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Problem Passing Hairballs

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have an older long haired cat (17) that in the past month or so has developed what seems to be a problem passing hairballs completely. It seems to be happening pretty much every day now despite my attempts to help.

She'll start off with the normal action of passing a hairball but I don't think she ever finishes. It seems like the ball may be stuck in her throat partially blocking the airway. Then for the next 15-20 mins she'll sit in one place with her tongue out with labored breathing looking quite uncomfortable. Then 10 or 15 mins after that she's fine.

I've made sure in the past few weeks to brush her every day and do a good job. I also bought some hairball gel from Petco that I put on her paws that as far as I can tell she is ingesting.

Has anyone else seen these symptoms? Is there a better way to remedy the situation?
post #2 of 5
Has she seen the vet recently? Especially at her age I would recommend a checkup to make sure she hasn't developed some other problems with her stomach that may be interfering.

I know that a nibble of cat grass each day helps my boys tremendously with their hairballs.
post #3 of 5
Hi and welcome to TCS!

First, I'll second AlleyGirl's recommendation for a Vet visit. Once our cats are 10, they're considered "senior", and current recommendations call for a minimum of yearly wellness checkups (and 1/2 yearly briefer exams). Now, at 17 - which is an 84 year old in human years - she's well beyond "senior". You'll find lots of good information here and, near the bottom of that page are four other articles about older cats including one on grooming.

There's also a brochure for Vets on this topic at this link.

Using ordinary hairball remedies on a regular basis isn't a good idea for any cat - most of these are petroleum jelly based and interfere with the absorbtion of nutrients. There are other choices like this and Cat Lube which are safe for regular use.

I use Slippery Elm Bark powder to keep things moving for one of my long hairs.
post #4 of 5
Definitely take her to the vet ASAP...
Also, IMO Butter is a wonderful remedy for hairball - I am not comfortable in giving petroleum jelly for my kitties - in essence, I really don't give them anything I wouldn't eat it myself...
Making sure she is eating enough fiber is a must - you can also add some fiber to her current food -discuss with your vet what the best fiber is, and how much you should give her.
Good Luck!
post #5 of 5
Are you sure it's a hairball? I thought one of mine had hairball but he was actually coughing more or less because he had allergies. I took him in initially because I was afraid he might have asthma. It looks this:


I hope that you are able to get her to a vet soon and figure out what's going on.
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