Hi, I am not sure if this is what you called "hairball" problem.
This doesn't happened often. I've only seen it twice.
My cat would act like as if she's choking or trying to puke. It last a few seconds, and then it's gone.
Is it hairball? If yes, is it life threatening?
My cat only have med. length hair. I brush it once a week. I don't see her grrom herself excessively and I feed her only cat food.
(ps. but I feed her a little bit of yogurt once a while.. just a little bit, only becoz she LOVES yogurt so much. .. she come dashing to me every time she hears me taking out yogurt from the refridgerator. I don't know what sound yogurt makes but she knows its yogurt even from the other room. that's .. scary)
You can get kitty treats that are formulated for hairballs--then just give her those occassionally instead of switching her food. There is also a hairball remedy gel that you can put on her paw--make sure that you mash it into the fur really good so she doesn't fling it off onto the floor--the gel helps eliminate hairballs. My cat "coughs" like that all of the time.
Hairballs are very common in cats; it is very painful to a cat when they are trying to bring up a hairball. You can tell if it is a hairball, there will be some of there hair and digestive food. But you can prevent them by buying treats that are for hairballs and brushing daily would help prevent them. If it is digestive food your cat is throwing up, then is can be allergic to the food. If it is yellow liquid then it can be a sign your cat is really sick. And hairballs are not a health concern because there are ways you can prevent them.