Do Cats Get Hiccups? Know What Causes Hiccups In Cats!

Supriya Jain
Jan 24, 2024 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
A cute tabby shorthaired cat sleeping on sofa.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.2 Min

Hiccups are involuntary diaphragm contractions, according to medical terminology.

Hiccups are commonly produced in people by drinking or eating too quickly, consuming fizzy drinks or alcohol, tobacco, or chewing gum. They can, however, be an indication of underlying illness in some cases.

Hiccups may appear to be a distinctive health problem in humans, yet they may affect all animals. Do cats get hiccups? Cats can get hiccups, too! Overeating, eating too fast, or hairballs are the most prevalent causes of chronic hiccups in kittens compared to adult cats, resulting in chronic spasms in the diaphragm. These chronic spasms can be injurious to their health as, if your pet cat is old, it may be a sign of heart disease or maybe a breathing problem. Find out what causes your cat's hiccups and when you should be concerned, if at all.

We now know that cats can experience hiccups. Hiccuping is more common in kittens than in adult cats, although they can strike at any age. A cat hiccup sounds nothing like a human hiccup, but rather sounds like tiny, regular chirps or even squeaks. It's also possible that you'll feel a little spasm in your cat's abdomen.

So, what causes cat hiccups? Read on to know if cat hiccups are normal and thereafter, do read Saber-toothed cat facts and do cats get colds.

Why do cats get hiccups?

Cats experience hiccups in the same manner as people do, and for the same reasons. Overeating or eating too fast is the most common cause of hiccups in cats besides hairballs. If food isn't chewed well, it might result in an excessive amount of air being ingested, causing discomfort and, as a result, a diaphragm spasm.

Anxiety is another common cause of hiccups in both people and cats. In rare circumstances, emotional turmoil in your cats, such as pain or separation anxiety, can give rise to strange physical symptoms such as hiccups. Hairballs, on the other hand, are a typical cause of hiccups in cats that people don't have. When cats groom themselves, they ingest a few hairs as they wipe their fur with their mouths. Your cat's throat may be irritated by hairs, and the spasm may help them loosen or cough up the fur (hairballs). Finally, hiccups that continue for days or weeks might be a sign of something more serious, such as asthma, parasites, or heart problems. It's especially crucial to keep an eye out for these problems in senior cats.

What do hiccups indicate in cats?

A contraction of your diaphragm occurs when you hiccup. The diaphragm is a muscle that connects your lungs to your stomach. When this muscle is working properly, it pushes down when you inhale and relaxes when you exhale, allowing air to escape. The reflexive spasm of the diaphragm, known as a 'hiccup', is the muscle's response to irritation.

Hiccups are caused by irritation in the nerve that links your diaphragm to your brain, which can be caused by both emotional and physical reasons. There are some of the reasons for this: consuming food too rapidly, excessive eating, temperature changes, and anxiety and stress.

When you hiccup, the sound you hear is your vocal cords quickly shutting. Hiccups can also be a sign of an underlying illness. However, this is unusual. So, since these are the facts regarding hiccups in humans, does your cat have the same problem?

Beautiful gray tabby cat.

How To Know If My Cat Is Hiccuping

A cat hiccups when its diaphragm contracts at the same moment that the portion of its larynx containing the vocal cords shuts, according to veterinarians. This hiccupping can occur as a result of nerve irritation or as a result of eating too fast while also inhaling air.

While your cat's chirps may not sound like your hiccups, they are most likely suffering from the same annoying spasm. While hiccupping might be amusing at times, frequent or abrupt occurrences of cat hiccups on a daily basis could indicate a more serious condition. If your cat has hiccups or coughs, he or she may show one or more of the following signs: when they breathe, they make a squeaking noise; a spasm might be seen in their belly, or it can be so little that you can only feel it; if it's wheezing or experiencing breathing problems, it's time to see a vet; when they breathe, it sounds like something is stuck in their throat.

While certain hitches related to feeding are normal, they should not last more than a day. Those that do might be indicators of more serious issues. If your cat gets sudden and persistent hiccups, you should see a veterinarian about treatment options.

When should I be concerned about my cat's hiccups?

Cats can perform a variety of behaviors that appear to be hiccups but are actually a sign of a different issue. This might be due to respiratory discomfort, ingestion of a linear foreign body (thread, yarn, or ribbon), a foreign body in the airways, neurological disorders, or even a manifestation of purring, considering that purring and hiccupping have comparable anatomic components. Hiccups are unlikely to be hazardous in and of themselves, but they can be a symptom of a more serious illness in rare circumstances. If your cat has hiccups on a regular basis or for an extended period of time, you should seek veterinarian advice. To rule out serious disease, your veterinarian will likely prescribe a physical exam, blood testing, and maybe radiographs.

There are many indications that you should see a vet right away: if the hiccups are accompanied by a cough, it might indicate a bacterial infection; it might be a symptom of a serious ailment if your cat gets hiccups and is wobbling around with a poor sense of balance; if your cat is hiccupping and vomiting, it might be suffering from a stomach problem; generally, if it has hiccups and any other symptoms like coughing, wheezing, vomiting, or tiredness, you should take it to the vet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'Do cats get hiccups? Know what causes hiccups in cats!', then why not take a look at 'What causes snow? Fascinating weather facts for curious kids!', or 'What is the moon made of? Solar system facts that curious kids love!'?

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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