hairball can irritate a cat’s throat and result in hiccups. If your cat is struggling with hairballs, it’s a good idea to seek veterinary advice as there are treatments and dietary changes that can help manage hairballs.

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4. Purring

Believe it or not, purring can sometimes trigger hiccups in cats. When a cat purrs, they often produce more saliva, which is swallowed along with air. While purring is generally a sign of a happy and contented cat, it’s important to note that not all cats purr for the same reasons. Some cats may purr when they are stressed or anxious, so it’s essential to observe your cat’s behavior closely.

5. Medical problems

In some cases, hiccups in cats can be a sign of underlying medical issues such as gut infections, inflammation, or food allergies. These conditions can cause the production of excess gas, leading to stomach and diaphragm irritation, and resulting in hiccups. If your cat experiences hiccups along with appetite changes, weight loss, or unusual stool, it’s important to consult a vet for further investigation.

Can Hiccups Be Harmful?

In general, occasional hiccups in cats are considered normal, especially in kittens. However, if hiccups become frequent, increase suddenly, or are accompanied by vomiting, coughing, or abnormal breathing, it’s important to take them more seriously and have your cat checked by a vet. While most cases of hiccups resolve on their own with time, persistent or severe hiccups may be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires medical attention.

How to Treat a Cat With Hiccups

How to Treat a Cat With Hiccups

If your cat experiences hiccups, there are a few things you can try at home to alleviate their discomfort. It’s important to note that you should always consult a vet before attempting any at-home remedies and avoid trying too many remedies at once. Here are a couple of tips:

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1. Hydration

Ensuring that your cat has access to plenty of fresh drinking water can help them digest their food effectively and reduce the chance of hiccups occurring or alleviate them once they have started. Some cats prefer moving water sources, such as taps or water fountains, so you can try providing these options. It’s also recommended to use separate bowls for food and water, as cats generally prefer their water away from their food.

2. Smaller meals

For cats that tend to over-eat or eat too quickly, offering smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help. This can help the cat pace themselves and reduce the chances of swallowing air while eating. You can also try using puzzle feeders or bowls designed to slow down their eating. Scattering their food across the floor can also slow them down and stimulate their natural instincts of searching for food.

If your cat’s hiccups are related to hairballs, it may be helpful to switch to a diet specifically designed to manage hairballs or introduce a dietary supplement. However, it’s always recommended to consult a vet before making significant changes to your cat’s diet. Regular brushing can also help prevent excessive hair ingestion and reduce the frequency of hairball-related hiccups.

Conclusion

What Do Cat Hiccups Sound Like?

In most cases, hiccups in cats are a normal occurrence and are not a cause for concern. However, if you notice frequent or persistent hiccups, or if they are accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to consult a veterinarian for further evaluation. Taking preventive measures at home, such as encouraging slower eating habits and providing plenty of fresh water, can help alleviate and prevent hiccups in cats. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about your cat’s health, it’s always best to seek professional veterinary advice.

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