Unless you have a cat that’s bald, you’ve probably experienced some hairball hacking. When your cat has a hairball, it’s unpleasant to say the least, but it can also be distressing because you might think something more serious is going on. Learning how to recognize the signs and knowing what to do will help you, and your cat, through this natural process.
Why Do They Get Hairballs?
Hairballs develop when your cat grooms herself by licking her fur and swallowing the loose hairs. The rough barbs on your cat’s tongue help to bring up the debris in her fur, but since they are angled backward toward her throat, they don’t allow things to go anywhere but down. The hairs that are ingested eventually collect together and form a mat or ball in her digestive system.
Hairballs are common among long-haired cats, but shorthairs can suffer from hairballs too. Ideally, your cat will be able to pass the hairball as part of the normal elimination process and not have an issue. But when this is not the case, cats will usually upchuck the hairball. While not charming, the problem is solved. However, every so often a hairball can cause more harm if it blocks the pathway for food to enter the stomach or if it causes constipation as it travels through the intestines.
When your cat is trying to bring up a hairball, it might sound like a dry cough or something is stuck in her throat. She may also throw up some food or fluid during the process. The other sign could be a bout of constipation as she is passing a hairball through her bowels.
How to Deal with Hairballs
There are several things you can do help your cat with hairballs. Frequent grooming is the best way to help prevent cat hairballs. Daily brushings will help eliminate many stray hairs as well as keep her skin heathy and her fur free of mats or tangles.
Once a hairball forms, you can help her pass it quickly with products that act both as a lubricant and a laxative. Specially formulated paste products can be very effective, and cats are receptive to the taste. These can be added to her food or put on her paw to be licked off.
Many of today’s cat foods are also formulated to prevent recurring hairballs. They will have a higher fiber content to help your cat’s elimination process remain strong and efficient and able to pass a hairball. Another prevention product would be a functional soft chew treat with oils to break up the hairballs and prevent blockages. These two options are mainly for cats who have hairballs frequently and need some assistance to prevent further problems.
Ask your veterinarian about a course of action that makes sense for your cat. Every cat is different and will respond to the products differently.
Under the Weather is also an avid participant in the pet overpopulation cause. A portion of every sale is channeled to the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund which finances the transportation of pets from overpopulated shelters around the U.S.A. to Vermont for adoption. The fund also covers the cost of spaying and neutering these animals. Get to know more about Ruffy and the inspiration for our company.
View Our Products
Visit Our Blog Library