If hairballs are the bane of your cat-owning existence, you are certainly not alone. Not only are the messy things icky, they sometimes can lead to great harm in cats. If your little one rarely -- or never -- coughs them up, though, it's no cause for alarm.
Hairballs are caused by the accidental ingestion of fur. When cats groom themselves, they use their tongues, so it's no surprise that they often swallow a little bit. If your cat doesn't have particularly obsessive grooming habits, then the lack of hairballs is no shock. Some cats neglect grooming as a result of stress, anxiety, depression or various other medical problems. If you suspect that this is why your cat doesn't cough up hairballs, then it's time to investigate the situation further -- with the veterinarian. And younger cats and kittens are less likely to have hairballs. Cats at a tender age haven't fully developed their grooming behaviors yet, unlike adults who may be busy licking away from morning until night.
If your cat is especially short-haired, then it makes sense that she'd experience fewer hairballs than other felines such as Maine Coons, Persians and American Curls. Sphynx cats are close to hairless, so it would be unusual for them to cough up hairballs.
If you help your precious pet a lot in the grooming department, you may have your answer for why she seldom has hairballs. Regular brushing eliminates loose hairs in the coat, and as a result, your cat swallows a lot less. It's simple math.
In some cases, a cat may not be coughing up hairballs due to painful intestinal blockage. If your pet's hairball is so large that it is actually causing a disruption -- or blockage -- in her digestive tract, the consequences could be dangerous. When a hairball is stuck in your cat's belly, she understandably can't cough it up. Look for warning signs of the situation, and if you notice any, seek immediate veterinary attention. Perhaps your kitty is crouching over due to intense stomach pain. She may have diarrhea or be throwing up a lot. Constipation could be a problem. She may have zero interest in food -- and also be losing weight. Closely monitor these signs and behaviors, especially if your little one is a very rigorous groomer.