Cat Coughing Up Hairball: What Can Be The Underlying Reasons?

Cat Coughing Up Hairball

While cat coughing up hairball seems so scary, it actually means their grooming skill is good. But, yes, undeniable confusion about how you should help your cat makes you feel sad sometimes. It’s okay to feel that. Related to hairball, there are actually several reasons underlying the situation. Coughing sound, as well as choking and retching, are indeed a sign of it trying to cough up a hairball. However, there are many other reasons causing that to happen. Check the explanation below, and compare to what your cat’s experience.

Size of hairball

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Hairballs are made because of your cat’s licking habit. You know, there’s that kind of hook your cat has on its tongue. That hooks the licked hair, and as cat cannot spit, it swallows the hair instead. Hairballs can vary in size. Small hairballs can be taken ejected out pretty easily, while the big ones (even in size of a dead mouse!) need surgery. Usually, there are preliminary symptoms before cat coughing up hairball.



In general, cough, choke, and retch are three sounds your feline friend will make while trying to ‘spitting’ a hairball. But there’s nothing like, specific symptom that you can notice directly as an effort of hairball ejection.

Here are some points you may need to know:

  • If your cat profusely coughs like, only once or twice a month, it is nothing to worry about, especially if there’s no vomiting following the case. That can be your cat cough up hairball or occasional coughs.
  • If your cat profusely coughs more often than that, and followed by vomiting with remnants of its food, chances are there’s something like mass inside its stomach. Probably a big hairball too.
  • If your cat profusely coughs often, there’s also vomiting occasionally, but there are no hairballs associated with this case: this is an alert. You should go your pet to a vet since profuse coughing can be related to more serious conditions, such as feline asthma, feline heartworms, heart disease, or lung problems.


What your vet may do?

No, it’s not a direct appointment for a surgery. Your vet will first do a thorough history taking as well as evaluating your cat’s physical condition. Then, your vet will focus more once they have a certain notable finding. And basically, the earlier you come for a check, the better it is for the cat. Especially if there’s any condition that need emergency help.

There are preventive approaches you can do to help your cat pass that hairball easier, such as giving frequent hair brushing, preparing a wet food, and providing better hydration. But if the cat coughing up hairball still struggles even after those preventive steps, or maybe having other symptoms, that’s better to have a quick visit to your vet.

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