How Are Hairballs Connected to Your Cat’s Gut Health?

For a cat, an occasional regurgitated wad of hair is normal. But, frequent hairballs may be a sign that your cat’s digestive system isn’t moving material along properly. 

When it’s healthy, the digestive tract of a cat can handle a normal amount of fur, easily passing it along until it’s eliminated in their poop. If your cat’s fur builds up into a ball in their stomach, it’s sometimes because the digestive system isn’t able to move it on into the intestines. That movement (motility) requires chemicals produced by certain beneficial bacteria in the gut. Without enough of those important “good” bacteria, the gut microbiome is out of balance, and motility is reduced.

So what is the gut microbiome? It’s a community of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in your cat’s digestive tract and are essential for good health. 

How Does a Cat’s Gut Become Imbalanced?​

A gut microbiome is imbalanced when it’s missing good bacteria, has too many harmful bacteria, or doesn’t have enough diversity. Factors like disease, age, diet, and medications—especially antibiotics—can cause this kind of imbalance in your cat’s gut.  

An imbalanced gut microbiome is one of the factors that can lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). And chronic inflammation can severely disrupt the digestive tract’s ability to move food and hair along normally.

Missing Good Bacteria

Too Many Harmful Bacteria

Not Enough Diversity

How Can You Know What’s Going On in Your Cat’s Gut?

We recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with our at-home KittyBiome™ Gut Health Test.

Gut microbiome testing can give you a detailed understanding of what’s going on in your cat’s gut, revealing any imbalances that may be causing digestive issues like frequent hairballs. 

You send us a small poop sample from your cat, and we do the rest. Using DNA sequencing, our scientists analyze all the types of bacteria in your cat’s poop and compare them to our healthy cat reference set to determine if an imbalance is present. We then provide an interactive online report on your cat’s gut microbiome with personalized diet and supplement recommendations to help relieve symptoms and improve your cat’s digestive and overall health. 

How Can You Restore Your Cat’s Gut and Relieve Their Symptoms?

For cats who suffer from chronic (frequent) hairballs, we recommend our KittyBiome™ Gut Restore Supplement

The supplement introduces an entire community of beneficial cat-specific bacteria to add diversity and bring balance to the gut while relieving symptoms. Our Gut Restore Supplement is a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in an oral capsule. FMT has been shown to improve a wide range of symptoms in cats with chronic digestive issues. Replenishing any missing bacterial populations can often resolve symptoms quickly by restoring a healthy balance to your cat’s gut. If possible, we still recommend testing your cat’s gut microbiome with a Gut Health Test. 

For cats who suffer from occasional hairballs, we recommend our KittyBiome™ S. boulardii + FOS Powder.

This probiotic and prebiotic supplement is designed to support healthy gut function by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. It contains the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, which helps rebalance the gut and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that promotes gut health and immune function by feeding “good” gut bacteria.

Health Tip

Feeding a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to manage your cat’s gut microbiome. If you’ve taken our Gut Health Test, follow the diet recommendations in your cat’s personalized report to support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Since the microbiome is an ever-changing ecosystem that is impacted by multiple factors, including diet and medications, we suggest re-testing your cat’s gut health annually or anytime symptoms arise. A well-balanced gut microbiome will help your cat live a healthier, happier life.

Learn More About Cat Hairballs