Why Is Your Cat Vomiting Hairballs?

Cat vomiting may be caused by a number of factors and most commonly by hairballs. Hairballs are formed in a cat’s stomach, as the cat ingests hair while grooming. The accumulated hairball will be eventually coughed up or vomited, as hair cannot be properly digested.

Cat Hairballs

Cats like to groom themselves, maintaining their skin and fur clean in this manner.

Cats lick themselves while grooming; the tongue of the cat has a rough surface that will pull out hairs and the cat will also ingest hairs that are loose. Cat hair cannot be properly assimilated and it will gather in the dog’s stomach. The hair may also accumulate other food residues that are difficult to digest and when the hairball is big enough, this will create stomach uneasiness; the hair will tickle the stomach lining and the cat is likely to vomit or cough up the hairball. When the cat eliminates the hairball, he will make a lot of noise, you would think he is choking.

In a worse scenario, the cat may get constipated and unable to eliminate feces; surgery may be needed in this case.

Prevent Accumulation of Hairballs

Hairballs can be dangerous for the cat’s life; a hairball can cause occlusion or severe constipation. Even if the cat vomits the hairball, this is not pleasant for him.

There are a few ways to prevent the accumulation of hairballs:

  • A diet rich in fibers can promote the digestion of hair; hair is coarse and is very difficult to digest; with the right amounts of fibers, hair can be assimilated and it will not accumulate in the cat’s stomach; canned pumpkin is rich in fibers and may be fed to your cat
  • Fat emulsifiers such as soy lecithin facilitate digestion
  • Wet food can facilitate the elimination of hairballs; dry food for cats has a lot of advantages, so you may opt for this; however, get wet food once per week to get rid of the hair in the cat’s stomach
  • Commercial hairball remedies such as gels or granules will also facilitate the digestion of hair
  • Grass; cats often eat grass to induce the vomiting of hairballs. Grow your own grass, as your cat may be tempted to eat grass from other sources and the grass may contain toxic pesticides or fertilizers
  • Butter may also be administrated, facilitating the elimination of hair; don’t give more than half a tablespoon of butter at a time, as more butter may cause severe diarrhea.
  • Regular brushing can help eliminating the loose hairs, so the cat won’t ingest as much hair; a thorough brushing should be a daily routine; use suitable grooming tools.
  • Omega 3 fatty acid rich food or supplements improve the quality of the cat’s hair and skin and reduces hair shedding.

In case your cat has frequent hairball issues, you should talk to your vet about a hairball formula food; you may find hairball formula food in pet stores.