Giant Hairball Help

crystal dawn

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This morning my boy had a giant hairball that he actually choked on requiring assistance to get out as he couldn't breathe around it, and it just didn't want to move. This happened about 3 hours ago. He's since eaten and drank and groomed. His breathing is fine, and he's sleeping in a normal place for him. I was wondering if anyone knows anything that can help keep the hairballs from building up to the point where they can't pass or be thrown up. He doesn't eat canned food. He's about 8 years old, and he's a very long haired cat. I can't seem to find a brush that picks up enough hair to be effective, and I'm afraid he's going to end up with a blockage or choke to death on a hairball because we don't hear him struggling to get it up.

Thinking about taking him to the vet for a check as half that big ol hairball may still be in his stomach unable to pass and also to talk to them about what can be done to help. He does like to eat grass, but I can't seem to keep cat grass alive. I've been letting him out to eat grass in the yard but that doesn't seem to be working to well.

I feel horrible as I feel like I now need to solve a problem I could have prevented by being more regular/ diligent with brushing him and finding the right brush and so on. He doesn't mind being brushed at all he loves the attention. I've been lazy though and haven't done it regularly and now he's paying for it.
 

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What’s his diet like? Have you tried egg yolk (raw or lecithin powder).

For brushes, you want a greyhound style comb with very long teeth to brush through the coat and deal with tangles before they mat, a slicker brush to break up the undercoat and feel out where there’s a lot of it, and a dog deshedder in a similar style to this, with hooks, to pull out the dead coat. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EZ7UOCM/?tag=thecatsite

It’s a tool that can be overused, so it’s generally used sparingly and carefully to avoid pulling out live undercoat. Much more sparing and effective than a furninator, regardless.
 
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crystal dawn

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Just dry cat food and occasionally tuna he doesn't seem interested in anything else. Not yet, though I could offer him a raw egg yolk and see if he'll eat it. He's a very picky eater and has a pretty sensitive system, so I have to be careful about what I give him. I'm also very low on money and can't afford much but I do get food assistance that could be used to get things that people can also eat that would help.

I'm concerned as he's started wheezing a bit kind of off and on like he inhaled some fluid trying to get rid of that hairball. It's another 2 hours and 20 mins til the vet opens, and it could be a day or two before he can be seen. Hopefully though since his breathing is a bit off they'll squish him in today as that would give me some piece of mind. The vets here don't seem to really care much about the pets they see, so hopefully they don't miss anything and can help me out with whatever might remain of that hairball, plus the hair he's gotten grooming since then.

Thank you for the brush and comb recommendations. I will do my best to find similar ones I can afford on top of vet bills and everything else. I hate being poor and my fur kids lives being a risk because of it. Not a lot I can do about it though.
 

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Kibble only diets cause chronic dehydration (cats are unable to keep up with water intake that they would get from their food otherwise), which can exacerbate the hairball issue, sadly. Crumbling a small bit of boiled egg yolk onto his dry food may work. If he’s had issues with new foods in the past, start with a tiny amount, like a quarter of a teaspoon.

If he’s wheezing and it doesn’t improve, definitely worth being checked on. My younger cat had bronchopneumonia a couple months back triggered by aspiration after she decided to scarf her breakfast, which caused regurgitation. Fortunately it was caught early so all she needed was a 2 week course of antibiotics and some X-rays to track progress.
 

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Give him a tsp. of butter to lick up a couple of times a week, it helps them to pass the hairballs. There are medicines/supplements you can give too, ask the vet if he recommends any.
 
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crystal dawn

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Well Emyrs, that's the name of the cat this thread is about trying to help. Just threw up again and didn't have any issues and the rest of that giant hairball came up, so I think we're in the clear for the time being. Still going to be keeping an eye on him to make sure he's okay, but so far so good. When I listened at his side his breathing sounded better and his purr sounded clearer. Part of his anxiety may be due to mine as he's my ESA as well and I've had a few anxeity attacks over the last few hours since he got choked like that.

I'm thinking he was wheezing a bit due to the hairball getting stuck somewhere in his throat, causing it to be more narrow than normal. So far since he threw up the rest of the hairball successfully I haven't heard him do it in the last few minutes. I'll continue to watch him and if I keep hearing it over the next two hours as the vet opens at 8am my time and it's about 20 after six am now I'll call the vet at open and get him an appointment. Thinking about doing so anyway just to be safe though I'm concerned about stressing him more as he's already stressed some.

I know his dry food diet isn't the best for him and I've tried all kinds of diffrent canned foods and every once in a while he'll eat a certain kind but I can never remember what kind it is. I've also been thinking of seeing if I can get him to eat some baby food. The kind I get for my mom's senior cat just has 3 ingredants, chicken or other meat like turkey or beef, water and cornstarch to thicken. I know this likely won't be good to feed every day but likely wouldn't be horrible to give often like Tuna can be.

I am thinking about giving him a raw egg yolk and see if he likes it. If he does how often would that be safe to give him. I've read that something in raw eggs can cause some kind of issues for cats and I want to prevent that if I can.that's why I haven't done it before.

I may scramble some eggs for the cats today though and see if he'll eat that.
 
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crystal dawn

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Give him a tsp. of butter to lick up a couple of times a week, it helps them to pass the hairballs. There are medicines/supplements you can give too, ask the vet if he recommends any.
I'm cautious about giving him butter as he has issues with dairy. Thank you for the suggestion and I'll keep it in mind.
 

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Give him a tsp. of butter to lick up a couple of times a week, it helps them to pass the hairballs. There are medicines/supplements you can give too, ask the vet if he recommends any.
Butter doesn’t do much of anything as it’s absorbed by the lining of the stomach long before it can help fur pass.
 

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I am thinking about giving him a raw egg yolk and see if he likes it. If he does how often would that be safe to give him. I've read that something in raw eggs can cause some kind of issues for cats and I want to prevent that if I can.that's why I haven't done it before.

I may scramble some eggs for the cats today though and see if he'll eat that.
I’d start with no more than a quarter of a teaspoon and see how he does. Raw egg yolk on its own is fine, raw egg white is not, as it contains a compound that binds to B vitamins. Egg yolks contain an excess of b vitamins, however, so it’s safe to feed whole raw egg. The protein that causes issues denatures when you cook it, so any form of cooked egg is safe. just make sure it’s unsalted and unspiced.
 

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Butter and heavy cream both have minuscule amounts of lactose which are OK for lactose intolerant people and cats. It's the oil you want in it to help the hairball pass, even a tiny bit of olive oil would help. It's in the stomach where you need the help, once the hairball is in the intestines it should pass. many hairball remedies have vaseline in them, which is not great.
 
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crystal dawn

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Butter and heavy cream both have minuscule amounts of lactose which are OK for lactose intolerant people and cats. It's the oil you want in it to help the hairball pass, even a tiny bit of olive oil would help. It's in the stomach where you need the help, once the hairball is in the intestines it should pass. many hairball remedies have vaseline in them, which is not great.
Okay that makes sense. Yeah, I figured there was something in the store bought hairball remedies that wasn't good. I've only ever used them for one cat and that's because she hated everything else and wouldn't touch any of them.
 
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crystal dawn

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I’d start with no more than a quarter of a teaspoon and see how he does. Raw egg yolk on its own is fine, raw egg white is not, as it contains a compound that binds to B vitamins. Egg yolks contain an excess of b vitamins, however, so it’s safe to feed whole raw egg. The protein that causes issues denatures when you cook it, so any form of cooked egg is safe. just make sure it’s unsalted and unspiced.
Okay. Anytime we make eggs for the fur kids, we don't add anything to them and get theirs first before adding anything to the rest of the scrambled eggs.
 

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Okay that makes sense. Yeah, I figured there was something in the store bought hairball remedies that wasn't good. I've only ever used them for one cat and that's because she hated everything else and wouldn't touch any of them.
Store bought hairball remedies (the effective ones) generally have soy lecithin in. Soy is horrible for cats, but egg yolk contains the same substance.
Hairballs consist of hair and fat. What the lecithin does is emulsify the fat, helping the hairball break up and be passed more easily the proper way, with the stool.

There are remedies that have vaseline or oils in, but they’re a lot less effective as they’re meant to be “slicking” the hairball rather than breaking it up.
 
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crystal dawn

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Emyrs seems to be more relaxed now that he got rid of the rest of that hairball. The Sun has just come up here not too long ago, so he's watching the birds as they wake through the window. His breathing seems good, and the wheezy sound I heard earlier that scared me I haven't heard. He's also not licking his lips anymore, like he was. I'm tempted to go try to get a few more hours of sleep, but I'm still concerned about him as well. He doesn't seem to care for being in my room anymore, and I don't want to stress him by moving him in there with me either and trying to get him to stay put.

Arg, I've had cats for years and I feel like I'm useless when it comes to caring for them. So thank you everyone for the information and advice, and I'll be trying it out and talking to a vet and hopefully finding something that helps him pass the hairballs properly or even throw them up before they get so big that they block things off.
 
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crystal dawn

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Store bought hairball remedies (the effective ones) generally have soy lecithin in. Soy is horrible for cats, but egg yolk contains the same substance.
Hairballs consist of hair and fat. What the lecithin does is emulsify the fat, helping the hairball break up and be passed more easily the proper way, with the stool.

There are remedies that have vaseline or oils in, but they’re a lot less effective as they’re meant to be “slicking” the hairball rather than breaking it up.
Okay so wouldn't egg yolk not be good for cats as well due to the lecithin in it or is the one in egg yolk different. Also, how can I prevent e coli or salmonella or other things that could make my cats ill if I give them any raw egg?
 

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Okay so wouldn't egg yolk not be good for cats as well due to the lecithin in it or is the one in egg yolk different. Also, how can I prevent e coli or salmonella or other things that could make my cats ill if I give them any raw egg?
The issue is the soy, not the lecithin. Lecithin is a generic term for a fatty substance that can emulsify other fats. Soy lecithin and egg yolk lecithin are different.
Only give your cat eggs you’d eat yourself. Any bacteria is present on the surface of the egg, not on the inside. The rest their short high acidity digestive system can handle — cats are predators that evloved to eat raw meat, after all. If you have concerns, just hardboil some eggs and make the yolk into a powder to sprinkle into his food.
 
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crystal dawn

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The issue is the soy, not the lecithin. Lecithin is a generic term for a fatty substance that can emulsify other fats. Soy lecithin and egg yolk lecithin are different.
Only give your cat eggs you’d eat yourself. Any bacteria is present on the surface of the egg, not on the inside. The rest their short high acidity digestive system can handle — cats are predators that evolved to eat raw meat, after all. If you have concerns, just hard boil some eggs and make the yolk into a powder to sprinkle into his food.
Thank you.
True they are, but I read that cats can still be sickened by raw egg, so I wanted to ask about prevention.
 
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crystal dawn

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An update on Emrys. He seems okayish. He's only eating a few bites of food at a time, but he's eating and he's drinking water he seems a bit cautious about that too. He'll also eat cat treats like usual though I'm trying to limit those. I'm still worried about him as he seems like he's not distressed or anything but he also doesn't quite seem his usual self yet.

I just found out that he pooped when he got choked this morning that explains the turd on his butt that I had to carefully trim off and I found a turd behind the couch he was on when he got choked.

Again he seems okaish a bit lethargic but eating a little and drinking. He didn't want the cooked egg yoke I offered him so I'm going to let him rest a while as I wait for my mom to get back from visiting grandma so she can help me seprate an egg and offer a bit of raw egg yoke and see if he'll take that. If not then I'm going to need to figure out something else to help with those darn hair balls.This is scary and I do NOT want to deal with it again.
 
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crystal dawn

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What's kind of bugging me is after he eats but sometimes when he hasn't eaten recently he'll turn his head and chew a few times like something's in his mouth. As far as I'm aware nothing is there unless he's ate then there could be food there that he's working on.
I'm trying not to fuss over him to much as he seems to be getting stressed by that but I'm also worried about losing him even though he seems fine other than he just seems to feel blah and the chewing thing. I could be just seeing him soon after he's eaten and being anxious about it as him getting choked like that scared me and finding out he got choked so badly he pooped has me even more concerned. Thanks for reading all of these and offering suggestions and advice. I'm still trying to decide if I should put a call into the vet for an appointment to get him checked out and make sure he didn't aspirate anything. I don't hear a wheezing or anything but his breathing seems a little off to me. My Mom seems to think it's fine though.
 

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Have his teeth been checked recently? Teeth grinding is generally indicative of dental pain.
 
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