Cats and Hairballs

October 6, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

If you are a cat owner, hairballs are a part of life. Why do hairballs form, what are the warning signs, and how can they be prevented? This is important information that all feline owners should know.

 

Cats are persnickety self-groomers, and this habit is the source of swallowing loose fur. This is usually no cause for alarm because most felines will either vomit the hair or pass it in their stool. However, sometimes the hairballs become too large for a cat’s digestive tract. This leads to intestinal blockage which can be life-threatening. All cats get hairballs but most problems occur with long-haired breeds such as Persians and Himalayans.

 

Look for these hairball warning signs to determine if your kitty needs medical attention.

 

  1. Continued heaving or vomiting that does not lead to the discharge of a hairball

 

  1. Frequent diarrhea

 

  1. Loss of appetite after repeated hairball incidents

 

These symptoms could mean that the throat, stomach, or intestines are obstructed.

 

Here are some tips to help prevent hairballs or at least large, dangerous ones.

 

  1. Help with the grooming – Brush your cat with a soft, rubbery brush to loosen some of the fur. Then go over your pet with a fine-tooth comb to get rid of the excess hair.

 

  1. Make changes to their diet – You can purchase specially formulated hairball care food that supports healthy stomach bacteria. Increasing your cat’s fiber intake can also help the hair in passing through the digestive tract.

 

  1. Keep your house clean – String, thread, or similar objects left around the house can get wrapped up with swallowed fur and cause an obstruction.

 

Our job as cat owners is to realize that there will be hairballs but we can take responsible steps to prevent them from turning into a dangerous health hazard.

Cats Hairballs

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