Cats groom constantly … driven by instinct

to preserve and care for their fur. Not only is their fur beautiful, a well maintained coat actually enhances good health.

Fur protects their skin from injury, sunburn and warms them when it’s cold. Their saliva cools them when it’s warm and also has antiseptic properties.

How cat hairballs are formedbarbs in the middle of a cat’s tongue

Your cat’s tongue is equipped with hundreds of tiny barbs designed to snag dead and loose fur, when your cat grooms. When your cat’s tongue is coated with hair, the only thing it can do is swallow it.

Hopefully, most of the swallowed fur will simply pass through your cat’s digestive system and be eliminated in his stools (poop).

But once in the stomach, those hairs, which are not easily digested …

can start sticking to other stomach contents such as saliva, undigested food, and gastric juices

… and the hairball is born.

Like rolling snowballs, cat hairballs grow larger. They then begin to irritate your cat’s stomach – which usually triggers vomiting.

When your cat is trying to rid itself of a hairball he or she will probably have your attention – with coughing, gagging, retching, and other happy sounds associated with throwing up.

Should your cat not be able to rid itself of the hairball by vomiting or leaving it in the litter box, he or she could be in real trouble. Felines can choke on hairballs and – in severe cases – surgery can be required to clear a hairball blockage.

Symptoms of a stubborn, stuck hairball include:

… loss of appetite or
… eating only small amounts at a time
… weight loss
… depression
… loss of energy

Your cat might regurgitate (throw up) undigested food.

Health problems can cause a cat to lose large amounts of hair

Excessive hair loss in cats can be a symptom of poor health. As a rule, feline hair loss should not be patchy, but fairly uniform. If parasites or allergies are making your cat itchy he or she will scratch, lick and swallow more hair. Skin disease or a poor diet can cause hair loss. Give your cat the best cat food you can afford.

Stress can cause a cat to over groom, and lifestyle … older and overweight cats who aren’t very active can spend more time grooming.

Vomiting the occasional hairball is considered normal for cats but reoccurring vomiting is not. If you have concerns, contact your vet.

Ask vets online at

Cat hairballs don’t actually look like balls …

but are tubular or sausage shaped, and can easily be confused with poop.


A green tip for removing hairball stains from carpets

Pour some club soda on the stain and leave it on for a minute or two. Gently blot with a paper towel or cloth and then let the carpet dry. This treatment works best with fresh stains. Sometimes a second application is needed. It’s the only thing I use.

Avoid feeding your cat brightly colored food !

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