Ask a Vet About Cats
Q: My long-haired cat often spits out hairballs.
Apart from it being kind of gross, is this
a normal “cat thing” or is there something
wrong with her?
A: Hairballs, also called Trichobezoars (or furballs),
are usually triggered by cats ingesting their own hair during
self-grooming. The hair becomes entangled, and is usually
hard to digest. This results in cats regurgitating large “capsules”
of hair, not dissimilar to the pellets of bones and hair
owls discard after swallowing whole prey. Regular brushing,
a high-fibre diet, or the use of special petroleum-based
products (e.g, Tonic-Lax) can be helpful in decreasing the
frequency of hairballs. If concerned, or if the frequency is
more than once or twice a month, you should consult your
veterinarian to ensure that there is no underlying medical