Hairballs are annoying lumps of hair that cats vomit up after swallowing loose hair while grooming. This is common as a cat’s tongue has a rough surface that loose hair and fur is easily caught on. Hairballs are usually quite harmless, however if hair remains in the stomach for a long time it can harden into a dense mass that can irritate the stomach or block the digestive track. Hairballs are especially common in older cats who tend to groom themselves more often as they age.
To prevent or limit hairballs, brush your cat frequently to remove loose fur. Hairballs are more likely to develop in longhaired breeds such as Persians and Maine coons. They are also more common in cats that shed a lot or who groom themselves compulsively.
- vomiting of thin tube-like masses
- poor appetite
Combing or brushing your cat on a daily basis is an effective way to minimize hairballs.