If you’ve ever caught your cat in the act of hiccuping, you probably thought it was adorable. Let’s face it, any little movement or sound that comes out of our purrfect little felines is swoon-worthy. However, this cute and curious action may not actually be all that fun for your kitty cat, especially if it lasts all day. Like in people, long-term hiccups could mean something else is going on.
I personally hate it when I get hiccups, and I let everyone around me know it. It’s a little harder for your cat to express its discomfort. So do them a favor and keep reading learn how to help get your sweet kitty through its next hiccup episode smoothly and quickly. Let’s dive in!
Do Cats Get Hiccups?
Yes, cats can get hiccups. Although it’s not as common as in humans, feline hiccups do occur. You may not notice them right away, especially if your cat has a lot of fur. It’s easiest to notice when they’re lying down, and there’s a jerking motion rather than the gentle breathing motion. Many cats don’t make a sound when they hiccup.
The frequency and duration of hiccups in cats can vary greatly from one feline to another. Some cats may experience hiccups occasionally, while others may never have them at all. Normally, they should last for less than a day. If they last longer, there may be cause for concern.
What Are Cat Hiccups Like?
When a cat has hiccups, you might first notice its side making expanding in short, quick rhythms. Similar to how you experience the visual effect of hiccups when you look down at your chest area. Cats may also make a small “hic” or “gulp” noise when experiencing this phenomenon, but they can also remain perfectly quiet.
Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle that plays a vital role in the process of breathing. These contractions cause a sudden closure of the vocal cords, resulting in the characteristic “hic” sound. While hiccups are more commonly associated with humans, other mammals, like cats, can also experience them.
Why Do Cats Hiccup?
Hiccups are an irritation of the nerve that runs to the diaphragm. There are several factors that trigger cat hiccups, but the most common is eating and drinking too quickly. Some cats don’t chew their food properly and rather hurry up and swallow. Rapid consumption of their water or food can lead to the swallowing of air, which irritates the diaphragm and causes hiccups.
Hairballs are another common cause of hiccups. When a cat is trying to cough up the fur, the nerve running to the diaphragm gets irritated and can result in hiccups.
Similar to humans, excitement or stress can also bring on cat hiccups. They’re known to be sensitive creatures, and sudden environmental changes could lead to hiccups. For example, they might be triggered by a loud noise or perhaps the introduction of a new pet into your family.
In addition, gastrointestinal problems, such as acid reflux or an upset stomach, can contribute to feline hiccups. These conditions can irritate the diaphragm and have the potential to result in hiccups.
How Long Should Feline Hiccups Last?
If hiccups last for longer than a day, it could be a sign of a more serious health issue. For example, your cat may be experiencing asthma, a tumor, food allergies, or heart disease. In very rare cases, there could be a parasite. Or your cat may have ingested something like a small toy or other object.
So, we recommend contacting your vet if the hiccups last more than a day. This is especially true for older cats who may be developing underlying health conditions. What you’re observing as hiccups may be, and they might also be, a reaction from a heart condition or other medical problem.
Similar to how humans don’t enjoy the sensation of hiccups, they’re likely bothering your feline even though it can’t express its feelings or pain. If your cat’s hiccups last a day or less but happen frequently, there are ways to help stop and prevent them.
How Can Cat Hiccups Be Stopped?
You can help alleviate your cat’s hiccups in a few ways. Try providing your pet with a small amount of water to help ease hiccups, especially if they were caused by eating or drinking too quickly. The water can help dilute any excess air in the digestive system.
If your cat gets hiccups frequently and is a furious eater, try using a puzzle feeder bowl to slow down its eating. Or use an automatic or microchip feeder. Slowing down your cat’s food intake during mealtime will help reduce excess air getting into the digestive system.
We also recommend brushing your cat regularly to minimize the hairballs it ingests. Plus, grooming your cat is a great way to bond and relax.
Playing with your cat or offering gentle petting can help distract them from the hiccups while they’re happening. Physical contact and attention from their human can provide comfort and reassurance. In addition, the more calm you are, the more relaxed your pet will be. Reducing anxiety will help your cat feel secure during an episode and may help it stop.
Just be sure to avoid the age-old human method of stopping hiccups. Don’t scare the hiccups out of your cat, or try to tickle them! Trust us, it will end badly and likely with some scratches. Plus, it’s not proven to work, so avoiding it altogether is in your best interest.
When Should You Be Concerned About Cat Hiccups?
In most cases, feline hiccups are harmless and subside on their own. However, it’s concerning if your cat experiences frequent or prolonged hiccups. Especially if other symptoms accompany them, it’s best to chat about it with your veterinarian. Your vet can assess your cat’s health and determine if an underlying condition needs attention.
In addition, if your cat is in its senior years, hiccups may occur due to a health condition that you’re unaware of. Contact your vet for a check-up to make sure there’s nothing additional going on.
Help Prevent Your Cat From Getting Hiccups
Help prevent your cat from getting hiccups with our tips in this article. Just like you probably dislike hiccups, our pets likely feel the same way. So, while feline hiccups aren’t an immediate cause for concern, they’re also not cute or curious. Helping them stop the hiccups and prevent them in the future will make them love you all the more.
Has your cat experienced hiccups? Share your experience in the comments below.
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