Hairballs in Cats

Do you know the signs of a cat hairball? Let’s test your knowledge of this particular feline problem!

Lately, I have been noticing a pattern with my roommate’s cat, Mitzy. About once a month, Mitzy will have an upset stomach and vomit. This not only gets old because we have to clean the carpet every time, but because her veterinarian can’t seem to find what the problem is. Finally, it occurred to me that we may not be looking at vomit from a sickness. Rather, we might be looking at the result of a hairball.

For those who are new to felines and their behaviors, cats are known for having hairballs. You may have seen a cartoon where a cat was hacking and gagging on something. The punch line is, “hair ball!” Well, that is what actually happens! The primary symptoms of hairballs in cats are periodic hacking, coughing and vomiting. But why does this happen? Well, during your pet’s cleaning routine, it licks its fur, of course. Sometimes, it will get loose fur in its mouth and swallow it. Then, that hair will remain and collect in the stomach. It’s hard to digest, so this will then cause the hacking and the coughing, until vomiting occurs. Sometimes your cat won’t even throw up the hair, it will just deposit what was in its stomach. Other times, the hair will be matted or in a cylindrical shape.

To help cut back on the amount of hairballs your feline has, start a brushing routine. Getting rid of excess fur will help your animal tremendously. Another great thing to try is pet food that is specifically made to help reduce hairballs. Basically, this works because the food supports your cat’s overall health, which makes shedding less severe.

For more information on hairballs, consult your veterinarian.

What methods do you use to minimize hairballs in your cat? Share with us in the comment section below!

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2 Responses

  1. Judy Bengs says:

    A little cod liver oil on the cat food helps also. We have a stray cat that lives in our front yard. He lays on the cars, and we were finding a lot of vomit with hair in it. We started putting a couple squirts of cod liver oil
    on his food. The vomiting decreased and finally stopped all together.

  2. Karen says:

    I use the hairball remedy wet and dry (royal canin extreme hairball) food as well as giving my Billey the liquid hair ball remedy once every couple of weeks. 4 years ago Billey stopped eating and was gagging and coughing a lot. An X-Ray showed something in his upper GI tract. After two days of intravenous fluids, I had the surgeon go in to see what was going on. He had two large ( the size of a fist ) hair balls blocking his system. They were removed and he has been okay since. He is a MAINE COON with lots of fur. I always combed him but the vet said that this was a common problem with long haired cats. Now, he gets combed more often and then I use a finer tooth brush to pick up the loose hairs. A lion cut was also suggested but my Billey won't have that. staying on top of the grooming is important. Billey says, "yeah, it's important!"

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