What To Do If Your Cat Is Having Hairballs

It may seem like a common nuisance for a cat to have hairballs, but coughing up a hairball is actually a warning sign. If your cat has thrown up a hairball, they could be at risk of a secondary problem that's far more dangerous. Read on to learn more about this and what you can do to prevent your cat's health from being in danger.

Monitor For Pica

Oftentimes cats will experience hairballs simply from grooming themselves and ingesting too much fur. However, that's not the only potential cause of hairballs. Cats can develop hairballs if they have pica, a disorder which leads them to try and eat things that aren't food. Cats with pica often scoop up hair they find and eat it, which can later turn into a mass in the stomach that's vomited up as a hairball.

If your cat is throwing up hairballs, make sure to watch your cat to ensure that it isn't picking things up and eating them. If you notice your cat trying to eat anything that's not edible, talk to a vet for assistance.

Make Sure Your Cat Is Defecating

When a cat throws up a hairball, that indicates that a blockage has developed in the digestive system. The hairball is your cat's way of trying to clear that blockage. Unfortunately, sometimes the hairball won't remove everything from the system, or a part of the hair will tear off and remain in the body while the rest is ejected. In severe cases, cats can end up completely unable to defecate due to a blockage in their intestines. If they can't use the litter box, they can become extremely ill or even die. Make sure to check the litter box and monitor your cat to be sure that they're pooping after a hairball. If you can't find evidence of them doing so within a day, get to a vet immediately.

Feed Petroleum Jelly or Hairball Treats

Lastly, consider giving your pet hairball treats or petroleum jelly following a hairball. If there's any hair remaining in the intestines, these products can help it to pass. Most cat hairball treats contain petroleum jelly, which essentially acts as a lubricant to help push the hair out of the body. Following the administering of petroleum jelly or a hairball treat, your cat may vomit up another hairball. Don't be alarmed. In some instances, lubricating the hair may cause it to come up the other way, rather than passing through the intestines and out into the litter box. The important thing is getting it out of your cat.

Hairballs can be dangerous for a cat, so if your cat is regularly experiencing them, consider professional grooming. If that doesn't reduce the amount of hairballs your cat has, visit a veterinarian to determine if there's something going on with your cat's intestines that's causing the hairballs. Talk with pet grooming specialists for more information.