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Maine Coon Cat Hairballs & Coughing

Questions & Answers

Here are our archived questions and answers related to Maine Coon Cat hairballs and coughing. Gain insight from reader tips and advice.

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Maine Coons and Fur in Mouth

by: Nancy in Omemee, Ontario Canada

My Maine Coon likes to lick and clean himself. While doing this he often gets fur hanging out of his mouth and he try’s to swallow it.

Later, sometimes within hours, he brings this up sometimes with fur sometimes just liquid or some digested food.

I brush him regularly using a Furminator brush and comb. Should I try the furball laxative gel that comes in a tube, on his paws?


Hi Nancy,

It sounds like you're doing everything you can to keep your boy groomed, happy and healthy!

This can happen to all cats, especially longhaired ones. Grooming themselves is one of their favorite activities and fur will naturally come out on their barbed tongue.

Cats don't have the ability to spit things out the way we do. Although they do manage to reject pills or medicine when we try to pop those down the hatch, they don't have lips or the physiology to spit out hair.

The barbs on their tongue face one direction - toward their throat, and that leaves felines with one option. That's why hairballs are such a universal cat problem!

Since you're already brushing up as much loose fur as you can, you can absolutely try some products to help smooth things along for your boy.

Regarding the hairball laxative gel, it works to lubricate hairballs and help them move through the digestive tract in order to come out in a bowel movement. This product helps with cats who are constipated due to hairballs. It generally takes a couple of weeks to take effect.

You may or may not see a difference with it. Maybe it will just help the hairballs come up easier and your boy will experience less stress.

All in all, what goes in must come out, and spitting up hairballs is normal. Best wishes!

Maine Coon Cat Hairballs & Coughing?

by: Laura in New York, NY

My Maine Coon cat has coughing and hacking fits at least three times a day, especially after anyone picks him up.

Is this due to hairballs and if so is there any remedy you can suggest to ease his discomfort.


Hi Laura,

I'm sorry to hear about your boy's discomfort! It sounds like hairballs could be the culprit, especially if anything comes up during one of these episodes.

You have great timing- this subject is the next one we are writing about! Our page on hairball remedy options will be full of advice on hairballs, but here are a few things to get you started:

Do you have a FURminator deShedding Tool? We recently got one, on the advice of a pet store associate, and I was shocked, absolutely in awe of the amount of fur it removed! I keep it on a side table and brush Leo whenever he comes to visit in the evening. We have seen a marked decrease in cat hairballs and coughing since we've been using it.

There are hairball remedies at the pet store that contain laxatives to move things through the system. They are yummy and might help. (Though Leo threw up shortly after we used it. Better out than in, I guess!)

There are home remedies for extra fiber as well, such as:
canned pumpkin (no other ingredients): about 1 teaspoon per day mixed in with wet food.
fish oil, flaxseed, or olive oil: again, 1 teaspoon per day until hairballs are under control.

Then, reduce to once or twice a week, because too much fiber can have nutritional drawbacks.

The other method for helping hairballs is to use some jelly to help it "slide along". Giving 1/2 tablespoon of Vaseline, once per day, until the hairball is out might help. If you continue to use Vaseline (weekly), ask your vet if you should give your cat a Vitamin A supplement, as this can be depleted by petroleum jelly.

Also, if things don't get better with these tricks, (especially brushing!) there may be a more serious health issue. Hopefully, getting the hairballs under control will make your boy more comfortable, but if not, I would have to recommend putting a call in to your vet.

Good Luck Laura,

Hairballs and Choking

Last week we had an episode with our 7 year old Maine Coon, Hannah. While trying to get up a hairball, she went into some sort of spasm and passed out. I thought she was dead, her tongue turned blue.

I put ice in her mouth and kept massaging her until her tongue was pink. We took her to and Emergency Clinic where she spent the night and was released late the next day.

The Vet said while she was trying to cough up the hairball (hard) something happened to the "vega" nerve (I don't know if that's the correct spelling), causing her blood pressure to drop and she lost consciousness.

Has anyone else experienced this with their cat?

She was given fluids, the hairball moved to the intestines and she's on the mend.


Oh my gosh, that must have been horrible! I'm so sorry to hear that poor Hannah went through that.We haven't had anything happen like that here. Just the usual mess for hairballs.I'm glad to hear she's on the mend and will be okay. Hopefully more folks will have something to add!

Help Getting Hairballs up

by: Stacy

My cat is coughing everyday but cannot get his hairball up.

He will not eat any of the hairball remedies. I tried to hide it in his food and even put it in tuna fish but he will not eat it.

He does not eat any human food other then tuna. I do not know how to help him. I feel terrible that he is so uncomfortable.

Any suggestions?


Hi Stacy,

I'm so sorry to hear that your boy is so uncomfortable. It's frustrating when all we want to do is help them, and they won't let us!

Have you visited our two hairball info pages? The first, cat hairballs, is a general info page on the problem. The second may be more interesting to you: hairball remedy options.

The options on that page include the type of remedy your boy won't take, along with some natural home remedies, some great hairball relief products online, (including hairball control treats he may like!)

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