Can Cats Get the Hiccups? Here's What to Do When Your Cat Squeaks

If your kitty devours their food quickly, you'll want to read this.

Jamie Bichelman - Author
By

May 1 2024, Published 4:19 p.m. ET

A white cat opens its mouth wide in front of a peach colored background.
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If you have ever been the recipient of the scorn from your companion cat as you dared to release a bodily function — a sneeze or hiccup, perhaps— this one is for you. When our cats display unexpected behavioral or eating habit changes or make squeaky noises that sound like coughs or hiccups, we wonder if our cat is sick, or if they're just displaying a normal bodily function.

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As your cat continues to make a noise that falls somewhere in the range of "adorable and mildly concerning hiccup" to "ferocious roar like a lion," keep reading as we interpret what these noises mean and when you should seek medical care for your kitty.

A black cat opens its mouth wide in front of a mint green colored background.
Source: iStock
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Can cats get hiccups?

According to Catster, yes, cats can get hiccups just like us humans do. Unlike the pterodactyl-like screeching of my hiccups, however, Catster notes that a cat's hiccup barely makes a sound louder than a soft squeak.

“Cat hiccups are more common in kittens than adult cats, however, like humans, they can happen at any time or age,” veterinarian Dr. Al Townsend told PetMD.

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Visually, when a cat hiccups, you might notice their tummy moving in and out in rapid succession. While hiccups aren't always cause for concern, there are some scenarios in which it is recommended to seek vet care.

“Anything that seems to last a long time or become very frequent should be checked by a veterinarian,” Dr. Townsend told PetMD.

A cat with a white and brown colored coat drinks water from a fountain on a wooden floor of a kitchen.
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Here's what to do if your cat has hiccups.

A cat's hiccups may be adorably innocuous, or a red flag that something in their behavior or health needs to be discussed with a veterinarian and trained behaviorist.

Your cat might be failing to chew food for long enough, eating a large amount in a short time, thus irritating their throat, per PetMD. They may be swallowing excess air in the process, leading to hiccups.

It may also be helpful to encourage your cat to drink more water — and for cats who prefer to drink running water, as many of them do, this may mean investing in a kitty water fountain.

Another strategy to address this is a kitty slow feeder, per Basepaws, which may serve the dual purpose of providing enrichment. And just as humans need quiet, calm space to cope with everything from headaches to hiccups, you'll likewise want to give your kitty space.

Finally, if you're having a difficult time distinguishing between the sounds and physical signs of your cat's hiccup versus difficulty swallowing or choking, it is imperative that you visit a vet as soon as possible to ensure these symptoms aren't a red flag for other health concerns.

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