Why Do Cats Get Hiccups And Why Is It So Damn Funny?

Do Cats Get Hiccups

Ah, cats. Strange creatures, aren’t they? It seems every time I turn around my feline is doing something weird and making me laugh a little more than I should. Take hiccups, for example. Hilarious. So hilarious, in fact, that I find myself unable to do anything about it other than laugh.

Maybe I’m a cruel human, maybe I have a sick sense of humour, maybe I should spend more time asking myself ‘why do cats get hiccups?’ and less time giggling my ass off about it.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching a poor, helpless kitty fight an attack of the hiccups, allow me to introduce you to this little guy named Panda…

Isn’t that the most ridiculously adorable thing you’ve ever seen?

I know I shouldn’t laugh. Sparrow’s asthma is no joking matter, and anything that goes on with his throat or his breathing should be taken seriously. It’s just really hard for me to do that sometimes.

Anyway. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s all stop laughing and get serious about poor little Panda’s predicament.

 

What is a Hiccup?

We’ve all had hiccups, but probably haven’t thought too much about what’s actually going on there. All hiccups begin with the diaphragm muscle. In its normal working state, the diaphragm muscle pulls air down into the lungs when we inhale, and relaxes to allow air back out when we exhale.

A hiccup is the sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm muscle, usually caused by some kind of irritation. As this muscle contracts, air rushing in causes the opening between the vocal chords to snap shut as a way of checking the air intake and this is what causes that hilarious sound.

Animals of all species can be annoyed by hiccups from time to time. Hiccups do not discriminate – anyone who has this kind of breathing system is susceptible and while they’re not necessarily dangerous, hiccups can be really freaking irritating. And funny.

 

Why Do Cats Get Hiccups?

Probably the funniest thing about hiccups is that they appear to have no useful purpose, other than making us laugh. Unlike a cough or a sneeze, it’s not the body’s way of getting rid of anything and they are usually not a cause for concern.

Cats hiccups are more common in little kittens than adult cats and are often barely noticeable. These little muscle spasms are so slight that you might not even see them unless you’re really paying attention. A cat hiccup might sound like a tiny little chirp and might make you fall off your chair laughing. Or is that just me?Crazy Cat - Do Cats Get Hiccups?

Common causes of hiccups in cats may include:

Food

Just like in humans, eating too fast and not chewing properly can cause your kitty to swallow a lot of air. Usually, this will cause cats to vom, but if you’re lucky you’ll get a case of hiccups instead. Much easier to clean up.

Hairballs

That one little irritating hair getting stuck in the throat can cause no end of amusement…I mean hiccuping. Sometimes cats will try to cough that hair out and end up with a case of the hics instead.

Psychological IssuesGrumpy - Do Cats Get Hiccups?

Separation anxiety, emotional distress, fear, panic or any kind of stress can sometimes cause your cat to hiccup. Troubled kitties can develop hiccups out of the blue due to minor stress or major upheaval.

Health Issues

Hiccups can be caused by a number of health issues including allergies, tumours, heartworms and asthma. Sometimes hiccups of this nature can be mistaken for coughing.

 

Can You Stop Laughing Long Enough To Fix it?

I know I can’t. Most of the time cat hiccups are harmless and will pass on their own. Depending on what’s causing your cat to hiccup, there are a few things you can do to prevent these episodes in the first place:

 

If it’s a food issue…

Try feeding your cat smaller, more frequent meals and if you have more than one cat try feeding them in separate rooms so they’re not racing to finish first and help the other out. A raised bowl can help to slow your gobbler down and give him a better angle for swallowing.

Check out the best cat food bowl in the world

If it’s a hairball issue…

Frequent brushing will help get rid of the loose hairs that get stuck in kitty’s throat. This is especially important for long-haired cats and also for asthma cats, who have enough trouble in the throat area to begin with. Natural remedies for hairballs, such as coconut oil are great, but if this is an ongoing problem please visit your vet to make sure the hairball is not stuck in your fluffball’s throat.

 

If your cat has mental problems…Mental Problems - Do Cats Get Hiccups?

Psychology might not be the answer, especially if your cat doesn’t speak English. Really, all cats have some kind of mental problem – why else would they be so strange? Environmental enrichment, routine and plenty of TLC will work wonders for keeping your kitty emotionally stable. If you find your cat needs more help, products such as Rescue Remedy or Feliway are my great go-to cat calmers.

 

If your cat has health problems…

Hiccups are generally harmless, but if they last for days or seem to be overly distressing for your cat, they could be a sign of a bigger problem. If your cat is hiccuping and showing other signs of sickness, please arrange a visit with your vet.

 

If The Hic Won’t Stop

Stop Hiccups - Can Cats Get Hiccups?As with any strange behaviour that your feline friend might be displaying, it’s important to keep an eye on things just to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem at play. Even something as minor and entertaining as hiccups should be noted, just in case something bigger comes of it. Your vet will have a much easier time figuring out what’s wrong if you can give good, detailed information.

Asthma cats are especially sensitive little critters, so even though hiccuping may be harmless, it’s a sign of some kind of irritation. If you take a few simple steps to eliminate whatever’s causing the irritation the hiccups may just go away…and then you’ll have to find something else to laugh at.

 

Got a hiccuping cat? Do you find it as entertaining as I do? Head to the comments and share your thoughts!

 

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30 Comments

  1. Mostly harmless & funny..
    If there only were more of those “benign” temporary conditions like that!

    If you’re laughing at adorable kitten having hiccups.. ..you should see one of my cihuahuas as well, when she’s having a proper session of hiccups..

    Those two big eyes looking at you eagerly & then.. *hic*

    From my experience & observation..
    I’ve noticed this one was mostly due to, or at least I suspect it was, & related to mental issues, combined with food.
    The one I’m talking about is a particularly hungry individual – Almost as hungry as I am – So, when she was a bit younger she tend to eat very quickly.
    Like a true competitive eater, with insatiable hunger.

    I suspect, what we saw on the display, was a more extreme version of survival instinct – The one who eats the most, survives. Simple! Which is totally an animal thing, & not necessarily a bad one. Is it?

    Yeah, she would eat til she was like a balloon – Filled from one end to another. Like a camel tanking up for a serious desert road-trip.
    We had to start feeding her separately immediately.

    I think two possible deciding factors did crop up there: She did not chew properly, so she swallowed air & too big chunks of food.
    The mental issue seemed to be the root cause.. & eating food seemed to be that technical, mechanical condition-trigger.
    To lessen the irritation in throat & get rid of hiccups, offering more water to my pet seemed to work well.

    Fortunately, she’s more grown up now, & has learned to take things more lightly, when it comes to nutrition.

    1. It’s the funniest when they hiccup then look at you as if to say “what was that?!”

      You’re a smart pet owner, Henry. Just like we all should be. These things may be harmless, but as you say, they are a symptom of something else – and harmless doesn’t necessarily equate to pleasant, so it’s up to us humans to do our investigations and knock out whatever’s troubling our furballs.

      Thanks for saying hi again, I always enjoy hearing from you!

  2. Hello, that is a funny post and very informative for people who love and adore cats, like my mum for instance her life evolves around her 3 cats.

    I hope you have all the cat lovers out there read post, as there is many, good luck.

    Kind regards.

    Dean.

    1. Hi Dean, thanks for your comment. That tends to happen when you have cats, life becomes all about cats…and I wouldn’t have it any other way..

  3. This was a very entertaining article. And the cat in the video was very cute.

    I actually couldn’t stop reading this article. I started off trying not to laugh at the thought of a cat having the hiccups, then got a bit guilty for laughing, and then got very interested in the science behind it.

    The remedies were interesting, got me thinking that maybe there’s a market for a cat psychologist to help all those mental cats.

    1. Thanks Declan! I was thinking about becoming a cat psychologist, but I’d probably end up in therapy myself!

  4. Hillarious, Cute and Interesting all rolled into one. I can’t get enough of cute cats with hiccups. Very informative post as well, nice to know it may just be the hiccups when I might normally need to watch for something else. I book marked and will be back, this site is great

  5. Hi, I really liked your post I don’t have a cat but one of my friends does, and it is so adorable. Often times I’d hear her hiccup but would not mention it to my friend because it wasn’t worth mentioning. However, now I know why she does that, and I’m glad I do. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Very interesting! I have a little dog – and when I say little I mean really little, most cats are bigger than her! When she gets the hiccups it is the strangest thing. I never know why and then they just seem to disappear after a couple of minutes. I wonder if it is the same reasoning for dogs as cats!

    My friend has 2 cats and I am going to keep an eye and see if I ever catch them hiccuping after eating because man do those cats eat fast!!

    1. Wow, it’s all about the canine cats today! I guess they’re more hiccupy than their feline friends. Thanks Mallory!

  7. Hi Shirley,

    Just LOVED your post girl!! Truly endearing Little Panda!! Awww poor kitty! Yes…there was a giggle in there too. 😀

    Personally, I have the canine variety (Mini-Shitzu), but the hiccups are just as cute, especially when followed by a dream and a chirp. 😀 Actually my Feebee ‘Yips’ in her sleep and I imagine her playing with the angels! Lol

    I just love your cute style and the quirky way you post your content making it not only informative but delightfully engaging and fun!

    Love the video…gotta love ’em, don’t we? Precious!!

    Will visit again..and thanks for the informative giggle!

    ~Evon 🙂

    1. Aw thanks, Evon. We like canine cats around here too, so please feel free to come back and share your little pet with us any time you like 🙂

  8. Loved this post! Very enjoyable and informative, helpful remedies and things to look out for. Also, that video made me giggle 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

  9. Oh, is it awful that I’m staring at my cat Nargle wondering what it would be like if he got the hiccups? Our dog, Luna, gets them in the car. We have a long drive through the neighborhood so we let her get that snout out the window and she gets them about half the time. Very informative and funny post.

  10. I have a friend who mentioned about his cat having hiccups once. He told me that his cat won’t stop for the whole day. Later he told me that he gave his cat a big scare by taking her near a dog at the park and the hiccup stopped. I am not sure how much of this is true, but even if it is true, I doubt it’s a very good method. Your insight in this sounds much more meaningful than those “self” therapies. I should have him read your page.

    1. Hi Win Bill. Definitely share this stuff with your friend, scaring a cat is really not a nice thing to do in any circumstance!

  11. Hi there,
    I love this so much lol, you made me laugh reading this. As a cat lover I can relate to this. I have a chubby little cat who gets hiccups when he drinks. He is perfectly healthy and loves going to the vet (kind of like Garfield) lol. This is a great article and I have learned a lot from this. You are a very funny person and I really enjoyed this. Thank you again.

  12. What an enjoyable read! I learned, laughed and fell in love with that cute kitten in the video. You developed my interest at te very beginning by taking a lighthearted look at what are clearly one of the passions of your life. The video was a great add to help us chuckle with you. A nice job of discussing the causes and alerting us when we should take action.

  13. Oh my gosh! I love my cats! I have never really thought about what type of bowl I use and the benefits it might have for my cats. Although I am wondering about how old you think they should be before they can use the bowl correctly? I have three 7 week old kittens, and most of the time they are standing in the bowl.
    Thanks!

    1. Oh my gosh! Three babies…you must be dying from non-stop cuteness overloads! Kittens are quite unco when it comes to eating, it’ll take them a bit to figure it out. Help them out by giving them their food on something shallow and wide, like a saucer or a small plate. They’ll figure it out eventually, until then…enjoy the kitten comedy show 🙂

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