Hairballs are a common problem with cats and knowing how to avoid hairballs can make your and your cat’s life more pleasant. As the name suggests, hairballs are a combination of cat fur and digestive juices from your cat’s gut.

Usually, fur your cat swallows get passed out the gastrointestinal tract in feces. However, if your cat consumes large amounts of fur, your cat might frequently vomit or cough up disgusting hairballs.

Contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t bring up hairballs very often. It is also possible to take steps to prevent your pet cat vomiting up balls of hair.

In this article, you will learn some simple steps that you can take to help your cat avoid hairballs.

Symptoms of hairballs

The medical name for hairballs is trichobezoars. Of course, bringing up hairballs is the most obvious sign that your cat suffers from hairballs. However, there are some other signs that your cat may have hairballs. Some of these include:

  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting up food or mucus
  • Constipation

If you notice any of these symptoms and your cat frequently get hairballs, you should arrange for a visit to your local veterinary clinic.

How to avoid hairballs in cats

Here are some ways that you can reduce the frequency your cat coughs up hairballs.

1. Grooming

One of the best ways to avoid an accumulation of fur in your cat’s gut is to regularly groom your cat. Regular brushing helps to remove loose fur and limit the amount your cat ingests. This is especially important if you have a long-haired breed of cat.

2. Diet

One way to help avoid hairballs in cats is to make sure that he/she gets enough fiber in the diet. Your local vet may give advice on the best kind of dry kibble that can be used in a “hairball” diet. The Journal of Nutritional Science reported that fiber can help to prevent hairball formation in cats.[1]

3. Cat grass

Letting your furry feline friend snack on cat grass is another way to prevent hairballs forming because it increases fiber in the diet.

4. Hydration

A healthy digestive system needs good hydration and it’s important to provide your cat with enough water to stay hydrated.

If hairballs persist

If you frequently find hairballs more than once a month, you may need to get your cat’s health checked out. Your local vet can check to see how the digestive system is working, take blood tests, and fecal exams.

Medical Sources:
1. J Nutr Sci. 2014; 3: e20.