How to Help Cats with Hairballs

icon August 24, 2023

Cats are very clean lovers and usually groom themselves by licking their fur or licking to stop the itching, this article will tell you about hairball prevention and several home remedies for cat hairballs.

What is a Cat Hairball

Cats are known for their grooming behavior, which involves licking their fur to keep themselves clean. However, as they lick their fur, they also ingest a significant amount of loose hair that comes off during the grooming process. This hair can accumulate in their stomach and form hairballs.

Why Do Cats Cough Up Hairballs

Cats groom themselves by licking their own fur, so they will ingest loose fur on a regular basis. Hair is not easily digested and if too much hair accumulates in the cat's digestive tract, a hairball can form.

To get rid of the hairball, the cat will usually cough it up. This is a natural and normal process and although it may be unpleasant for us humans, it is an important way for cats to keep their digestive system healthy.

Some cats are more prone to hairballs than others, especially long-haired breeds, or those that are over-groomed. However, although rare, hairballs can pose a danger if they are too large to pass through or remain in the digestive tract in the cat's stomach.

What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

The following are triggers for hairball problems:

  • Decreased peristalsis due to digestive tract disease, inflammation
  • Excessive fur-licking xenophobia caused by mental stress or pain.
  • Preference for licking woolen fabrics and eating hairballs
  • Living with long-haired cats and excessive hair licking
  • Abnormal hair evacuation due to food factors

Symptoms of Hairballs in Cats

Dry Vomiting- How to Help a Cat with Hairballs

If the coughing and dry vomiting are transient and everything else is normal, the cat can be fed with cat grass, cat grass powder, hair detoxification cream, and other hairball products to encourage the cat to expel the hairballs on its own. 

Reduced Appetite- How to Help a Cat with Hairballs

In case of vomiting, reduced appetite, and reduced activity, the following methods can be adopted: massage the cat's abdomen to relieve the discomfort caused by flatulence; feed canned food, minced meat, mashed fish, and other easily digestible food in small quantities and meals after the spirit has improved; feed cat grass and other hairball elimination products with meals; and allow the cat to move around as much as possible.

Are Cat Hairballs Normal?

When the hair is swallowed, it is usually excreted with feces. Sometimes the cat may try to vomit up hairballs (which are not ball-shaped but mostly mixed with gastrointestinal secretions or flocculent or streaky), and sometimes only gastric secretions are vomited up. Vomiting is not regular, once a week or once every two months, as long as the cat is happy, it is normal.

When to See a Vet

It is important to contact your veterinarian if you notice the following hairball symptoms as they may indicate that the hairball has caused a potentially life-threatening obstruction:

  • Persistent vomiting, gagging, dry heaving, or absence of hairballs
  • Loss of appetite, not eating at all
  • lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

cat asthma or hairball

Signs Of Asthma 

Frequent recurring coughs that don’t produce a hairball can be a sign of asthma, particularly if the cough occurs more than once a week, or if it is intermittent and continues for more than 4 weeks. 

Asthma attacks are also associated with a characteristic posture. Many cats hunch their body close to the ground and extend their necks forward during an attack. 

In the event of an asthma attack, your cat may cough in addition to any number of the following symptoms: 

  • Wheezing 
  • Blue lips and gums 
  • Heavy or rapid breathing 
  • Breathing through the mouth 
  • Absence of a hairball 

If you suspect your cat is experiencing an asthma attack, take them to a vet immediately for intervention. 

Signs of hairballs 

In addition to coughing, dry heaving, and gagging, cats may also show signs of 

  • vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

How Can You Help Prevent Hairballs in Cats?

Brush your cat regularly

Regular brushing helps to remove loose fur and prevents your cat from swallowing too much hair during grooming.

Provide a healthy diet

Feeding your cat a healthy diet that contains fiber can help reduce the occurrence of hairballs.

Give your cat hairball remedies

There are a variety of hairball remedies available, such as flavored gels or treats that help lubricate the digestive system and aid in the passage of hair.

Increase your cat's water intake

Encourage your cat to drink more water, as it helps to keep its digestive system hydrated and can aid in the passage of hair.

Provide opportunities for exercise

Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety in cats, which can contribute to excessive grooming and hairball formation.

Olive Oil

Pour half a tablespoon of olive oil over the first meal of the day. Adding oil to a cat's diet helps lubricate the digestive tract and makes it easier for the coat to pass naturally.

Eat less and more often to speed up evacuation

Adding probiotics to a cat's diet helps lubricate the digestive tract and promote elimination.










You can also put a small amount of Vaseline on your cat's paws. They will lick it off and the jelly will line the digestive tract and help the hair to pass through their system.



Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!