What To Watch For After Your Cat Has A Hairball

Posted on: 5 December 2019

Cats have hairballs all the time, but that doesn't mean that it's normal or healthy. A healthy cat shouldn't produce hairballs on a regular basis, or preferably, at all. This is because hair can't be digested by a cat's body and can present a lot of problems, like blockages in the intestines. 

If your cat has had a hairball, keep an eye out for these symptoms. If you notice any of them, get help from a veterinarian right away.


Lethargy is one potential problem that can surface after having a hairball. The hairball that your cat managed to get out isn't the problem, but what's been left behind is.

Sometimes when a cat vomits up a hairball, only a part of the hair that's causing a problem breaks off and comes out. The rest can stay behind in your cat's guts. As a result, your kitty can start to feel pretty unwell and can lose interest in play or spend more time sleeping.

Loss of Appetite

Another big problem is when cats lose their appetites after having a hairball. This is usually for the same reason as the cause of lethargy - something is still in your cat's body, and it may be painful. As a result, your cat may not be interested in eating or may be experiencing nausea that can potentially trigger more vomiting. Needless to say, if you see your cat vomiting or producing more than one hairball, it's something that should be looked into by a veterinarian immediately.

Inability to 'Go'

Lastly, depending on where the blockage forms, your kitty may be unable to defecate or use the litter box. This is a serious problem that must be taken care of right away.

If your cat can't defecate, or poop, that means that they're going to be unable to eat or process what they've already eaten. The colon will eventually fill up with excrement that has nowhere to go, and your kitty will feel worse and worse until they're able to relieve themselves. Unfortunately, in many cases, the cat won't be able to relieve themselves at all, or they may only be able to pass small amounts of diarrhea.

When this happens, you need help from a vet right away. Blockages of this type typically can't be cleared by a cat's body and require help from a professional.

The good news is, your vet can handle any kind of intestinal blockage. This can usually be diagnosed with a physical examination and x-rays. If a blockage is found, it can be removed surgically or through manual extraction if it's close enough to the rectum.

It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your cat after it's had a hairball. If you notice any of these signs, at the very least, contact a veterinarian's office right away to find out if your cat needs help. Contact a local animal hospital for more information.