ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Cats & Cat Breeds

Why Do Cats Cough Up Hair Balls?

Updated on December 17, 2009

Many people share their home with cats, and you may have actually thought that you needed to give your cat the ‘Heimlich’ maneuver the first time one starts hacking up a hairball.  If you are a first time cat owner, you probably had no idea that was going to happen. You might think that the cat is choking to death.  You may have thought that you just barely averted a tragedy when it was all over and the cat was still alive. There is no need to fret because this is a normal occurrence. Below are some tips on how to make this event more tolerable for your cat and yourself.

Unlike dogs, cats groom themselves by constantly licking themselves, top to bottom.  That is why you rarely have to give them baths.  They have tongues that are like sandpaper, and when they lick their fur, it pulls the hair and everything on it into their mouths and stomachs.  Because they do this, they have a lot of undigested hair in their insides, which eventually has to come out.  Not only do they groom themselves, but also in situations involving multiple cats, they may even groom each other.  Needless to say, that is a lot of hair to deal with.

Hairball Remedies

There are a few natural ways you can help to alleviate this problem. One very simple one is to regularly brush your cat’s fur. Some cats don’t like to sit still, be handled, or be held, which may make this difficult. You may have to get creative, and do something like brush them while they eat. Other cats will love the attention and let you brush them for what seems like hours. It may turn into a bonding opportunity between you and your feline friend.

Another way is to purchase the cat food that contains a hairball remedy. Many people have used this product and noticed a slight drop in the number of hairballs to clean up. Some cat treats also boast this formula and you could have similar results with it.

The method that seems to work best for many cat owners is to put some type of digestible oil on the tops of their paws. It doesn’t matter if you use front paws, back, or both; they will lick the oil off almost immediately. They can’t stand the feel of it on their fur, and swallowing it sends it to the stomach where it is used as a coating that makes the fur more digestible. Many people use canola oil but most cooking oils will work.

Cat Grooming Products to Help Prevent Hairballs


Submit a Comment

  • Bailey-1 profile image

    Bailey-1 6 years ago from Ohio

    Thanks for the tips. We just got a cat after a long period of having no pets, and I find I know next to nothing about cat health. The bile colored hairy barf on the carpet is quite disgusting too so Kitty's getting a hairbrush and some oil on his paws.

  • kelsorogers profile image

    kelsorogers 7 years ago

    Nice hub. I found the information on natural remedies very useful. Thanks!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)