Cat Cough Caused by a Hairball. What Should I do?

My cat sounds like he is about to cough up the worlds largest hairball, but then doesn't hack up anything...just keeps making the noise and stretching his neck something stuck or is this something to have a vet look at? sometimes it goes on for 20 minutes...used to happen every once in a blue moon, but it's happened twice in the past two days and he wouldn't stop until i came over and comforted him. I don't know what to do!! Any ideas??


It seems that your cat has something struck in the gastrointestinal tract, and most probably in esophageal tube. It can be a hairball or any other foreign body. It appears that what ever is trapped, it is soft and hasn’t caused a complete obstruction of the gastrointestinal tube, because it hasn’t caused any injury or infection yet.

Whatever it is, since it leaves your cat gagging, coughing and stretching his neck out, it seems that it is due to a possible obstruction at the upper end of the esophagus nearer to the pharynx.

Moreover, since your cat cannot expel it out, it means that this thing is too big to pass out.

You can try to figure out what type of material is stuck while your cat coughs or tries to vomit or you can assess the consistency of it via esophageal palpation (touching the esophagus) from outside the body.

The esophagus can be felt in the length of neck, especially at apex of neck, below head. It can be felt as firm, muscular tube. It is more prominent when a cat swallows or gulps. In the case of an obstruction, the esopahgeal tube may appear buldged at the point of obstruction, but it is less common if the obstruction was caused by soft objects such as hair balls.

For the time being, you can use home made or commercial diets containing chopped pumpkin as a hairball remedy such as Soulistic Harvest Sunrise Chicken & Pumpkin Dinner Adult Canned Cat Food in Gravy 3 oz.. Canned pumpkins are best as an approach to hair ball digestion and hopefully it will resolve the problem.

Some herbal preparations, which strengthen digestive capacity, can also be helpful in this regard. One product for this use is FurBall Dr. which is designed to help a cat naturally prevent FurBalls and improve digestion.

If it does not resolve with dietary change and if other signs such as loss of appetite, constipation and/or vomiting are seen, then you should call a veterinarian.

Even partial obstructions that last for long time can cause incurable complications, including death.

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Sep 16, 2010
It's Asthma!
by: Midgy

I just found out today my cat has Asthma. when I was researching it, I found a youtube video of a cat with asthma, and that is totally my cat! youtube a cat coughing a hairball and then youtube a cat with asthma to see the difference. a cat with a hairball is sitting more upright and you can see the stomach convulsing or retching, whatever you want to call it. a cat with asthma, however, is more flat to the floor with their neck stretched out. I've read litter can be the culprit, which I'm now going to look up more info on.

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