Ragdoll Cats and Hairball Problems

Ragdoll Cats and hairball problems

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

May 24, 2022

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Ragdolls can get hairballs just like any other cat, but they are especially prone to them because of their long fur.  Here are some tips to help prevent hairballs in your ragdoll cat:


What Causes Ragdolls to Have Hairballs?

Hairballs, or furballs, are created when the cat’s stomach muscles contract and push the hair, fur, and other materials that the cat eats back up into its stomach.

With a long haired cat breed, the chances of a hairball forming multiply.

A Robot That Eats Your Cat's Poop

Domestic cats spend around 30%–50% of their day grooming themselves. Grooming is an important activity for keeping cats clean, but it also helps to calm them down. Cats have hook-like protrusions on their tongues (papillae) that help them get a good grip on the loose hair they lick off of their fur. This hair is made mostly of keratin, which mammals can’t digest, so most of the fur that cats groom ends up being swallowed and passed along unprocessed in feces later on.

Normally, when a cat swallows loose hair, it can go through the digestive system without noticing it, you’ll only know your cat has a furball when it is expelled by vomiting.

Ragdoll Cat hairball


How Can You Prevent Ragdolls from Having Hairballs?

You can help your Ragdoll reduce hairball problems by brushing your cat regularly – thus helping to remove the excess fur it might swallow. In the case of a kitten, it is preferably to brush daily, so you’ll build the habit of brushing your cat, making things easier in the long run.

It is important to know when your cat’s shedding season is, as this is the time to brush them regularly to avoid furballs.

A good diet will also help prevent cat furball problems, as it will help keep the coat in good shape and prevent excessive shedding. Feed your ragdoll a high-quality diet that includes fiber. This will help it move the food through its system quickly, which will help avoid hairballs.

There are some good quality cat food on the market that claim to help reduce furballs. See our guide to the best cat food for hairballs and vomiting

Best Cat Food for Hairballs and Vomiting

What are the Symptoms of a Ragdoll with a Hairball?

When a cat licks their fur, the hair goes through its digestive system and is then eliminated. Sometimes when there is too much fur in the cat’s stomach, they will vomit the hairball. A cat hairball looks like a wet sausage-like form on the floor.

The sole act of expulsing the cat’s hairball can bring concern as you see your cat hacking and vomiting.


How Can You Treat a Ragdoll with a Hairball?

If your Ragdoll cat is having trouble passing hairballs, there are a few things you can do to help.

If your cat is having trouble passing a hairball, there are several laxative pastes available that help by lubricating the ingested hair, allowing it to move through the digestive tract and pass in the cat’s stool. Some of these pastes come in a range of tasty flavors such as tuna or catnip, and are easy to apply – with some users placing the gel on their cats’ noses or paws which they will be compelled to lick off. Vaseline also does the same job but it may not be as palatable for your cat.

Tomlyn Laxatone Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats and Kittens
$20.46 ($4.81 / oz)

Gentle hairball remedy for cats: Tomlyn Laxatone oral gel helps eliminate and prevent cat furballs. Hairball gel contains vet-formulated lubricants including soybean oil; Omega -3, -6, and -9 Fatty Acids.

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Cats also have an instinct to know what helps them, so in cases where they are having trouble passing a furball, they may choose to eat grass outside. You can help your Ragdoll Cat by keeping a pot of cat grass available for them to eat in your home.

Cat Grass


When Should I Worry About My Cat’s Hairballs?

There are cases where a cat or kitten is unable to eliminate the hairball through the stool or vomiting, in these cases a blockage in the intestine can form, producing constipation.  You should seek a veterinarian immediately because sometimes the only way to get rid of the furball is through surgery. Symptoms of a potential blockage include:

  • repeated unproductive retching
  • lethargy
  • lack of appetite
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

If your cat has frequent hairballs, it may be an indication of health problems, such as anxiety, allergies or an imbalanced gut microbiome.


Ragdolls are a breed of cat that can be prone to having hairballs. There are things you can do to help prevent them from having hairballs and things you can do if they do have a hairball.

Find out more about health issues in Ragdoll Cats

Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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