Cat Hiccups – Why They Happen & What To Do For Cat Hiccups

If you’ve ever witnessed cat hiccups then you’ll agree, they can be quite cute and funny. But, are they worth worrying about? And what causes cat hiccups in the first place?

Thankfully like us, cats can go through a bout of hiccups and recover just fine on their own. But, there are some circumstances where you’ll need to monitor your cat if they continue. 

Cat Hiccups – Can Cats Get Hiccups?

The short answer is yes, cats can indeed suffer from hiccups. For us a hiccup is caused by an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm whilst a contraction of the larynx occurs. For cats, it’s more or less the same reason, and usually will occur when they’re eating to fast. 

Why Do Cats Get Hiccups?

Cats get hiccups for similar reasons to us, typically it’s because they are eating to fast or gulping their food. They have a tendency for not chewing their food properly, this makes them gulp and swallow extra air. It’s that extra air that results in spasms of the diaphragm. 

What Causes Cat Hiccups

Another cause of hiccups for cats can actually be hairballs. When cats try to dislodge the fur from their throat, it can cause irritation and thus hiccups could occur. 

On rare occasions, cat hiccups could be a sign of a medical issue. Senior cats who often suffer from them could have a problem such as a tumor, heart disease, parasites or asthma. If you notice your senior cat suffering from regular hiccups you should talk with your vet.

Here are some cat hiccup symptoms to look for:

  • Visible spasms in their abdomen
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Squeaks when they breathe

Hiccups can often be mistaken for cat coughs. These coughs are caused by allergies, heartworm or even serious health problems. To help you identify a cat hiccup, check out the video below. 

How Can You Treat Cat Hiccups? 

First of all you should know that most hiccups in cats is completely normal and they should go away eventually like they do for us.

If your cat already has the hiccups there isn’t much you can do for them except let it pass with time. You can try and help them by making sure they have plenty of space and provide fresh water for them to drink. Yes, even cats can get dehydrated, but never force them to eat or drink.

Treatment for a cat that overeats or eats too fast is quite simple. Feed them smaller portions at a time, and elevate their bowl off the ground. This makes it more difficult for them to eat fast and can help fight against hiccups. 

How To Prevent Cat Hiccups

If you think hairballs are the issue there are a few things you should do. Firstly, put in place a good grooming routine. A medium or long haired cat should be brushed and groomed everyday. This will do two things, one, keep their fur free from tangles and matting and secondly, it will reduce the amount of hair your cat ingests when they groom themselves. 

You can also look into getting some food or gels to further help reduce hairballs. However, grooming is far more effective in reducing hairballs.

How Long Will Hiccups Last

If hiccups are lasting for a few days or seem to be distressing your cat, I’d strongly suggest going to the vet. It is a sign of a bigger problem and your cat could be suffering from a medical issue, and the earlier you start treatment the better. 

In short, cat hiccups should last no longer than a day, and should pass on their own. Again, if you notice they are continuing over a couple of days or more, please go and see a vet. Each cat is different though and in any case you should keep an eye on your cat until the hiccups pass.

Should I be Worried If My Cat Gets Hiccups Regularly?

You’ve probably gathered by now that cat hiccups are usually nothing to be concerned about. But, if you notice your cat constantly suffers from hiccups should you be worried? 

If your cat gets a case of the hiccups every now and then, you’d likely have nothing to worry about. As I talked about previously many cats eat their food very fast and this is likely to be the cause. Again, try raising their food off the ground to make it harder for them to eat if it bothers you and your cat. 

A cause for concern would be if you notice your cat is constantly suffering from hiccups, to the point where it feels like it’s almost a daily occurence then yes, you should be concerned. At this point you should have contacted your local vet, explained the situation and have them advise on what to do next. 

Hiccups Or Asthma?

Sounds strange I know, I too thought asthma was only for humans. Feline asthma is actually a thing, and many times owners can confuse hiccups for a cough and vise versa. Because they look and sound very similar it’s a common mistake made by cat owners. 

Medical Issue

Cat hiccups is also a sign that there could be some deeper medical issues with your cat. Particularly if you notice they occur on a regular basis and last for more than a day at a time. 

Types of illness could be:

  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Parasites
  • Food allergy

Although a food allergy is not a major illness, no one wants to feed their cat something they’re allergic too. There are specific foods available for cats who suffer all kinds of allergies.

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance food is a good choice if your cat has food allergies. 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat...
  • Contains (1) 2 pound bag of dry cat food
  • Grain-free, limited ingredient diet with...
  • Helps minimize the number of ingredients...

Cat Hiccups After Eating

That’s right, it mostly comes down to food as to why both we and cats suffer from hiccups. 

Remember, raise your cats food bowl off the floor if you notice they are gulping at their food. 

You can also look at investing in an automatic cat feeder, they will regulate the amount of food available to your cat at any one time. The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Cat and Dog Feeder is a good choice as it allows you to control the portion size, timing and includes a stop feeder option. 

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed - Automatic Dog and Cat...
  • SCHEDULE YOUR PET'S MEALS: Conveniently...
  • FLEXIBLE PORTIONS: Schedule 1/8 cup to 4...
  • WORKS WITH MOST KIBBLE: Feeder works...

The Final Word On Cat Hiccups

So now you have a general idea of what cat hiccups are all about. What typically causes them and when and when not to worry about our feline friends. For the most part, we can internally giggle at our kitty when they get a small cause of the hiccups. They’re pretty harmless in most cases. 

Just remember, if your cats hiccups seem to last for more than a day, that could spell trouble. Get them to a vet and have them checked up on, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Last update on 2021-07-27 at 08:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API