Hairballs, while quite unpleasant, can be fairly common in cats. As cats grow, they learn how to more effectively groom themselves. While this is great for their overall cleanliness, they can also begin producing hairballs.

What Causes Hairballs?

Cats have little hook-like structures on their tongues. These “hooks” catch the loose fur as cats groom. Unfortunately, they tend to swallow the fur when it gets caught. Most fur will pass through their digestive system without a problem, but sometimes a buildup of fur can cause them to cough up a hairball. Long-haired cats, like Maine Coons and Persians, are most likely to get hairballs.

Are Hairballs Bad?

While they are gross, they are not necessarily bad! However, make sure you pay close attention to your kitty when he is coughing up a hairball. If you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to take him to our animal hospital immediately:

  • Ongoing retching or vomiting without a hairball exiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Lethargy

How Can I Prevent Hairballs?

You can prevent hairballs in several ways! Make sure to brush your cat regularly. This will ensure the loose fur gets caught on a brush and not in his stomach. You can also find special hairball food that improves the health of your kitty’s coat and will make it less likely for him to shed.

Bring Your Cat to West Ballantyne Animal Hospital

If you suspect the hairballs may be harming your cat, or if you would like more advice on how to prevent hairballs, come see us today! We can’t wait to get your cat feeling playful again.