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.
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!