Cat Hairball Causes, Treatment, Prevention & More!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

cat hairballs

Watching a kitty cough up a cat hairball is distressing, but hairballs are completely natural! They’re a result of your cat’s grooming routine. But what exactly causes them? Should you be worried about Mittens vomiting up hairballs? How can you prevent them? Keep reading to find out!

What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

Cat hairballs are a natural result of grooming. When a cat licks their fur to clean themselves, they inevitably swallow some of it. Most of these hairs pass through the gastrointestinal tract, but not all. When they don’t, they come back up, which is why you see your cat vomiting it or coughing them up.

The exact reason why some of the hair comes back up forming hairballs is still not well known. It’s thought that it gets stuck on the GI tract and can’t be digested properly. Some veterinarians say this is due to a lack of fiber in your cat’s diet, but the jury’s still out on this issue.

4 Signs of a Cat Coughing Up a Furball

There are four main symptoms of hairballs. If you see your cat doing one (or more) of the following, they’re probably trying to pass a cat hairball:

  1. Gagging or retching
  2. Vomiting up food, mucus, and hairballs
  3. Constipation
  4. Loss of appetite

What to Do When Your Cat Keeps Throwing Up Hairballs!

More often than not, coughing up hairballs is nothing you should worry about. It may look distressing and like your kitty is hurting, but they’re not. It only becomes a problem if their vomiting is chronic and if they start losing weight.

The best thing for you to do is to keep in eye out for Mittens. See if they are passing more hairballs than usual and if they’re having trouble doing so.

How to Help a Cat Cough Up a Hairball

You can make your cat’s life easier by helping them pass a cat hairball. The best way to do so is by giving them a cat laxative or by mixing some oils or butter into their food. This will lube up the walls of their intestines, which makes it easier for the hairball to slide down.

Treatment: Finding a Cat Hairball Remedy!

cat getting out a hairball

When coughing up cat hairballs becomes a problem, there are ways to control it. A cat hairball remedy, for example, makes passing hairballs much easier. One of the many advantages of these hairball control items is that they stop chronic vomiting caused by hairballs.

Natural Hairball Remedy for Cats!

Before turning to chemical hairball relief products, why not try Mother Nature’s answer to hairballs?

Many veterinarians prescribe a grain-free diet to serial hairball pukers. According to them, cats’ digestive tracts aren’t built to process grains, which can be found in most dry cat food formulas. Thus, feeding them grain-free foods adjusts the flora of their guts. This, in turn, makes it easier to pass a cat hairball.

Another hairball treatment remedy you may want to try is mixing a spoonful of olive oil into their food. This will lube up any hairballs and make them more slippery. Thus, they can pass through the gastrointestinal tract easily.

What About Pharmaceutical Cat Hairball Medicine?

If none of these remedies have worked, you can turn to pharmaceutical meds. They’re usually made from greasy products, such as petroleum, and work like a charm on cats with hairballs. Ask your veterinary for a med recommendation and prescription.

How to Prevent Cat Hairballs!

cat being brushed

You can prevent hairballs in cats to save your pet the trouble of gagging and retching uncontrollably. It will save them energy and will cut back on the mess that is coughing up hairballs. It’s a win-win!

Groom That Long-Haired Cat!

Brushing your cat reduces the number of hairballs formed in the first place. As you get rid of excess hair, there is less hair for Mittens to swallow up when they do their daily grooming.

Both long-haired and short-haired cats should be groomed regularly. After all, consistent brushing and grooming lead to healthy skin, healthy fur coat, and less shedding. It’s really not that hard to do, especially when you follow CertaPet’s grooming 101 tips and tricks!

Fight the Cat Hair Ball by Investing in Some Cat Hairball Food or Treats

Good news: you can prevent cat hairball problems with yummy cat food and treats! It’s surprising, but tweaking your kitty’s diet has drastic effects on hairballs.

Delicious Temptations Hair Control Treats!

The Temptations Hairball Control Chicken Treats are an affordable way to cut back on hairballs. Because they’re packed with fiber, they promote good gut health. This makes passing a hairball much easier. And, since they’re crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, no cat can resist them.

Temptations Hairball Control Chicken Flavor Cat Treats
These popular cat treats do more than just taste great, they help support a healthy cat. Prevent hairballs with these tasty treats that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. With their scrumptious chicken flavor they will keep your cat phlegm-free and wanting more!
Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

Iams Hairball Control Dry Food

Iams ProActive Dry Cat Food is a well-rounded nutritionally complete meal that also takes care of hairballs. It’s full of nutrients and vitamins your furry friend needs and super filling. Thus, it helps maintain a healthy weight. Plus, because of the added fiber, you can say goodbye to cat hairball problems.

Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
Easily digested Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care is formulated to meet the unique needs of indoor cats. It's made with 10% less fat than Original formulas. Fewer calories in combination with fat-burning L-Carnitine, and a special blend of carbohydrates that keep pets feeling full, enables heavy cats to gradually return to a healthier weight. Whole grains, beets and rice support a healthy digestive system, and help reduce hairballs and litter-box odors.
Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

Feline Greenies Hairball Control Treats!

The next time you want to reward your kitten for good behavior, give them a Greenies SmartBites Hairball Control treat. Its crunchy exterior and moist meaty interior are irresistible. And while Mittens doesn’t know it, these treats help prevent hairballs in cats.

Greenies Feline SmartBites Hairball Control Chicken Flavor Cat Treats
Reward your favorite feline with a great-tasting snack that delivers essential health benefits when you give her Greenies Feline SmartBites Hairball Control Chicken Flavor Cat Treats. These delicious, dual-textured treats contain natural ingredients along with a proprietary Fiberblend formula of plant-based fiber that helps minimize hairball formation and promote healthy digestion. Chicken meal is the first ingredient for real chicken protein that promotes healthy metabolism and enhances the taste for a purr-fectly delectable flavor she won’t be able to resist.
Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Buy on Chewy!

Keep an Eye on Your Kitty and Don’t Let Those Hairballs Get Out of Control!

While a cat hairball is a natural thing, it is possible for things to get out of hand. If too many hairballs are ingested, your kitty could become constipated, as more balls of hair get stuck in their GI tract.

It’s also important to point out that what you think is a hairball could actually be a more serious issue. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, for example, displays many of the same symptoms as hairballs!

So, it’s important to keep an eye out. If you find Mittens vomiting more than usual or not going to the bathroom often enough, it may be best to see a vet.


Common Questions on Cat Hairballs

Should I be concerned that my cat is coughing hairballs?

How to stop cats from coughing up hairballs?

Are hairballs dangerous?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.