Can Cats Get Diarrhea from Hairballs? Discover the Truth Now!

Cats can get diarrhea from hairballs that they ingest during grooming due to irritation in their digestive system. Hairballs can result in diarrhea for cats as the ingested fur irritates their digestive tract during grooming.

This can lead to loose stools and discomfort for feline companions. Diarrhea caused by hairballs is a common issue among cats, especially those with long hair or excessive grooming habits. Understanding the connection between hairballs and diarrhea in cats is crucial for their overall well-being and can help pet owners take appropriate measures to alleviate the discomfort and prevent future occurrences.

We will explore the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention strategies for hairball-induced diarrhea in cats.

How Hairballs Form In A Cat’s Digestive System

Can cats get diarrhea from hairballs? Let’s explore how hairballs form in a cat’s digestive system. Grooming plays a crucial role in hairball development. When cats groom themselves, they use their tongues to clean their fur. During this process, they inadvertently swallow loose hair. This hair then travels through the digestive system and can accumulate in the stomach, forming a hairball.

The journey of hair from the tongue to the stomach involves a series of muscular contractions in the esophagus. These contractions help propel the hair towards the stomach. Once in the stomach, the hair typically collects in the form of a hairball, due to the acidic environment and the presence of digestive enzymes.

In some cases, hairballs may cause gastrointestinal issues for cats, including diarrhea. This can occur when the hairball irritates the digestive tract or causes a blockage. If a cat experiences frequent or persistent diarrhea, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can Hairballs Cause Diarrhea In Cats?

The potential link between hairballs and digestive issues has been a topic of interest among cat owners. While hairballs are a common occurrence in cats, some believe that they can also lead to diarrhea. Understanding the mechanics behind this connection is essential.

When cats groom themselves, they ingest loose hair. Usually, this hair passes through their digestive system without any issues. However, excessive accumulation of hair in the stomach can result in the formation of hairballs. These hairballs can cause discomfort and irritate the digestive tract.

Factors such as the size of the hairball and the cat’s overall health can contribute to the hairballs triggering diarrhea. Large hairballs may obstruct the intestinal passage, leading to diarrhea as the body tries to eliminate them. Additionally, cats with sensitive stomachs or underlying gastrointestinal issues may be more prone to experiencing diarrhea as a result of hairballs.

It’s important for cat owners to be observant of their pets’ behavior and consult a veterinarian if they notice frequent episodes of diarrhea or hairballs. Proactive steps such as regular grooming, proper diet, and the use of hairball remedies can help prevent both hairballs and related digestive issues in cats.

Identifying Hairballs And Diarrhea In Cats

  • Coughing or gagging
  • Recurring hairballs in vomit
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation

Vomiting is a forceful action where stomach contents are expelled through the mouth, while regurgitation is a passive expulsion of undigested food or hairballs without effort. Keep an eye out for:

  • Noises before vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Weakening of the cat
  • Increased urgency to defecate
  • Loose or watery stool
  • Frequent accidents outside the litter box
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Presence of blood or mucus in the stool

The Impact Of Hairballs On A Cat’s Digestive Health


  • Hairballs can lead to gastrointestinal inflammation, causing discomfort and irritation in cats.
  • Untreated hairballs can have long-term effects on a cat’s digestive system, potentially leading to more serious health issues.

Frequent hairballs in cats can result in gastrointestinal inflammation due to the accumulation of hair in their digestive tract. This can cause discomfort and irritation and may even lead to diarrhea. If left untreated, hairballs can have long-term effects on a cat’s digestive system. The continuous presence of hairballs can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive tract, potentially leading to more serious health complications. It is essential for cat owners to help their cats manage hairballs through regular grooming, proper nutrition, and the use of specialized hairball remedies to promote a healthy digestive system.

Preventing Hairballs And Diarrhea In Cats

Regular grooming techniques can help minimize hair ingestion in cats, reducing the risk of both hairballs and diarrhea. Brushing your cat’s fur regularly, especially for long-haired breeds, can help remove loose hairs that may otherwise be ingested. Consider using a grooming brush specifically designed to catch loose hairs before they are swallowed.

Dietary strategies can also promote hairball prevention in cats. Feeding your cat a high-quality diet that is rich in fiber can help promote healthy digestion and prevent the formation of hairballs. You may also consider providing your cat with specialized hairball control cat food, which is formulated to aid in the passage of hair through the digestive system.

Promoting overall digestive health is crucial for preventing both hairballs and diarrhea. Ensure your cat has access to fresh water at all times, as dehydration can worsen digestive issues. Additionally, providing your cat with regular exercise and mental stimulation can help regulate their digestive system.

When To Seek Veterinary Assistance

It is not uncommon for cats to experience occasional hairballs and episodes of diarrhea. However, when hairballs and diarrhea become persistent or severe, it may be necessary to seek assistance from a veterinarian. Chronic hairballs and diarrhea can indicate underlying health issues that require proper diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding the underlying causes of chronic hairballs and diarrhea

Chronic hairballs can be caused by excessive grooming, dietary issues, or an underlying medical condition. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of various health problems such as gastrointestinal infections, food allergies, or inflammatory bowel disease. Identifying the root cause is crucial in managing both hairball formation and diarrhea episodes.

Veterinary treatments and interventions to manage hairballs and related diarrhea

Veterinarians may recommend a combination of preventive measures and treatments to manage chronic hairballs and diarrhea. These may include changes in diet, brushing to reduce excessive hair ingestion, anti-hairball lubricants to facilitate the passage of hair, and medication to reduce inflammation and regulate gastrointestinal function. For severe cases, further diagnostic tests and prescription medications may be necessary.


Hairballs can indeed cause diarrhea in cats. Excessive grooming leads to the ingestion of large amounts of hair, which can accumulate in the digestive tract and disrupt normal bowel movements. As a cat owner, it’s essential to monitor your feline friend for signs of hairballs and take preventative measures to keep their digestive system healthy.

Regular brushing, providing a balanced diet, and seeking veterinary advice can help minimize the risk and discomfort associated with hairball-induced diarrhea in cats.

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