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 in cats.
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 behavior can cause cats to ingest some of their own fur. The buildup 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.
How To Help A Cat With Hairballs
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 buildup 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 behavior. 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. Wellness Pet offers their own Hairball Control formula in their dry food options. When searching for a hairball cat food, read the labels and see what your pet needs. Some offer preventative measures while others will reduce the potential for future hairballs. If you're unsure, contact your vet for help.
Things to Look Out for When it Comes to Hairballs
When it comes to hairballs, there are typical behaviors 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! Check out Wellness Hairball Control with Wholesome Grains to get your cat's digestive health back on track.