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Dr. Andi
Dr. Andi, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  I am skilled in small animal emergency, medicine, surgery, acupuncture and complementary medicine.
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My cat appears to burp or have hiccups quite often. I asked

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My cat appears to burp or have hiccups quite often. I asked our Vet about it - he says that's not what cats do - more likely this could be heart related. Is this the case? What to do?
Submitted: 6 years ago via KittenCare.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Andi replied 6 years ago.

Your vet is correct in saying that cats don't burp or hiccup. However, they can make similar sounding noises when trying to hack up a hairball or regurgitate. Since your guy is so young, I would rule out food allergies first. Yes, it's possible that he is coughing or hacking secondary to heart disease, but I would expect your vet to have heard a murmur on exam if this were the case. So, I would first take your kitten back to a vet for an exam, just to be sure he hasn't developed any new physical changes.

Then, the easiest thing to do is change the food. I would first try a grain-free food like Wellness Core or Evo (available at your local pet food store). Your cat is not a super young kitten, and this food is very high in protein, so I think it would be ok to feed. If that doesn't help, then you can try hypoallergenic foods from Royal Canin or Eukanuba (available through your vet). Sometimes it takes 4 or 5 different food changes to find the right food in cats! Also, you can try to give him 1/4 tablet Pepcid AC, followed by 3-4 ml water, 1-2 times a day. The Pepcid AC will decrease any stomach acid he might be having secondary to dietary issues. You can also try a tincture called Phytomucil from Animal Apawthecary (available on line). I've had good luck with this in helping vomiting/"burping" cats.

If his exam was normal and the food changes didn't help, then I would recommend an xray and further work up if the burp/hiccup continues.

I hope this helps and that your cat feels better soon!
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Cat does not cough or make hacking noises, except once sounded like he was going to bring up a furball. His body just makes spasaming a few times in succession. Does your answer imply this?
Expert:  Dr. Andi replied 6 years ago.
Yes, then I highly doubt it's a heart issue. It does sound like he has a food sensitivity that is causing him to partially regurgitate. I would try to change the food first, and see if that helps at all. Also, you can use a product called Laxatone or Petromalt (available at your pet store) to help "lube things up" thus keep food and digesta going in the correct direction and decreasing any hairballs he might have.
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