Some say that the noise of a cat throwing up over a pricey carpet is the most effective alarm clock ever. It can be scary to see your cat throw up, especially if it’s due to something unusual it ate or it’s just a hairball. Even though cats and hairballs might as well be the same thing, a cat that has them constantly is not typical and might be a warning sign of a more serious problem. 

Reasons Why You’re Cats Are Choking on Their Hair

We were just discussing the peculiarity of the cat’s tongue, including its highly developed pinned keratin barbs or papillae, which were discovered not too long ago. Your cat’s tongue does more than just clean and grooms her fur by brushing and removing dead hair; it also scoops and transitions mucus onto her fur for these purposes.

This tuft of cat fur doesn’t get tossed out with the trash; rather, it’s ingested by your feline friend. Cats are proficient at consuming and eradicating foreign objects, so you can expect to find clumps of dead hair in the litterbox. However, after a seasonal shed, there may be significantly more than usual. When the fur doesn’t pass through the cat chute, it gets tangled up and mats in the cat’s stomach. Because it wouldn’t survive in that environment, you have to vomit it back up (hopefully not onto that expensive carpet). 

Do Cats Frequently Suffer From Hairballs?

Long-haired cats and short-haired cats, in addition to cats who preen for various reasons, highlight the diversity among felines. Cats that groom excessively due to boredom, stress, or allergies are more likely to vomit up a hairball. The frequency with which cats experience hairballs will vary greatly due to breed, biology, lifestyle, and other factors. Some veterinarians say it’s normal for cats to have one or two hairballs a month, while others say that number shouldn’t exceed two in a year. 

How Often Do Hairballs Become a Problem?

Hairballs are more oval than ball-shaped due to the shape of the esophagus, so if you notice that your cat’s hairballs are full of partially digested food, or if she seems to be in poor health overall, or if you’re worried about her condition and the regularity of her hairballs, you should take her to the vet. The absence of a hairball when vomiting, or the presence of other symptoms like loss of appetite, gastrointestinal suffering like constipation or diarrhoea, or general lethargy, suggest a more serious issue. 

Hairballs can occur when a cat eats too much fur, or they can be a symptom of a more serious condition that prevents the cat’s body from digesting the fur normally, both of which can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. The fur may be creating an obstruction, which might have decided to move from the tummy to the gastrointestinal system (which is risky), or it might be outlining a more severe issue when hairballs are not transferred ordinarily or when your cat’s continual projectile vomiting doesn’t generate a clump of hair in 24 hours. Your veterinarian will need to examine your cat and run tests to rule out conditions like bowel inflammation, pancreatitis, liver disease, and kidney disease. Never assume that a problem that you can’t see will go away on its own; instead, consult your vet. 

The Signs Your Cat Has a Hairball 

Sometimes it’s upsetting to hear and see your cat purge a hairball. Huffing, gagging, and retching are all common reactions to a hairball. Eventually, your cat will probably throw up the hairball. Be sure to consult your vet if you observe any of the succeeding hairball symptomatology, as they may indicate a serious blockage caused by a hairball: 

  • Inability to produce a hairball despite persistent puking, barfing, retching, or hacking 
  • Absence of hunger 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Constipation 
  • Diarrhea 

Reasonable Worry 

Upchucking a hairball each week or 2 is completely normal behaviour for cats. But if your cat has been listless and uninterested in food for any more than a day, or if it’s replicated bouts of ineffective vomiting, you should get in touch with your vet right away. 

Rather than being rehashed, a hairball may have made its way from her abdomen into her small bowel, where it is causing a potentially fatal blockage. It’s also possible that hairballs aren’t to blame for the constant coughing. Alternatively, it could indicate that the cat has a significant breathing condition like asthma, in which instance immediate medical attention is required. 

A legacy of the animal’s hairball reiteration trend, as well as a physical examination, bloodwork, and radiography, can help determine if the animal has an intestinal blockage. The only method for getting rid of the fur ball if there’s an obstruction is to have surgery. In most cases, doctors will recommend a course of primary care lasting a few days, during which time they will administer injectable fluid replacement and a laxative to help transport the fur ball through the gastrointestinal tract while safeguarding the large bowel. 

The Treatment of Hairballs 

The obvious cause of your cat having more hairballs at the major seasonal change is the massive shedding from a winter jacket to summer coat. By grooming your cat frequently, you can lessen the amount of hair she swallows. And if your feline friend is a “bored groomer,” you can help her out by providing her with some cat toys and other interesting things to do. Put a dab of petroleum jelly on your cat’s shoulder and let it lick it off, say some pet owners. Animal studies have shown that applying petroleum jelly (or vegetable oils) to a cat’s fur before feeding can facilitate the hair’s smooth passage through the digestive tract, reducing the frequency and severity of hairballs. 

Safer Practices 

We suggest the following to reduce the risk of fur balls and the complications they can cause: 

  • Brush and comb your cat regularly from a young age. 
  • Consider taking her to the vet or a good groomer maybe once twice annually for a trim, or as often as necessary if she resists. This works wonders for long-haired pets. 
  • Hairball remedies, typically a gentle petroleum-based colon cleanser, should be given to her once or twice weekly. 
  • She also suggests not leaving any objects lying around the house that a cat could swallow and turn into a potentially lethal hairball.