Hiccups are one of those things that we don’t really think about until we or someone else gets them. And while hiccups are usually nothing more than a nuisance, they can be pretty darn adorable on a cat. Have you ever wondered why your cat gets hiccups? Chances are you’ve seen your cat hiccuping at least once or twice and thought to yourself, “Why on earth is my cat doing this?” But why do cats get hiccups? Is it something to be concerned about? Well, wonder no more! In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons behind feline hiccups.
What are Hiccups?
Hiccups are caused by an involuntary spasm in the diaphragm, the large muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. This spasm causes a sudden intake of air, which then results in the “hic” sound we all know and love. While the exact cause of hiccups is unknown, there are a few things that can trigger them, such as eating too fast, drinking carbonated beverages, or experiencing stress or excitement.
The Causes of Feline Hiccups
There are a few different reasons why your cat may develop hiccups. Keep in mind, hiccups in cats are “fairly rare.” That’s because cats don’t gulp their food and drinks as we do. They tend to take small sips, so there’s less air ingested along with their meals. When cats do gulp down their food or drinks too quickly, they may have swallowed some air along with it, which can lead to a case of hiccups.
Eating or Drinking Too Fast
If you’ve ever gulped down a big glass of water too quickly, you probably got the hiccups. The same thing can happen to your cat if they eat or drink too fast. When cats eat or drink too quickly, they sometimes take in a lot of air along with their food or water. This extra air can build up in their stomach and cause the diaphragm to spasm, resulting in a case of hiccups. This is especially common in kittens who are still getting the hang of eating solid food. An automatic feeder may be a good choice to help regulate younger cats eating habits, and help them eat smaller portions. By having a cat’s diet on a regular feeding time, you will be able to lower the chance of your furry friend hiccupping. A cat should have plenty of water available to them to help, but if your cat vomits, please seek veterinary advice as soon as you can. Frequent hiccups or sudden increases in cases of hiccups are not normal and may point to a bigger problem.
Foreign Body in Your Cat’s Throat
Cats can get hiccups for all the same reasons that we do. However, there is one additional thing that can trigger hiccups in cats: hairballs. Since cats groom themselves with their tongues, they often end up swallowing a lot of hair. This hair can build up in their stomachs and form hairballs, which can then trigger hiccups. Hairballs are more common in long-haired breeds, but any cat can develop them. If your feline friend seems to be getting the hiccups frequently or for a long period of time, it might be time to take them to the vet for a checkup.
Excitement or Stress
Another explanation is that hiccups may be triggered by excitement or stress. If your cat is excited or stressed about something, it can cause its diaphragm or throat muscles to spasm and result in a case of a cat’s hiccups. Cats are very sensitive creatures, and even something as small as a sudden noise can startle them and cause them to hiccup. Maybe your cat gets excited when they see you coming home from work or maybe they get stressed out when there’s a big storm outside. Either way, excitement, and stress are two possible causes of feline hiccups If your cat is prone to hiccups, try to create a calm and relaxed environment during mealtimes. Some furry friends experience separation anxiety which can result in a hiccupping cat. Negative emotions can cause a change from normal behaviour and be a potential cause for bouts of hiccups. Toys and treats are really good stress relievers for cats and can help minimize the problem.
A Sudden Change in Temperature
Cats are sensitive to changes in temperature, just like people. A sudden change in temperature—like drinking cold water after being outside in the heat—can irritate the diaphragm and cause the muscles to spasm. This can lead to a bout of hiccups or trouble breathing.
Underlying Health Issues
Finally, some veterinarians believe that hiccups may be a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, or feline asthma. If your cat frequently gets hiccups, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential health problems.
Are Hiccups Harmful?
Generally speaking, hiccups are not harmful to cats and will resolve on their own within a short period of time. If your cat is having frequent or prolonged episodes of hiccups, however, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or an intestinal blockage. These conditions will require medical treatment from your veterinarian.
How to Help Your Cat
If your cat is experiencing occasional hiccups that don’t seem to be causing any discomfort, there’s no need to intervene. If your cat is healthy and just got a small case of the hiccups, relax. In most cases, the hiccups will go away on their own after a few minutes and won’t require any medical attention. However, if your cat appears to be in distress or the hiccups become a normal occurrence, there are preventative measures you can do to help. First, try massaging your cat’s throat gently in an effort to dislodge any potential hairballs. You can also try feeding your cat small meals more often throughout the day instead of one large meal. This will help prevent them from gulping down their food too quickly and swallowing air along with it.
Hiccups Don’t Equal Panic
While it may be alarming to see your cat experience hiccups, generally speaking, they’re not anything to worry about and will resolve on their own within a short period of time. We don’t know for sure why cats get hiccups, there are a few theories that seem to make sense. However, if your cat is having frequent or prolonged episodes of hiccups, it’s important to bring them to the vet for an examination as this could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. young kittens and older cats may be most at risk for chronic hiccups due to fast eating, food allergies, medical conditions, or excess air. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease your feline friend’s discomfort such as massaging their throat and feeding them smaller meals more often throughout the day.