Do cats get hiccups?

You know how it feels to have hiccups…you’ve had them. You’ve also noticed other people having hiccups. Are you aware that animals can get the hiccups too? Hiccup is caused when the diaphragm contracts. Animals that have diaphragm, the thin sheet of striated muscle that extends across the bottom of the lungs would get hiccups. You have probably noticed your pet cat hiccupping because these animals can get the hiccups too.

Hiccup appears to have no purpose in humans and in animals. While an observer may find it amusing to see anyone hiccupping, it would be apparent that the one that has the hiccups would be irritated. Hiccups that usually occur 4 to 60 times per minute would certainly bring discomfort. Hiccupping in animals would bother the owners more than the pet. Cats can get the hiccups. It would not be surprising if cat parents would be bothered by the hiccupping of the pet given the fact that cats are well loved pets. A cat parent would naturally want to know the reasons why the pet develops a case of the hiccups.

How and why do cats get hiccups? The development of hiccup in cats is pretty much the same as in humans. Hiccup is scientifically explained as the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm that causes air to rush into the lungs. The sudden contraction of the diaphragm causes the glottis or the vocal chords to close abruptly. Because the rushing air is abruptly blocked, a lump would form in the throat and hiccupping which is characterized by the “hic” sound would develop. Aside from the sound of the hiccup the shaking of the cat’s stomach will be noticed as well. Just as with hiccups in humans, hiccupping in cats normally pass on its own. Cats would appear unbothered by the hiccup but pet parents would be concerned especially if the hiccup bout last for more than a few minutes and the pet’s hiccupping is very frequently.

All cats get a case of the hiccups. Hiccups can develop after eating especially if the cat has finished off the meal too fast. Gulping food is one of the reasons why hiccups develop. A foreign substance or object lodged in the cat’s throat like hair swallowed when grooming would cause an irritation that would trigger hiccupping. A bout of hiccupping can also occur if the nerves that extend from the neck to the chest of the cat are irritated because of the cat’s allergic reaction to dust, to pollens, grass and other allergens in the environment. It is normal for cats to hiccup but there are instances when the cat’s hiccupping is a sign that the pet is sick. This kind of hiccup usually persists for longer periods of time. Medical attention would be necessary especially if the pet is showing general signs of malaise.

Drinking water would help in eliminating the hiccups. This hiccup remedy may not work in cats as it would be rather hard to force the cat to drink water. As gulping food and water is one of the reasons why cats can get hiccups, it would be a good idea to elevate the food and water bowls to prevent the pet from eating too fast. Ingested hairball is another probable reason for the hiccupping of the cat. Hairballs have become a concern of pet parents not only because it can cause hiccup but also because these wads of hair can create a blockage in the cat’s gastrointestinal system. The right kind of diet will significantly reduce the formation of hairballs as they are normally excreted by the cat. A vet visit is very necessary if the pet gets the hiccups frequently as the hiccupping can mean that the cat has an anatomical problem.

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