Cats and humans don’t exactly have the same biological makeup. Nevertheless, there are notable similarities in certain aspects. For one thing, we know that cats can also get tired and sick, though not necessarily with the same human-like causes, triggers, and symptoms.
The fact is, like humans, cats can get hiccups too. And if hiccups in humans are generally not a cause for concern, does the same apply to cats? How do we know if it’s just normal or if we need to consult a vet about it?
What cat hiccups actually are
When do cats get hiccups and what exactly is it? Just like with humans, hiccups in cats are also a result of an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm while the glottis blocks the passage of the air, which then produces a ‘hic’ sound. With cats, it may sometimes sound like a gulp or chirp.
So how and why does this happen in cats? Similar to humans, the most common reason is when a cat eats too fast or too much.
So if you notice your cat gets hiccups after eating or drinking, this might be the reason. Because cats have a tendency to not chew what they eat properly, it may result in them swallowing additional air that leads to diaphragm spasms.
Another common cause of cat hiccups is hairballs. When your cat has a hairball in their throat, they may try to expel it, leading to an irritation in their diaphragm that can cause the occurrence of hiccups or even vomiting.
Naturally, hiccups shouldn’t exceed a day and generally go away on their own without the need for treatment.
When to worry
Occasional hiccups in cats are just normal. However, if your cat has hiccups that last for a long period of time, most especially if your cat is a senior, it may be secondary to a more serious condition such as asthma, heart disease, tumors, certain parasites, food allergies, and ingestion of a foreign body.
As a precaution, if the hiccups seem to be going on for more than a day or if it happens quite frequently, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
How to address it
When it comes to relieving your cat’s hiccups, there are some remedies if hiccups happen due to their water and food intake. These include:
• Make sure that your cat has enough food and water available throughout the day (better if they have access to running water for easy drinking and never force them to eat or drink);
• Provide a relaxing environment where your cat can have some peace and quiet. Do note however that trying out too many home remedies might include risks, so it is best to consult with your vet first.
• According to research, if the hiccups are caused by overeating, a way to prevent this is by feeding your cat small portions throughout the day. Another option is to raise their food bowl in a way that they’ll make more effort to reach it, thus helping them eat slower.
Another option is to place an object or toy inside your furry friend’s food bowl which can help them eat slower. However, make sure that the object is not a choking hazard / is big enough not to be swallowed.
• On the other hand, if the hiccups seem to be due to hairballs, try a different diet that will help reduce hairballs but remember to consult with your vet first before making a change in your pet’s diet.
Online Vet & Emergency Fund
Having the chance to talk to a certified vet at any time of the day and wherever we may be would truly benefit us pet parents, wouldn’t it? Thankfully, services such as online vets are now within reach to make it more convenient and stress-free for both pet parents and pets.
A good example is Petcube’s Online Vet service that provides 24/7 access to certified vets, with real-time chats and follow-ups as well as personal vet care at a cost-effective rate.
Whether you want to consult about your cat’s hiccups or something more serious, Online Vet provides much support for your peace of mind.
On the other hand, having a pet emergency fund is something that would definitely help during pet emergency cases. Not worrying about the expenses whenever our pet gets sick would really help in being able to direct our full attention to caring for our pet during such time.
Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund offers all that and more. With the said service, not only are you able to secure funds for veterinary expenses, but you also get to have access to Online Vet, to be able to consult with certified vets all throughout the process.
Read more: What To Expect From An Online Vet Visit
If your cat hiccups after eating, do you need to change their diet?
Not necessarily. It’s one option, but there’s also an alternative approach – try feeding your cat the same food but in small portions throughout the day. That way, they eat slower which prevents hiccups due to overeating.
How to tell if your cat has hiccups?
While the hiccups that we, humans, are more familiar with have a ‘hic’ sound, cat hiccups may sometimes sound like a chirp or gulp.
Why do cats get hiccups?
With cats, among the usual scenarios, are: 1) when they overeat or eat/drink too fast; 2) when they get hairballs. If, however, the hiccups happen for long periods / more frequently, it may be due to another health condition so it’s best to consult with a vet if this happens to your cat.