Cats Can’t Cough Up Hairball? What Should You Do?

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Have you ever heard the situation that cats can’t cough up hairballs? You may witness for more than one times. Normally, this is a common condition, and most cats experience this at least one time in their life. However, if the condition becomes worse, you should know how to deal with it because it’s quite dangerous to your cats. In this article, I will give you all information about this condition and show you how to prevent and cure it.

What Is Hairball?

Hairball (also known as trichobezoars) is a ball made of cat hair. It is the result of the grooming process when the cats bring large amounts of their hair into the stomach. After a period of time, cats will vomit them out.

Photo credit: Jorden Esser 

Normally, when cats groom themselves, their tongue will catch lots of dead hair or loose hair, then all of them will be swallowed into the digestive system. In fact, hair can’t be digested; instead, most of it passes through the intestine, stomach and other organs belonging to the digestive system. Finally, it will end up in a cat litter box.

On the other hand, the rest hair which is still in the cats’ stomach will be shaped in some forms like a sausage or a ball. After a couple of weeks, cats will vomit it. This action looks like coughing a hairball up. To cat breeds which have long hair like Persians, Maine Coons or Siamese, this is more likely to happen.

Nevertheless, in some situations, because of the excessive amount of hair, cats might vomit hairball severals times a week or a month. This is when you should worry about your feline friends.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Coughing Up Hairball?

Coughing up a hairball is normal, but it’s usually associated with several negative symptoms. Here are some of the most common signs that cat owners often see on their cats when they have problems with hairballs:

Hairballs in cats’ stomach isn’t usually a serious problem in cats. Professional vets can help your little friends easily in many ways. However, in some occasional circumstances, a very big hairball can block their stomach or colon, which might lead to death. In this case, the vets will recommend you to give your cats a surgery so that the big hairball can be eliminated.

How to Prevent Your Cat from Having Hairball in Stomach?

We all know that “Prevention is better than cure!”, and it is always right in every situation. Now, let’s check some solutions to prevent your cats from hairballs as much as you can.

Brushing Your Cats

Brushing your cats regularly is a good way to reduce the amount of hair that they can swallow. As a result, the rate of having a hairball in their stomach will decrease. Besides, if you have trouble with cat fur in your home, brushing can help a lot. What’s more? Brushing also makes the intimacy between you and your feline friends much closer.

Photo credit: Lyudvig Aristarhovich 

You don’t have to spend much time on brushing them, just about 10 minutes because cats groom themselves again anyway. Nevertheless, in case you’re too busy to brush your cats, bring them to an expert groomer so that they can be groomed.

One more thing to know, especially to long-hair cats, you should cut or have their hair cut about twice a year.

Cat Foods

Nowadays, there are several kinds of cat foods that are produced to eliminate hairballs in cats’ stomach. We already introduced you some of these cat foods for hairballs. The common recipe for these is the high rate of fiber, which does not only help your cats remove hairballs easily but also improve their health. This is obviously a great way to prevent hairballs in cats.

On the other hand, it is recommended that pet owners should feed their cats dry foods which are specially made for cats. These foods contain a wide range of essential minerals, and they’re also rich sources of fiber as well. Your cats will be stronger and rarely have any problems with hairballs.

Sometimes, you will see your cats eat grass, and you have nothing to worry about that. They are just trying to provide extra fiber for themselves. In fact, you should feed them more food containing lots of fiber, but try to avoid carbohydrate-rich foods because they’re the cause of overweight.

Extra Activities

There’s another way to stop your cats from keeping clicking and grooming their coat: Giving them much exercise to distract them from taking care of themselves. You can buy toys or wool balls for them to play with, or you can spend time on playing with them. Some extra activities even help your cats more active and stronger.

Using Medications

The most widely used solution here is lubricants for cats’ digestive system. Most of the commercial lubricants nowadays are flavorful, you won’t have any trouble with how to feed your cats. As usual, you still must follow the direction on the label and ask for advice from the vet. In general, the suggestion is still giving your cats a lubricant consecutively within few days, that’s when most of the hairballs are removed. After that, give it to them once a week so that hairballs are completely prevented.

Besides, there’s another cheap way: using petroleum jelly. However, the smell of petroleum jelly can make the cats scared, so it’s pretty difficult to feed them this.

Last but not least, olive oil is also a great choice to lubricate cats’ intestinal tract, allowing stuff to be released easily. But is olive oil completely safe for cats? Check this post to find out!


Cats can’t cough up hairballs? You aren’t the only one who has trouble with it, but your cats also have it, too! In overall, the majority of cats which have hairballs in their stomach can solve by themselves. However, as a cat owner, you should know how to prevent it from the beginning. Of course, the best way is still taking your cats to the vet so that their health can be secured.

Watch out hairballs on your cats! If you have any questions, please leave your comments below. We will answer them as soon as we can. Thank you for reading!

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