Hairballs are simply part of a cat’s life.  You may have noticed your cat would spend around 1/3 of their time awake “doing their hair”.  It’s definitely not vanity – what they are doing is pulling off loose hair with their tongue which is a bit like a micro grater!

Mostly the hair just comes out the other end, but if it doesn’t go out the back, then it needs to come up the front – that’s what we call a hair ball or fur ball.  It’s just a bunch of hair missed with mucous.  It’s tube shaped because it has to fit through the narrow esophagus on the way out.  Yup pretty revolting, but very normal for a cat.

As you would expect, long hair cats such as Persians and Maine Coons are more prone to hair balls.  This is because they shed more, and then tend to swallow a lot of hair.

It does help if you brush your cat regularly.  Most important though, if your cat coughs and doesn’t produce a hair ball it could be a sign of something more sinister – like a hairball blockage or a health problem ranging from asthma to heartworm disease.

So if your cat’s cough is unproductive for more than a few days, off to the vet right away!

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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