One thing in advance: Never try to fix your cat's hiccups with dubious tips that don't work for humans! Scaring, holding your breath or drinking water from a glass overhead is of no use at best, but it can only make things worse.
How do cats hiccups?
In principle, hiccups occur in cats as well as in humans. Two things happen at the same time: the diaphragm contracts and the glottis closes - this is the glottis between the two vocal cords in the larynx. The reason for this is an irritation of the nerves that run through the diaphragm. This in turn can arise from a wide variety of processes.
The following video with kitten panda shows what cat hiccups look like:
Does your cat have hiccups after eating? Harmless reasons
For example, if your cat swallows its food in no time without chewing it properly, it often leads to hiccups. This is because the greedy velvet paw also swallows a lot of air when it is looped. This air irritates the diaphragm, which then cramps up and triggers the hiccups.
Eating too fast is the most common reason for hiccups in cats. Kittens are particularly often affected, who have yet to learn how to chew their solid food properly. If your cat has constant hiccups after eating, you can help her take in the food more slowly and chew it more thoroughly. For example, try the following:
● Give smaller portions of feed, but more often throughout the day.
● Place a larger object (e.g. a ball) in the food bowl: the cat will have to eat around it and will not be able to swallow.
● Set up the food bowl a little higher: If your cat has to stretch a little to get the food, it eats more slowly.
You can find more tips for velvet-pawed wolverines in the guidebook "Cat swallows: You can do that against it".
Another possible reason for cat hiccups is that they don't drink enough water. In this case, you can try out whether your fur nose can be motivated by a drinking fountain to absorb more fluid. There are tips for this in the guide "Drinking lazy cats: Encouraging house tigers to slurp water".
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When hairballs lead to cat hiccups
Sometimes hairballs are the culprit when cats get hiccups. If hair has accumulated in your cat's digestive tract and she is unable to choke the hairball, this irritates her diaphragm and larynx. The result: hiccups. As long as this rarely happens and your cat finally manages to spit out the hairball, you don't have to worry.
However, you can help your cat to avoid having so much fur accumulating in her digestive tract. You can find out how in the guide "Preventing hairballs in cats: tips".
Hiccups in cats as a symptom of illness: when to the vet?
Usually the hiccups stop on their own. Allow your cat a little rest, avoid stress - then your diaphragm relaxes again and the annoying hiccup subsides. In some cases, this can take up to 24 hours without another illness. If the hiccups last longer or your cat suffers from them remarkably often, you should definitely go to the vet with her.
Possible disease-related causes of cat hiccups are:
● asthma (especially if coughing and breathing difficulties are added to the hiccups)
● heart problems
● parasites, for example worms
It is also possible that your cat always gets hiccups due to an allergy. A swallowed foreign body is also an option. If your cat appears to be suffering from severe shortness of breath, go to the veterinarian immediately. It can be an emergency. The same applies if your pet looks tired, flabby or weakened.