Hairballs are common and easily recognized by most cat owners. Occasional hairballs are nothing of concern, but there are some times when hairballs become a medical concern and this article intends to address that. Please don’t read so much into this that you go rushing your cat to the vet the next time she hacks up a hairball, like I stated already, occasional hairballs are normal. If you are questioning how often is occasional you should probably keep a log of how often this is happening and then ask your vet.
If your cat is hacking repetitively for more than one day, you notice diarrhea or constipation or your cat has frequent hairballs it's probably time for a vet visit. Sometimes nature doesn’t work perfectly and a hairball can get stuck in your cats’ esophagus or may cause a blockage of the intestines. This is very rare though, so once again don’t be too alarmed. If any gastrointestinal symptoms other than the vomiting up of the hairball occur it is wise to see a vet. Some symptoms would be loss of appetite, tender belly, vomiting of food, diarrhea or constipation. Occasionally frequent hairballs may be a sign of an underlying problem like irritable bowel syndrome.
Naturally, long-haired cats are more prone to hairballs and some cats get a little OCD about grooming. To help with this, brush your cat once a day or more, if necessary. If hairballs are a problem you may want to try a food that helps control hairballs. There are also lubricants available most anywhere that sells pet supplies. These remedies should help with the regular hairballs, but if it is frequent I recommend calling your vet. Oh and wearing socks to bed because stepping out of bed in the morning onto a hairball with your bare feet is unpleasant.