Cat Hairballs - Causes, Complications & Prevention
Cats groom themselves frequently, licking their fur all the way down to the tip of their tails. Although cats stay fresh and pretty this way, it causes a very inconvenient problem: cat hairballs. Cat hairballs are the result of wet, ingested hair that will cause your cat to vomit. Hair doesn’t pass easily through the gastrointestinal tract of felines and their bodies do not possess the enzyme to digest it.
Every cat will have at least, and probably way more than one hairball in their life and this is completely normal. However, if you find that your cat has recurrent hairballs, problems could unfortunately develop. Hairballs can block the intestinal tract, making it impossible for her to vomit or eliminate. Signs of impaction include:
• Vomiting of undigested food
• Dry retching
• Inability to defecate
• Swollen Abdomen
If you suspect your cat has this problem, contact a veterinarian immediately. There are several options to resolve impactions, but be prepared—serious blockages may require surgical removal. It’s also important not to wait too long after you notice these symptoms. They can be signs of other serious conditions and should not be taken lightly.
There are a number of ways you can prevent your cat from having frequent hairballs. Follow these tips routinely to keep them from forming:
• Grooming - Cats are constantly grooming themselves and believe it or not, they probably get pretty tired of it. Owners can help them with the grooming process by brushing them often to reduce hair ingestion. It also poses other benefits, such as less hair on the furniture and your clothing!
• Fiber - Providing your cat with an adequate amount of fiber will add bulk and moisture to your cat’s stool, making it easier to pass. Ask your veterinarian for options on how to get fiber into your cat’s diet.
• Water - Water is especially important for every feline’s digestive system. Make sure your cat has some water available to her at all times. It’s important for the water to be fresh and clean so the cat wants to drink.
• Supplement - Use a supplement such as Pet Naturals Hairball For Cats to promote general skin and coat health and ward off hairballs.
If your cat is still having frequent hairballs after grooming her and improving her diet with fiber and water, it would be helpful to talk to a veterinarian. They can provide you with other options to improve the occurrence of hairballs. Most of the time, hairballs are completely harmless and nothing to worry about.
Keep on top of cat hairballs!