There’s no doubt you love your cat, but can the same be said about their hairballs? You may have seen one of those cringe-worthy piles of hair from time to time. Face it; hairballs are an unpleasant fact of cat ownership. This article covers some questions asked about cat hairballs.
WHAT ARE CAT HAIRBALLS?
A hairball (fur ball) is the wad of fur your cat vomits up; it’s a damp wad of unprocessed hair moistened by bile and other digestive fluids. It gets its tubular shape (slender and cylindrical) from getting caught or passing through your cat’s esophagus.
What Causes Cat Hairballs?
Cats are particularly suitable for keeping themselves clean, and they are naturally known for self-grooming. During the self-grooming process, tiny hook-like structures on their tongue will catch loose and dead hair, and then the hair is swallowed. This indigestible hair passes down their throats and into the stomach. Most hair passes through the cats’ digestive system. In some circumstances, the hair remains in the stomach. It can gradually accumulate over time, resulting in the “hairball” the cat regurgitates.
Are cat hairballs normal?
Hairballs are a natural byproduct of grooming and can be considered normal for some cats. However, many healthy cats never or very rarely produce a hairball.
How often do cats have hairballs?
The frequency of hairballs varies from one cat to the next. You will find some cats produce a hairball approximately once a month, while some cats never or very rarely produce a hairball. Cat breeds with longer hair are likely to develop hairballs more frequently than short-haired breeds.
Cats should never have hairballs on a daily or every other day basis. However, suppose you find the vomiting episodes becoming more frequent, or your cat is not eating. In that case, they should see their regular veterinarian for an exam.
Can Hairballs Be Dangerous?
A hairball can be dangerous if stuck somewhere in the digestive tract; it could result in Gastrointestinal blockage.
You should carry your cat to the veterinarian if they have any of these hairball-related symptoms:
What Can You Do to Prevent Hairballs?
There is no method to stop hairballs from forming altogether, but there are a few things you can do to help.
Brushing/Hair Removal - Brushing your cat more frequently is the easiest way to reduce hairballs. The more hair you release, the less the cat will swallow during grooming. It can be beneficial for long-haired cats and older cats.
Digestive Aids & Fiber - Adding digestive enzymes to your cat’s food can help dramatically reduce hairballs. Digestive enzymes make food easier to digest and absorb. As a result, it passes through the body quickly, not allowing hair time to form a ball.
Discourage Excessive Grooming – Some cats groom too much out of sheer boredom. Make sure your house cat has toys to play with or other activities to occupy their time. If they are alone all the time, maybe it’s time to get them a friend.
Although you still may hate hairballs, I hope you have a little more understanding and patience for your feline friend. Taking the extra steps with their diet and grooming practices could significantly reduce hairballs. You also know some vital health signs to look out for to keep your kitty safe.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.