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Hairball/Vomiting Questions

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Smokey seemed like he wasn't feeling good earlier and he's been coughing every once in a while all day... then he threw up a couple minutes ago. He has a lot of fur so I think it might be from a hairball? There was no hair in the vomit though. I've read about the canned pumpkin and the petromalt for preventing hairballs... do they help once the cat has a hairball in his system? Also how much canned pumpkin should be used daily? Do hairballs make the kitty feel bad/sick/tired? Is there anything I can do to make him feel better? Do I have to take his food away? Sorry about so many questions... I've never dealt with a hairball or vomiting before.
post #2 of 4
Most hairball remedies act to push the hairball through to the intestines so it is not coughed up. This is what all the high fiber hairball foods (usually oat fiber) and canned pumpkin do for them.

When I fed my cat canned pumpkin, I was advised to give 1-2 tablespoons per day. The best brand is Libby's canned pumpkin - you want one with no added sugar, etc.

When labels talk about "preventing" hairballs I believe they are actually referring to preventing the cat from throwing up a hairball, not preventing them from having a hairball. You cannot prevent a cat from eating hair unless he stops grooming himself, or unless you can brush him very well to eliminate as much loose hair as possible. And, even so, it is hard to eliminate ALL loose hair.

I would ask your vet about taking food away - different vets seem to have different opinions on this. I have worked for vets who swear by taking food away for 12 hours after a pet has vomited - others don't feel there is a need. The first vet I worked for never advised this. The vets I work for now sometimes perscribe pepto bismol for upset tummies - but it does contain a salycilate, which are at times dangerous for cats. And this is mostly used for vomiting, but not necessarily for hairballs.

In other words, I would check with your vet. It may not be a bad idea to have him looked at anyhow, as you said he has not been feeling well all day. I always think it is better to err on the side of caution. Especially since you didn't see any hair.

I hope he feels better soon!
post #3 of 4
If the kitty is acting sick I would take him to the vet. My cats have had hairballs occasionally and they do not act sick before they cough one up. Yes, they do cough, but there is no other symptom of sickness (lethargy, not eating. . . ) Also, sometimes they don't cough the hairball up the first time. This may have been what happened to your kitty. He just didn't get it yet.
post #4 of 4
Yeah, hairballs can lead to a kitty not feeling so hot. But on the other hand, so can a lot of things. Using the petromalt and pumpkin do help even if there is a hairball already in the system. Try to brush your cat a little more often (even if he doesn't like it) and it should help with that too.

If you cat is acting really lethargic, tired, sleepy, hiding a little...anything like that at all, get him/her to the vet because they usually do that when they are running a temp and it could be something serious. The sooner you take them, the easier to treat in most cases...so think of it that way.

I wouldn't ignore this if he is acting funny as well as vomiting.
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