Last month our dear Kira was coughing and coughing and coughing and couldn’t seem to pass what we thought could be a hairball. Coughing up or trying to do so is one of the cat hairball blockage symptoms that will show up when things are going wrong.
Hairball Blockage Symtoms
Kira was having serious issues. She has hairballs only once a month or so. This one time last month she was unable to pass the hairball. At first I heard her coughing and thought she was having another one of those nasty things. I ran up the stairs to see her throw up only some yellow – white and clear stomach content. While I wanted to help her by softly patting her back, she walked away.
1. She Was Hacking and Swallowing
The hours after she stopped eating, kept hacking and swallowing and licking her lips. It wasn’t a pretty sight and we were getting slowly worried. Hoping that things would resolve as they usually do, we just went to bed for the night and hoped everything would be better.
2. She Stopped Taking Care
The next morning we found her on the same spot we found her before we went to bed. Kira had not moved a centimeter and had dried up tears in her eyes. This is another sign on a cat that something is up, when they stop taking care of themselves by grooming.
3. She Stopped Eating & Drinking
By now, from what we gathered, Kira had not been drinking or eating anything at all the entire night. We tried to feed her some kibble, sweets and in the end some wet food. Nothing was accepted by her, which further worried us. So we decided upon driving to the emergency clinic. Unfortunately that clinic was two hours driving away, so we had to pack up and go as soon as we woke up.
What you should do?: Go To The Vet!
The emergency clinic for that weekend was however rather useless and couldn’t find anything on her and thought of her to be completely healthy. They did little effort to research the actual problem either. This was not the case, for as soon as we got home she got worse again. After the weekend we managed to get hold of our own veterinarian and get an appointment on Monday morning.
The veterinarian checked all her vital organs and did some blood tests to look for common illnesses that could cause all the symptoms as well as common illnesses with cats that don’t want to eat and drink anymore.
They didn’t find anything and she was all fine. They warned us that illness can still strike and without pictures she could drop dead anytime. Or live a happy life. Perhaps it would all clear up.
They gave her vitamins and some special stomach mixture (with some oil in it).
Back at home we were still in despair as she still didn’t want to eat. Until….
Until she actually managed to cough up what had bothered her for so long. We think the oil in the medicine that the doctor had given her, has helped her pass the hairball that was causing it all.
It was an enormous big hairball. It came out in a stretched line of 5cm on the floor. After passing such a huge hairball she was happy and relieved and tirring and cuddling as if nothing happened. She went back to her food bowl and ate away and drank water like she could drink it all.
This episode once again teaches us why it is so important to prevent rather than remedy a hairball. We promised each other (and towards Kira) that we would from now on brush her more often. Regularly brushing and de-shedding your cat, makes sure that they do not swallow as many cat hairs as they would do without. There are good brushes available for this job.
Also, good quality food can help in preventing the accumulation of hairballs forming in the large intestine. We use this type of food already ever since we got cats, but it is a good thing to consider if you don’t already.
I think that helping their stomachs with Probiotica can also do a great deal to prevent big issues in their stomach and intestines. As such we use Zoolac a lot, which is a milk protein based Probiotica that also adds a small amount of oil in the tract, which can be used for passing hairballs. I think that is also part of what has helped Kira feel much better.
We learned a lot from this episode with Kira:
- Know your cat – keep an eye on changes
- Prevent hairballs by brushing
- Have probiotics ready
- Contact the veterinary
First of all, we learned that it is important to keep an eye on the health of our cats. A problem isn’t detectable until it gets rather late. Therefore it is a good idea to learn to understand and remember the usual patterns of your cat(s). As soon as something unusual happens, you will see the difference better. We know our cats through and through, but could perhaps have picked up on it on Friday morning instead and done something about it there and then.
We will brush her more often now, knowing that she has problems passing these nasty hairballs. In fact, we will brush all our cats more often to prevent this from happening ever again.
We also have probiotics that can help our cats with a stomach problem and will have it always readily available.
As soon as we end up in a situation that can cause trouble on the long run and we have no ways of dealing with it ourselves, we will contact the veterinary immediately and try to get an appointment sorted. Preferably these appointments should be done with our own veterinary and not with an emergency doctor some 80 miles away. Of course, emergency vets have also a purpose and can also be used in emergent situations.
Must Read: Have A Yearly Cat Vet Check Up