My senior cat has vomiting and hairball issues

by Sharon
(Yorba Linda, CA USA)

Juju (12 years Old)

Juju (12 years Old)

Juju is 12 years old. I have had her since she was 3 months old (from a shelter). She is an indoor only cat who is always up on shots and never leaves home unless she is borded. She has always had lots of hairballs (several each week) and I have asked at many vets about it. I always get the same answers, use hairball treatments like the flavored gel, special food or treats, etc. None of these have ever worked. I think she may be an excessive groomer but does not have any of the symptoms like dry skin, bald spots or anything else.

She also regurgitates her food un-digested after eating on a regular basis. One vet told me to give her only moist food and to elevate it so that she can eat it easily without having to keep her head bent over so it will get all the way down her throat. This was a couple of years ago, and it seemed to help a little, but now it is getting so much worse. She is not losing any fact she seems to eat non-stop (starving after she throws up) and acts normal otherwise, but she throws up several time per day. We have had her since my 16 year old daughter was 4 and I know she will be as crushed as I will if we have to find her another home ...but the vomiting is ruining my house, carpet, bedding, clothing...everything... and I don't want to keep her locked up in one room forever...what kind of life is that? I recently had to spend $1500
when she tried to hack up a hairball that got stuck and she began to choke on it. Although I have insurance for her, I don't think it covers this type of thing and I am out of money (still paying off the hospital visit). I just don't know what to do. Please help!

Answer by Kate
Firstly can I say what a great photo, she certainly looks happy here.

As for the hairball problem. Even though she is a short haired cat, if she is an excessive groomer she will get hairballs. Unfortunately there is no way to stop your cat grooming so much so all you can do is to try and remove as much of the loose fur yourself to reduce the issue. this means brushing her every day with a special cat brush. Also try and notice when she grooms herself the most and if you can try and distract her with a game etc, the less she gets used to grooming herself hopefully the less she will want to.

Excessive grooming is sometimes a sign of a bored or slightly stressed cat, so it may be a good idea to try and make her environment a little more interesting/ challenging please see my page here about that

Also try feeding her smaller amounts more often through out the day. This worked for my cat who would throw up her food after eating. It will take a while for them to get used to the smaller amounts but they will get used to it and it does give their stomachs time to digest the food.

best wishes kate

Comments for My senior cat has vomiting and hairball issues

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Senior cat's digestive system
by: Anonymous

My senior cat had the same issue. Hairballs and would vomit her food pretty much right after she had eaten. She started doing this on food she'd never had a problem with. And constantly hungry.
I took her to the vet, and she had me try food for seniors or sensitive stomachs. She said these types of food are partially broken down, as some senior cats have problems digesting their food fully as they age. This did the trick for my cat. Good luck.

Wheat Grass for Hairballs! It works well!
by: Anonymous

Have either of you tried feeding your cats wheat grass for hair balls? We had a cat that would have several hair balls each week unless he had a hair ball product or if he would eat just 5 pieces of wheat grass each day. So we made sure he had the natural product of wheat grass daily so we didn't have to give him other products. The healthiness of the products concerns me.

Out of the 5 cats we have had all of them really enjoyed wheat grass a lot. So it wasn't hard to encourage those who especially needed it to eat it by picking individual pieces and placing it under their noses. With a little petting and time, the grass went right down! They did like it and sometimes would eat up to 15 or 20 blades of grass. : )

However, none of them liked barley or other forms of "greens" - only wheat. It can be purchased already grown at pet stores but it is very easy to grow your own at home in a window sill so you can have fresh constantly. (It grows easily and lasts about 2 weeks or so after the time it is ready to feed it to them.) We bought the grain online through amazon after we could no longer buy in in our local pet store - they had only mixed grains in packets. For growing instruction use Google to find recommendations how to do it.

I really hope this will help you. I am so sorry for this to be such a problem for your kitty and you. I hope it might help with the vomiting of food, too, and make this easily for all of you.

Sending hope...

Hairball vomiting in senior cat
by: Becky

My Siamese cat is 11 and I adopted her from a shelter as a baby. All you described with your problems are mine exactly. All that the article suggested, I have done, I have tried. Finally I took the suggestion of another Siamese owner, I clipped her. She looks terrible, hates the clippers, but it worked. Unfortunately, her hair grows back fast. At first it was only summer shedding problems. Now it is all the time. She has unusually small kidneys so must be on the vet K/D food. She won't touch it in wet. I just read that too much hairball gel will cause Vit A deficiency, so now what? She had to go to the vet twice in the last 2 years for hairball impaction and hacks 3 to 4 times a day. No actual throwing up lately with the hair clip. I used to groom, you may want to take her to a groomer, check if they are experienced clipping cats. Good Luck

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