Whether this is your first cat family member, or you have a long legacy of felines, cat owners know that hairballs are a common issue. While some cats may not struggle with hairballs, others, typically long-haired felines, fight an ongoing fur-filled battle. If this is the case for your cat, the good news is that hairballs are a solvable problem! Read on to learn about the ins and outs of dealing with hairballs.
1. WHY DO CATS GET HAIRBALLS?
Cat owners know that their furry companions like to stay clean which means they constantly lick their fur to keep it fresh and healthy. However, this behaviour can cause cats to ingest some of their own fur. The build-up of hair can result in hairballs that form in a cat’s digestive tract.
While hairballs aren’t inherently dangerous, they can cause some health problems. Most cats will throw up the hairballs while others may pass them in their stool. We may not be able to completely stop hairballs from occurring, but there are a few things we can do to help our pets.
2. HOW CAN I HELP?
Whether or not your cat is currently experiencing hairballs, there are a few things you can do to help prevent them from happening:
- Grooming: While our cats are the grooming pros, you can help decrease the amount of ingested hair by brushing your cat’s fur. Brushing your cat’s fur 1-2 times a week can help eliminate the build-up of excess hair that could possibly be digested which will help to decrease the number of formed hairballs. Most cats love the extra attention and enjoy the sensation of the brush! If you have a long-haired cat, this step is a must. If you’re noticing that your cat is compulsively grooming, grooming constantly without needing to, discourage the behaviour. Focus your cat’s attention elsewhere with a toy or loving pats.
- Hairball Products: If you notice hairballs are becoming a problem (and you will because your furry friend will leave a trail for you) you can find a hairball product to help aid your cat’s digestion. Some are mild laxatives that will help your cat pass the hair and allow for better litter box health. All options help with your cat’s fur which should reduce shedding and, therefore, help reduce hairball experiences. Most of these products are a jelly-like substance that you can place on your cat’s paw. Because they are groomers, they will lick the substance off and ingest the needed help. This is a great step to take if you are noticing your cat is consistently throwing up hairballs or struggling to pass stool that contains hair.
- Diet: Changing your cat’s diet is one of the best options we have in the fight against hairballs, and we’ve come a long way with cat food. From dry to wet to treats, our cats and kittens can have it all. There are several options out there that incorporate hairball help directly into the food. These products are generally high in fiber to help your cat pass fur build-up with ease. Our Wellness CORE dry food can help you thanks to the increased dietary fiber and omega fatty acids to support hairball control. Furthermore our recipes are easily digestible with prebiotics and dietary fiber for optimal nutrient absorption and digestive health.
3. THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN IT COMES TO HAIRBALLS
When it comes to hairballs, there are typical behaviours to look for. Cats will cough and or retch until they are able to vomit up the hairball, however, sometimes they won’t actually expel the mass. In this case, they will simply dislodge it and continue as if nothing has happened.
While hairballs are typically a normal sign of grooming, hairballs can become serious if our cats can’t expel them from their system. Here are some signs that tell us something is up:
- Repeatedly retching, gagging, or coughing without throwing up a hairball
- Lack of appetite
If you see any of these changes with your pet, call your vet and set up an appointment.
Whether you choose to buy hairball cat food or focus on other options, your cat will thank you for the help!