Yes, cats are adorable, hairballs however not so much. Cats are known self-groomers, always working to keep their fur clean and in order. As a kitten grows into a full grown feline, the amount of fur to deal with grows exponentially. This, in turn, means coping with hairballs.
As a cat licks itself, its tiny sandpaper-like tongue acts as a means to groom out the loose fur it has. This fur is then swallowed and enters the gastrointestinal tract. It generally exits in the cat’s feces, but not always. The fur that does not get passed ends up staying lodged in the stomach until being vomited out, aka a hairball.
Helping to Diminish
- Ensure your cat is entertained. The more active a cat is the less likely it is to groom itself in an excessive way.
- Groom your cat every few days to help reduce the amount of fur consumed by your cat.
- Cat food. Certain foods help the cat to pass along swallowed fur. Talk with your Veterinarian to find the right food for your cat.
- Supplements. Certain ones may help your cat with passing it out. Talk with your veterinarian to help with the right supplement choice.
Do know that hairballs are a normal event with a cat. They are especially normal during season change such as winter to spring, as the cat is shedding its heavier winter coat. It’s normal to see a few hairballs during this time, but if your cat is excessively getting rid of hairballs then it may be time to take them to your veterinarian.
Hairballs that do not make their way back up can also cause gastrointestinal issues for your cat. You will want to bring your cat to your veterinarian If you begin to notice symptoms such as
- Change in appetite
- Excessive retching or gagging
If you find your cat is starting to groom itself beyond normal reason, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an exam. We hope you find these tips useful when it comes to dealing with your feline friend and their hairballs!