Can Cats Hiccup?
Hiccups are caused by contractions in an animal’s diaphragm. While we humans can experience hiccups frequently, is it the same for other animals? If you’ve noticed your cat spasming, you might be wondering if your feline friend has gotten a case of the hiccups.
In short, cats are capable of getting hiccups. In fact, many of the reasons cats experience hiccups are quite similar to some of the reasons we humans get them. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the underlying causes of hiccups in cats, as well as whether or not you should be concerned if your cat is hiccuping.
Are Hiccups Normal?
Just as hiccups are considered normal in humans, they are also considered normal in cats, as well as any other mammal. Cats are more likely to experience hiccups during kitten-hood, but it’s not unusual for an adult cat to have hiccups, either. In most cases, noticing hiccups in your cat is no cause for worry. As we’ll discuss later, however, it can be a symptom of an underlying disease or condition, although this is rare.
One of the most common reasons that cats develop hiccups is from eating too quickly. Cats have very sensitive digestive systems, and by eating quickly without properly chewing food, they might ingest larger quantities of air, leading to a bout of hiccups.
In some rare cases, cats may even develop a case of hiccups due to anxiety. If your cat is hiccuping, make sure there are no new stressors in your pet’s environment.
Another major cause of hiccups in cats is hairballs. When cats groom themselves, they ingest small amounts of their own fur. If they are shedding heavily, or are not being properly groomed, however, they can ingest more hair than is healthy for them. Because fur cannot be digested by a cat’s gastrointestinal system, the hair builds up, and is eventually coughed up. Before the hairball is coughed up, however, your cat may develop hiccups.
In most cases, hiccups are no cause for concern. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for any abnormal behavior. There are a few causes for hiccups that are more dangerous than eating quickly or hairball development.
Can Hiccups Be Dangerous?
While hiccups themselves are not dangerous, they can sometimes be caused by some underlying disease or condition. If you have never noticed hiccups in your cat before, but suddenly notice hiccups occurring frequently and for long periods of time, this could be a cause for concern.
In some cases, hiccups may be caused by the ingestion of a foreign object, such as plastic or a ribbon.
Hiccups can also be a result of allergies related to stimulants in their environment.
While it is rare, hiccups can also appear as symptoms of heart and organ diseases, neurological disorders, and even tumors.
If you notice your cat suffering from a bout of hiccups for more than several hours, it’s time to consult your veterinarian. Likewise, if the hiccups suddenly begin occurring frequently, you should also consider taking your cat to the vet. When it comes to pet health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Ways to Prevent Hiccups in Your Cat
Unfortunately, you can’t really stop your cat from eating too quickly, so hiccups induced from this behavior can’t easily be prevented. If your cat is hiccuping due to hairballs, however, there is an easy way to fix this!
Brushing your cat more frequently will reduce the amount of hair they ingest, and therefore reduce the frequency of hiccups. Most cats should be brushed one to three times a week, or more depending on the breed. Cats will also shed more during shedding season, which occurs during spring and fall.
Overall, there’s no way to stop a bout of hiccups while it’s occurring. The best thing you can do is give your cat some space to let it pass but keep an eye out for any unusual co-occurring behaviors.
Overall, hiccups in cats are rarely a cause for concern. They are most often caused by overeating, eating too quickly, or hairballs. If you notice your cat is hiccuping more frequently or for longer than you are used to, however, you should consult Catonsville Cat Clinic to ensure that your cat is happy and healthy!