Why Does My Cat Cough Up Hairballs All The Time?
All cat parents have cleaned up their fair share of hairballs – but is this normal? Should it be happening on a regular basis?
Cats get hairballs when they ingest hair that they’re unable to digest through their system. Long-haired kitties will inevitably ingest more hair than short-haired cats, but neither should be coughing them up on an excessive basis.
If your cat is throwing up hairballs every day, the first thing you should look at is the diet. Believe it or not, there are many ingredients in popular cat foods that are indigestible to cats. Grains are one of the ingredients that basically get stuck in their digestive system – causing the hair to not be able to pass through as needed. A large amount of carbohydrates will also cause a build up in your cat’s GI tract.
Because all kibble (regardless of quality) is high in carbohydrates, cats who eat only dry food will cough up more hairballs than kitties who are fed a moisture rich diet. Grains should not be allowed in cat food at all, in my opinion.
Diet isn’t the only factor that creates hairballs in cats. But it IS the root factor. For example, cats that shed excessively will deal with more internal hair build-up, whereas cats who are fed a species appropriate diet will not shed excessively.
It’s amazing what a small diet change can do for our cats. We used to clean up hairballs on a regular basis, even though we fed an expensive, high quality kibble. Once we transitioned our cats to a moist, raw diet the hairballs nearly disappeared. We now see a hairball maybe once a month in our home.
If your cat’s hairball problem is pretty bad and you are unable to switch her diet, consider adding in digestive enzymes to the daily meals. These natural enzymes will help break down what she ingests, making it easier for her to process through.