Hairballs are a common problem among our feline friends. I say problem, because although they are frequent, they are not necessarily normal.

Since hairballs are of veterinary importance, they are entitled to a scientific name. They are called trichobezoars.

As you know, our feline friends use their tongues to groom themselves. Unlike dogs, they spend many hours licking their coat in order to clean it, or to remove dead hairs and debris that can be found there.

A cat’s tongue, as you have probably already noticed, is very rough. It is covered with a layer of keratinous spines that act a little like a comb. It’s thanks to these little horn-like hooks that cats are able to rid themselves of all these surplus hairs, especially when shedding.

If you are a cat owner, I invite you to continue reading to learn more about preventing and relieving your pet's hairballs. But first, let's try to understand why your cat vomits up hair.



Why does my cat form hairballs?


Ingested hair is normally discharged in the animal’s stools. Therefore, not all cats vomit up hairballs.

On the other hand, when a cat has long hair, as found with Maine Coons or Persians for example, the digestive system can become overloaded with hair. This is why hairballs are formed.


When a cat cleans itself excessively, either during an episode of anxiety or pain, or simply out of boredom, it is subject to forming hairballs. Moreover, a cat that has any gastrointestinal problem can form hairballs because its digestive tract cannot perform the job of evacuation as necessary.

This is why a hairball problem must be brought to the attention of your vet, to make sure that it isn’t hiding a more serious condition. Sometimes, hairballs are not the problem, but actually the symptom, especially among our short-haired companions.

That said, hairballs themselves are easy to detect and prevent in a healthy cat. Read on to learn more about these gooey little gifts.



How do you know if a cat has a hairball?


If your cat vomits hairballs, you will notice a gelatinous cluster of hairs often in a tubular form on your floor, reflective of the shape of the feline digestive system.

Generally, cats will expel a hairball after making sounds that resemble coughing, an impending sign of regurgitation.

Although it is difficult to prove, popular belief is that a cat that eats plants or grass is trying to induce vomiting. This could be a sign that it is trying to cough up a hairball.


How to help a cat cough up a hairball?


Knowing that your cat companion forms hairballs, you have some tools at your disposal to help him cough them up. Here are some tips to help your pussy cat expel his trichobezoars:

Home treatment

A number of laxatives are for sale at the vet. They help lubricate the digestive tract and pass the hairballs through the stool.

Some people recommend administering oils. Personally, I prefer the idea of ​​laxatives because oils are always risky to administer. If the cat inhales the oil, it may develop pneumonia. Additionally, some oils are absorbed by the digestive system so do not provide any help in lubricating it.

Natural hairball product

We have a product for Hairballs. It will help you avoid complications, all from the comfort of your home.

How to prevent hairballs?

Brushing, brushing, brushing

The logic goes without saying! Help your furry friend to get rid of its excess hair with regular brushing. When shedding, or if your cat is long-haired, it is even more important to comb them! In addition, this grooming session will help you forge strong connections with your cat.

High fiber food

A high fiber diet promotes a healthy and effective digestive system, which helps the hairballs to pass more naturally through the stool. In addition, this food will help promote a rich and silky coat, which helps prevent hair loss.

Enrich the environment

A depressed cat will groom itself compulsively. Provide toys to your kitty and play with him, take him outside on a leash. In short, distract him from licking!

Use anti-parasite products

A cat that has fleas will tend to lick excessively to relieve the itching.

Natural product for hairballs

Our natural Hairballs product can be used before having hairballs issues. You want to help your cat getting rid of its hairballs, but you also want to help preventing their formation in the first place.



Your cat coughs but does not vomit a hairball?


In more serious cases, if your cat can’t cough up hairballs, it could develop a blockage. The mass of hair can completely obstruct its digestive system, which often requires surgery to fix.

In case of obstruction, the symptoms to monitor are:

  • Your cat coughs, or tries to vomit, and nothing comes out
  • Your cat manages to vomit, but only small amounts of liquid
  • Anorexia (to be addressed very quickly!)
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Distended abdomen

An untreated obstruction can lead to death. If you have any doubts and think that this may be the case for your kitty cat, you must act quickly and tell your vet.

Moreover, there are other conditions that can cause coughing in your feline friend. A cat that coughs does not necessarily mean that he is trying to cough up a hairball!

  • It could be infected with a virus.
  • It is possible that it has swallowed a foreign body, such as a string.
  • It could suffer from asthma.

Again, a persistent cough must be evaluated by a vet. Respiratory problems are very serious in cats.


In conclusion, hairballs are common, but not insignificant. Many cats will suffer from this unpleasant condition, but now you are well-equipped to help relieve them and prevent possible complications!



Veronique Fournier
Veronique Fournier


Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.

She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.

She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.

2 Responses


February 10, 2023

Thanks Teresa, our customer support has sent you an email to help you further !


February 10, 2023

How I help my cats, specially Simba he have long hair and he soffer with asma. What I can give to him to make him better?

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