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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Shelly has long hair for a short-haired cat. He keeps himself really clean and grooms a lot. Can kittens get furballs? Because last night he sounding like he was gagging or dry-heaving. But he didn't show any symptions of being sick, and after the few minutes of gagging noises, he started playing and running around again. He's eating and drinking water like normal. Is that what hairballs sound like? We're pretty sure it isn't an upper respiratory illness as he had meds for everything (including upper respiratory) when we adopted him just a little over a month ago. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
It is so easy for long hairs to get hairballs. You can start adding cod liver oil in small amounts to their food, you can brush them daily if they will tolerate it, and they also make hairball dry food you can feed. Cat's tongues are rough like sandpaper so when they groom themselves it is common they get hair caught in the rough part of their tongue then chew and swallow the hair.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks! ...but is that what hairballs sound like?
post #4 of 5
When a cat is trying to bring up a hairball, it sounds like a heaving, vomiting, gagging type sound. Dry heaves might be a description. That's because the cat is actually trying to vomit up the hair stuck in his/her stomach. I guess you could also call it a retching type sound. When trying to vomit up a hairball, you can see the cat's sides heave in and out, as the abdominal muscles expand and contract. It can look rather dramatic. The cat will be sitting more upright, as opposed to be hunkered down close to the floor while doing it if it is due to hairballs.

The cat might be making those sounds due to trying to vomit for a reason other than hairballs, but hairball vomiting (called a hairball cough but it is really a vomiting) is common enough.

One of my cats has asthma, and at first we thought it was hairball "coughing" that he was doing more and more and more. No cat should be trying to hack up a hairball several times a day for weeks and weeks, without ever throwing one up, so he was finally diagnosed as having asthma. When he coughs from the asthma, he does hunker down to the floor and stretches his neck far out, like a goose. The sounds he makes then is reminiscent of a goose too. A honking kind of coughing noise. So, if it looks and sounds like that, it could be asthma.

Long haired cats need frequent combing to get out the loose hair. Try to do bit each day. If your cat has straight, fine hair, a flea comb gets more loose hair out than a brush will.
post #5 of 5
Laurie - Galensgranny took care of the noise aspect. It isn't pleasant. To answer your other question, yes, kittens can get hairballs. I found this out from experience. Imagine my surprise the time I *found* Trent's first hairball (with my foot ). I don't remember exactly how old he was, but he was definitely still a kitten. Also, another warning if you haven't seen a hairball before, it may look like a poo. Sometimes there is food with it, sometimes not. The ones without do look like poos. This also freaked me out the first time I saw it because I thought we were having a litterbox problem. Gosh, I wish I would have found this site sooner!!!
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