Why Do Cats Have Hairballs?

Cats are adorable and excellent cuddle partners who are known to have great manners.

However, one annoying habit cats bring is – hairballs. While not ever convenient or welcome, is there a point when cat hairballs should be a thing to worry about?

The team of Veterinarians at Cumberland Animal Hospital is here to help answer this question and help keep your pets healthy.


Hairballs, while given the name are not exactly ball-shaped, are simply clumps of hair that have been squeezed through the esophagus and out through the mouth. Of course, they are thrown up! Cats do spend a large portion of every day grooming themselves.


While cats can digest fur, as you may notice clumps of it in their litter box. Hairballs are actually clumps of undigested fur. This proves that sometimes they are unable to digest the fur due to either too much fur from high shedding, having a longer coat, or any number of reasons.


In general, cat hairballs are considered normal. However, if your cat is throwing up more than once a week it’s important to bring your cat into the Cumberland Animal Hospital for an evaluation.

If your cat is lethargic, incessantly vomiting, or refusing food or water, they should be examined as soon as possible. Cat hairballs can become lodged in the small intestine, a situation that could require medication, several diagnostics, and possibly surgical removal.


It is possible to help your cat manage their hairballs by brushing their fur regularly. Additionally, there are some specific supplements and foods that may reduce cat hairballs from getting stuck. We recommend you speak with us at your next yearly check-up if you have any questions on this.


Cumberland Animal Hospital is always here for you. Please let us know if we can assist you with questions or concerns about your cat’s behavior, health, and safety.

Cumberland Animal Hospital’s veterinarians in Fayetteville, NC are always available to assist you. We are happy to further discuss your animal’s wellness with you, call 910-822-3337 to schedule an appointment or ask any questions.