What you need to know about Cat Hairballs

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Cat hairballs are the inevitable side effect of your feline and its fastidious approach to personal grooming.

Cats will typically spend a couple of hours each day grooming themselves and each time they do this they ingest loose hairs from their coats.

When they swallow the hairs, they will sometimes remain in their stomach instead of being passed through the digestive tract.

The hair then will irritate the stomach and the cat will regurgitate the matted mass of fur.

Do All Cats Develop Hairballs?

Long and medium-haired cats are more prone to developing fur balls than their short-haired friends.

Some cats also tend to be more obsessive about grooming than others too and these super-groomers are more likely to develop cat hairballs.

What do Cat Hairballs Look Like?

Hairballs, also known trichobezoars, are usually cylindrical bundles of matted cat fur.

Symptoms of Cat Hairballs

There are a range of symptoms that your cat may experience if they are having problems with fur balls.

Some of the more obvious symptoms include:

  • Retching
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting.

Other more subtle symptoms of fur balls include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Dairrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen abdomen,

It is normal for all cats to have the occasional hairball, but if you notice any of the above symptoms, you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Frequent cat hairballs or any of the above symptoms could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Preventing Cat Hairballs

  • Daily brushing – daily brushing of your cat’s coat will help to remove many of the loose hairs that can lead to fur balls.

If your cat dislikes being brushed, there are hand mitts that can be purchased from animal grooming centres.

Regular brushing will help prevent many of the loose hairs ending up in your kitty’s tummy and it is a great way to bond with your cat too.

Discouragement – if you notice that your cat is quite compulsive about its grooming, try to discourage it from doing so.

Use distraction to prevent the cat from constantly licking its coat.

  • Diet – A high fibre diet will help to reduce formation of cat hairballs.

In addition, there are cat foods that help minimise shedding and improve the skin.

Adding catnip or cat grass to your kitty’s diet also serves as a natural solution to fur balls.

Keep a pot plant filled with catnip to add to your cat’s meals. Another alternative is including pumpkin, which is high fibre in their diet.

With a little attention to grooming and diet, you can help reduce the effect that cat hairballs have on your beloved kitty.

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Author: Mindy Jamison

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