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Cat Hairballs: What IS that icky thing and how to stop it?

by Vetic Editorial

If you’ve ever had the joy of being a cat parent, you must have encountered the not-so-joyous surprise of a cat hairball landing right in the middle of your bed. 

The mysterious icky things that seem to appear out of nowhere! Seriously, how do those cute fluffy things create such horrific artwork?

Today, we shall try to unravel the secrets of hairballs, provide facts collected from disgusted cat parents (and research, of course!) and share some hairball purr-ventation tips. 

1. Hairballs in Cats: The Conjuring Out of Thin (H)air

a brown and black striped cat licking their right front paw. the tongue has bristles that catches loose hair and forms cat hairballs in the stomach

Picture this: your precious feline, looking all majestic, gracefully grooming themselves like they’re preparing for a fancy ball. Little do they know, their tongue is THE fur magnet! (Well, they know, but act all innocent.) 

As they groom, the tiny barbs on their tongue catch loose fur. The cat ingests this fur and they begin conferencing and unionising inside their stomach to form the icky things humans refer to as hairballs.

2. Cat Hairball Prevention: Cat-tastic Solutions!

There are ways to prevent these fuzzy clumps from making an appearance. Regular grooming is the name of the game! 

Brush your cat’s fur regularly to remove loose hairs before they turn into hairball masterpieces. Use deShedding or slicker brushes to remove the loose fur from their undercoat. 

(We are sending you our thoughts and prayers if this is your first attempt at grooming your cat at home.)

3. The Dreaded Cough and Hack Show: When Hairballs Make Their Grand Appearance

a single cat hairball of orange-ish brown colour

Ah, the grand performance! It usually starts with your cat’s subtle cough, like they’re clearing their throat to sing the hairball opera. Then comes the dramatic hack, followed by the grand finale—a projectile hairball launch! 

Bravo! Your cat bows, and you applaud for the show. (Read: You gag and run to the washroom to fetch a month’s supply of toilet rolls) It’s an artistic expression you never asked for, but it’s the thought that counts.


Allow me to share a funny real-life anecdote about hairballs. One day, as I was peacefully sipping my morning coffee at 12 noon my cat decided it was time for me to lay off my laziness and serve his will. 

But instead of the usual floor stage, she chose my pillow. Yes, you read that right—the same pillow he kept pushing me off of every night! 

There he was, sitting smugly, after the cough and hack routine, admiring his freshly made artpiece and looking at me like he wanted me to contact MOMA without wasting a second. I must say, since then, I have never slacked off – I have invested in a Slicker brush, fine-toothed comb and deShedder to comb him, and more treats than I can count to appease His Majesty.

5. Cat Hairballs Remedies: The Cat-Lover’s Magic Elixir

A hand wearing a cat brushing comb to brush a bengal cat with green eyes sitting on the person's lap. The person is holding the cat near the cat's chest with another hand. Daily brushing can reduce cat hairballs.

Sometimes, despite all our efforts, hairballs still find a way. They are a force of nature that cannot be stopped despite our best efforts. So, don’t feel bad. It’s not you. It’s the power of the feline!

You will need more than a muggle hairbrush to prevent hairballs. From hairball-specific cat food to lubricant treats, there are magic elixirs to help your cat pass hairballs more smoothly. Magic potions you can find at a veterinary store near you that’s not overseen by Snape!

6. Hydration: The Hero without a Cape

A Fat orange and black striped cat sitting on the sink and drinking from the faucet.

Water is essential for our furballs for the prevention of cat hairballs! 

Hydration helps lubricate your cat’s digestive system, making it easier for hairballs to make their exit. So, keep those water bowls full and far far away from your cat’s litter trays and food bowls. 

Get a water fountain if necessary to keep your cats hydrated and save them from the hairfall opera.

7. When to Visit the Veterinarian

Most of the time, cat hairballs are harmless and just an integral part of the furry package. 

However, if your cat is producing an excessive number of hairballs or seems to be struggling to pass them, it’s time for a trip to the cat doctor

They can rule out any underlying health issues and ensure your feline friend stays in tip-top shape.

Solving The Cat Hairballs Mystery!

a very derpy-looking cat of grey-brown colour sitting on someone's lap. the cat has their eyes closed as the person is using a red double sided brush to brush away the loose fur that form cat hairballs

Brush your cat using slick brushes and deShedders to prevent hairballs

Hairballs are the icky, yet oddly amusing part of having a cat. If you have had a cat for at least a year and you claim to have never seen a hairball, you need to check if that furball sitting on your couch is indeed a cat!

Through regular grooming, proper hydration, fur and coat supplements and the occasional hairball remedy, you can make sure these fuzzy intruders don’t overstay their welcome. 

Embrace the humorous side of being a cat parent and cherish those moments that make your heart melt, even if they come with a side of hairball drama. Happy purring everyone!

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