Cat Hairballs And Furballs

Cat Hairballs And Furballs

A cat hairball or furball is something that you may have noticed your cat having on occasion. While it can be quite distressing for you (and the cat) when you see them vomit a mass of hair, generally this is nothing to worry about, but there are ways to prevent and treat cat hairballs if you have any concerns.

When a cat grooms themselves, they will usually swallow a little bit of hair. While some of the hair passes through the digestive tract without any issues coming out as a stool, there are times when the hair collects in the stomach. After enough hair has accumulated within the stomach, it develops into a hairball which the cat will vomit as a long tube mass of hair.

If you are concerned your cat has hairballs, it is usually no reason to panic. Furballs are common for most cats, regardless of the length of their hair. However, it is not normal for cats to vomit on a regular basis. If your cat is not eating or the vomiting becomes more persistent, it is important to get in contact with a vet for an exam. It's also crucial to note that in some cats, hairballs can be so large they may cause an obstruction in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is why the cat may not be eating as much, if at all. There are also other underlying causes that could cause your cat to vomit such as parasites, bacterial overgrowth, or inflammatory bowel disease.

What Can I Do if My Cat Has Furballs?

If your cat is coughing up hairballs regularly, you need to get in contact with your vet. There are remedies and treatments that you may want to try, such as over-the-counter hairball cat food which is high in fibre to help the problem along. There are also gels that are fed orally to help the hair bind in your cat’s stomach so they can pass it through the GI tract.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Having Hairballs?

Grooming is one of the best ways to reduce hairballs. By brushing or combing their coat, it will help to remove any loose hair which will reduce the overall hair in your cat’s stomach. While grooming is a habit your cat will undergo to clean themselves, if you can reduce the size of the hairball formations in their stomach, this will reduce the temptation for them to self-groom but not get rid of it completely. If possible, brush your cat on a daily basis, especially if you have a long-haired cat. Brushing on a regular basis removes tangles or matted hair that your cat will try to remove on their own.

Hairballs are not normally a cause for concern, but you can help reduce the potential for hairballs by grooming your cat on a regular basis. Not only does it reduce or prevent furballs, but it also gives you some proper quality time with your cat. The next time you see your cat throw up a hairball there is no need to be concerned, but you may want to spend a bit more time with your cat grooming them, just to be sure.

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