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HomeTrendingWhat Do Hairballs Look Like From Cats

What Do Hairballs Look Like From Cats

The Danger Of Hairballs

Cat Hairballs Vomits Looks Like? What You Should Do!

A large clump of ingested hair can block a cat’s intestinal tract and pose a deadly threat. Here’s how to prevent them.

Every so often, your otherwise fastidious cat will do an alarming and somewhat disgusting thing. Shell awake from a peaceful nap, rise up on her paws, retch convulsively for a moment or two, and spit up what may appear at first glance to be a damp clump. What the animal has disgorged in the middle of your kitchen floor or, worse yet, in the middle of your prized Persian rug is a trichobezoar, a wad of undigested hair that is commonly referred to as a hairball.

Despite the term, disgorged hairballs are not usually round. They are often slender and cylindrical, shaped more like a cigar or sausage than a ball. According to Richard Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, a spit-up hairballs elongated shape is imparted by the narrow food tube in which it develops or through which it passes on its journey from the cats stomach to the outside world. However, he notes, a hairball that is not disgorged and remains in the stomach will indeed be round like a sponge or a rolled-up sock, he says.

How Do You Manage Hairballs In Cats


You love your cat, there’s no doubt about that. But hairballs in cats? Not so much. Take some comfort in the fact that you’re not alone in your fight against dreaded cat hairballs. In fact, a Hill’s study showed the top conditionreported by 35 percent of cat parentswas hairballs. Here are some answers on how to reduce those cringe-worthy piles of hair.

How Can I Help Prevent My Cat From Getting Hairballs

If you have a hairball-prone cat, you must groom your cat frequently, preferably every day.

There are some great tools out there. I can personally recommend the FURminator line of products. The FURminator does not remove living hair it only catches and drags out already shed hair that is collecting on your cat. You will be astonished at how much loose, dead hair this product removes.

I have personally only used the product intended for shorthaired animals, but FURminator also makes a product designed for longhaired cats, too. You can purchase the FURminator for LongHaired Cats here, or the FURminator for ShortHaired Cats here.

Youll probably want an everyday kind of brush, too. Many cats enjoy the attention and pleasure of being gently brushed. This inexpensive slicker brush by HATELI is self-cleaning and very easy on skin and fur.

Slicker brushes with plain pins are really effective at removing loose hair and knots on longhaired cats, especially. I think every longhaired cat owner should try this type. I wasnt convinced until I did at how easily the plain pins make their way through tangles. This one by Burts Bees is made in the USA and made of eco-friendly materials.

Burts Bees makes a nice two-sided comb, too, which is also good for detangling longhaired cats.

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Can A Dog Get A Hairball Stuck In Its Throat

Although hairballs are most commonly found in cats, dogs may also be affected by these pesky things. If your dog tends to groom his hair often, it is likely he is swallowing decent amounts of hair. While most of this hair will pass through the digestive system, some of it may get stuck in his throat or stomach.

What Are Cat Hairballs

Please Help! Is This A Cat Hairball?

Cat dander is not the same thing as dandruff, which appears as white flakes of skin in your cats coat.

A cat hairball is one of those things that is exactly what it sounds like: a ball of hair, originating from a cat. The scientific name for hairballs is trichobezoar.

Hairballs occur when cats ingest their own hair while grooming themselves. Although hair should normally pass through the cats digestive tract , sometimes hair remains inside the stomach.

This is due to either an excessive intake of hair or a decreased ability of the stomach and intestines to propel material through to the colon. Healthy cats do not vomit hairballs regularly.

Since hair cannot be digested, any hair that doesnt pass out of the stomach and into the intestines balls up inside the stomach, where it remains until it is vomited up. If the cat does not expel a large hairball , it can cause a potentially life-threatening obstruction of the intestinal tract.

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Cat Hairball Or Feline Asthma

Cats suffering from an asthma attack will wheeze, which can look and sound very similar to the coughing and gagging sounds a cat makes when attempting to bring up a hairball. Diagnosis of asthma is often delayed by a cat owner thinking that an asthmatic cough is just a hairball.

It can be difficult to distinguish between a cat that is coughing and a cat that is vomiting up a hairball. During an asthma attack, a cat will often hunch down very low to the floor and stretch her head and neck out as she attempts to suck in more air.

If your cat is having regular episodes of coughing or vomiting, the best plan is to have her checked by your veterinarian. Finding the underlying cause for these symptoms will help your veterinarian find the best strategy to keep your kitty as comfortable as possible.

Diagnosis Of Hairballs In Cats

You may notice your cat is coughing up hairballs when you find vomit with pieces of hair, food, and fluid in it. Loss of appetite, lethargy, and frequent vomiting are signs of a potential intestinal blockage and must be treated immediately.

The symptoms could be signs of another condition, so your veterinarian will perform a physical exam to confirm the hairball. Expect to answer questions about the cats medical history and how often they cough up hairballs. Your veterinarian may also order blood tests and radiographs to check for an intestinal blockage in your cat.

It is vital to take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as you notice the symptoms. Your veterinarian needs to check for a blockage or an obstruction of the intestinal tract. The intestinal blockage needs to be treated immediately, or this condition could be fatal for your cat.

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How Do I Know If My Cat Has A Hairball Blockage

While a hairball blockage is uncommon, it can be fatal, so its important to recognize the signs:

  • Unproductive retching

If your cat exhibits all of these symptoms, its a good idea to bring them to your vet for an exam. They may be unrelated to hairballs however, the same symptoms can also indicate gastrointestinal or respiratory problems.

Hairball Treatment For Cats

Cat Hairball Cough

When your cat has hairballs, its common to wonder what treatments are available. There are lots of home remedies online, especially for oils and lubricants. However, we dont advise trying these.

You can buy a specialist cat hairball treatment paste that contains a laxative and lubricant to help them pass through the digestive system. But this is not generally needed. If you do use it, follow the instructions to the letter.

One particularly effective treatment is hairball cat food. These kibble-based products contain lots of fibre to help take excess fur through the digestive system. They also contain vitamins and minerals to keep your cats fur in good condition and reduce hair loss.

Finally, vets can prescribe treatments for hairballs in severe cases.

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What Do Cat Hairballs Look Like

You probably know one when you see one, but to be clear, hairballs are thick mats of hair that are usually tubular in formnot shaped like a ball, despite the nameand are covered in a slippery or slimy substance . The more-oval shape comes from passing through the esophagus. Hairballs can be as small as an inch or up to a few inches or more in size.

How Cbd Oil May Help With Cat Hairballs

Looking for a natural hairball remedy for cats? While it may not be the best idea for getting rid of the hairball itself, CBD oil may help prevent the causes of hairballs.

CBD oil eases anxiety in cats that may make them groom excessively or have digestive issues. This takes care of the stress angle.

It may also alleviate skin conditions and allergies that may make cats excessively groom, striking at another cause of hairballs.

CBD oil promotes good digestion, so it could help foster the healthy environment in your cat’s stomach that can help it pass a hairball as it should. If you’re struggling to find a safe and effective way to manage your cat’s ongoing hairball problem, speak to your vet about whether CBD oil may be the best answer. It is a gentle way to address a wide range of hard-to-manage issues like anxiety, skin conditions, and digestive problems. Where a medication may be too harsh or simply not work, CBD oil may save the day.

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, can be extracted from marijuana or hemp, but many of them come from hemp because it is naturally high in cannabidiol and contains virtually no THC. This way one can get the health benefits without the psychoactive and unstable elements that THC causes.

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Why Is My Cat Having Trouble Going To The Bathroom

These hairballs have gotten so big that your cat is having issues going to the bathroom. They may also be causing your cat to pass extremely hard fecal material. If you think that your cat may have hairballs, it would be best to check your cats litter box to see if they are passing hair in the feces or having any other issues with their poop.

What Does A Normal Hairball Look Like

@dokterhewanku: Berbahayakah bila kucing sampai memuntahkan hairball?

Your typical hairball will be both slimy and coarse, made up of hair and slick, mucousy stuff. They’ll be kind of limp but will mostly want to retain their cylindrical shape, as opposed to vomit which will lean more toward shapelessness or liquidity or taking the shape of their food, if it has been barely processed.

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Why Does My Dog Gag Like He Has A Hairball

There may be many reasons why your dog gags like he has a hairball. Here are some of those reasons: Although cats are more often linked with hairballs, dogs do acquire them as well, but not as regularly. When your dog eats fur, the hair does not move through the digestive system easily and collects, resulting in a hairball.

Other Options For Hairball

Your vet may recommend a gentle lubricant like Laxatone, a tuna-flavored petroleum product, to coat the hair and allow it to pass. You place a half to a full teaspoon of this product on your cats paw or nose with the hope that shell lick the flavorful paste off. You may have to give this product to your cat every day for two to three days in a row, and then taper to a quarter- to a half-teaspoon two to three times per week.

You can also consider adding a tiny bit of fish oil, corn oil, or olive oil to your cats wet food to help ease the way for hair in the digestive tract. Ask your vet before trying this solution.

There are also commercial cat foods on the market that claim to prevent hairballs, including Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Dry Cat Food, Royal Canin Hairball Care, Purina ONE Hairball Formula Adult Dry Cat Food. These are high-fiber formulas supposedly designed to encourage hair to pass through the digestive tract. Do they work?

There was a small, short study involving 21 long- and shorthaired cats that was designed to answer the question as to whether adding fiber helped cats poop out their hairballs. The cats were first fed a low-fiber diet, and then were slowly transitioned to either a medium-fiber or a high-fiber diet.

Are these special diets worth a try if your cat is really suffering from chronic hairballs and youve done everything you can to groom away her loose fur? Only you and your veterinarian can decide that together.

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Can A Cat Die From A Hairball

That’s a grim headline, but 320 people ask every month, so it needs to be answered. Most of the time, hairballs are just unpleasant for you and the cat. The dangers of hairballs range from the hairball being a symptom of another health problem, impairing the cat’s digestive health, or causing a medical emergency that could cause death.

So, most hairballs fit into the annoying thing you may have to experience when living with a cat category, but they do pose risks, particularly as the number of hairballs increases.

What Causes Trichobezoars

Dog & Cat Diseases : Cat Hairball Symptoms

Cats are constantly ingesting small amounts of hair as they groom themselves. This hair cannot be digested, due to the presence of keratin therefore, it usually passes through the intestines and leaves the body in the feces. In some situations, however, hair may become tangled on itself or another object within the stomach or intestines. This can result in the tangled mass of hair becoming too large to pass in the feces, resulting in a hairball, or trichobezoar.

“Trichobezoars are more common in cats with underlying gastrointestinal disease.”

Once a hairball forms, there are two possible outcomes. Many cats simply vomit up the hairball, leaving you to discover it on your floor, and continue on with their normal lives. In some cases, however, this hairball may become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to an obstruction.

Trichobezoars are more common in cats with underlying gastrointestinal disease. These cats may have altered gastrointestinal motility that limits the movement of hair through the digestive tract. Additionally, cats with allergies or other types of skin disease may be more prone to trichobezoars, due to more vigorous licking at their skin and coat.

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What Is A Cat Hairball

Before getting into what a hairball looks like, let’s discuss what they are. Cats groom, a lot. They don’t do it with brushes, but with their tongues, tongues with little bristle-like pieces that comb through their fur like a brush. Some of their hairs get into their mouths this way and end up being swallowed.

Their bodies are supposed to pass these hairs right on through their digestive tracts, but when that doesn’t happen, they collect and build a hairball.

How Do Humans Get Hairballs In Their Stomach

Although uncommon in humans, some hairballs have been reported. These hairballs occur when hair strands collect in the stomach and are unable to be ejected as a result of the friction on the surface of the gastric mucosa. Hairballs are often seen in young girls as a result of trichophagia, trichotillomania, and pica.

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What The Heck Are Hairballs Anyway

A hairball is what it sounds like, and if youre a cat owner, youve definitely heard it before. Its the sound of your otherwise dignified cat retching up undigested hair that couldnt pass through its digestive system through the normal route.

You can blame your cats fastidious cleanliness for the mess. As they groom, their spiny tongues catch loose hair, which they then swallow. Hairballs are more common among long-haired breeds, like Persians and Maine Coons, and among older cats who have gotten really good at grooming themselves. The more a cat grooms, the more frequently youll find hairballs. Thats why you rarely see adorable kittens coughing up hairballs. Theyre not as hip on hygiene.

Which Cats Produce More Hairballs

What to do when my cat has an hairball?

Cat hairballs are part of cats instinctive grooming regime and are usually nothing to worry about. Kittens and younger cats usually have fewer hairballs because they are not as fastidious in terms of grooming. Older cats, on the other hand, may have grown fussier and may produce hairballs more often.

Fluffy cats make the perfect companion, but are also predisposed to producing more frequent hairballs. Cats with longer fur, such as Persians and Maine Coons, naturally produce more hairballs as their hair accumulates into a clump faster.

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Reasons Your Cat May Be Dry Heaving

There are a wide variety of reasons your cat may be repeatedly dry heaving, some less serious than others. Here are two of the most common reasons and a list of other, more serious, potential causes for dry heaving in your cat.

Dry heaving, in particular, can be a relatively generic symptom. It is associated with a wide range of conditions and diseases.

When To Visit The Veterinarian

Hairballs are a common and normal occurrence in cats, but they shouldnt happen more than once every week or so. If your cat is having frequent hairballs despite providing appropriate preventive care, it may be time to see your veterinarian.

Frequent hairballs can be an early sign that your cat is over-grooming, which can occur due to anxiety, pain, stress, itching, or certain skin conditions. It is especially important to visit your veterinarian if your cats hairballs are accompanied by any other symptoms, such as a loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, or a change in behavior.

These symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an intestinal obstruction, and should be addressed immediately. Similarly, if your cat is vomiting substances other than hair, its time for a trip to the vet to get to the bottom of the problem.

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Can Hairballs Be Dangerous

Pictured: Bug the cat had hairballs often. After completing AnimalBiome’s supplements, his loving human reported that he occasionally has a hairball, but nothing like before.

If a hairball gets stuck somewhere in the digestive tract, the resulting blockage can be life-threatening. Gastrointestinal blockages require prompt surgical intervention, so if your cat has any of these symptoms of a possible blockage, see your veterinarian immediately:

  • repeated unproductive retching

Pictured: Bug’s four inch size hairball that needed to be surgically removed by his veterinarian.


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