“I love grooming myself. I lick, lick, lick and feel so much cleaner when done. Although I may swallow a bit of hair – okay, maybe A LOT of hair – that’s just what we do. In it goes and sometimes, I cough it back up. It’s not fun and it isn’t pretty. But we cats deserve respect so what can my human do to help us out?” — yakitty yak kat
April’s last Friday is Hairball Awareness Day
Hairballs aren’t the most pleasant things to deal with and they can show up in all sorts of animals. Felines get ’em, rabbits get ’em, and cows get ’em too. However, today, we’re going to be focusing on our beloved pet cats.
So what is a hairball? Basically, when cats groom themselves, they are licking up their fur and swallowing it. In a healthy cat, their hair usually passes through the digestive tract, no problem, and reappears in the litter box. Unfortunately, this is not the path for all cat fur so the ones that don’t see their timely exit will just build up into a clump in the stomach, awaiting to be regurgitated.
All cats are susceptible to hairballs but some are more prone than others. Long-haired cats, cats who shed easily, and cats who excessively groom themselves are more likely to get hairballs. On the other hand, kittens are less likely to get hairballs because they have less hair and their grooming skills haven’t developed completely.
Hairballs are especially common in the spring and early summer because cats are shedding off their winter coats. However, hairballs in general aren’t supposed to be a common occurrence. Healthy cats have maybe two hairballs a year as their digestive tracts are supposed to be able to handle normal amounts of hair.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Common signs include:
Common symptoms include:
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of energy / very tired
No need to fear! There are preventative measures that you can take to help your cat out. The key is to keep the digestive tract lubricated. You can purchase special cat treats and switch to high-fiber cat food. Some people even put Vaseline on their cats noses so it gets licked right up. Sometimes, a laxative could come in handy as well – you can find these products at your local pet store. Last but not least, and most recommended option is to groom your cat regularly. They will appreciate the attention and it reduces the amount of hair your cat will swallow.
If hairballs go untreated, the end result isn’t pretty. They can cause blockages in the stomach and throat. Plus, they can get so big that they require surgical removal. If you notice the signs and symptoms of hairballs but aren’t seeing any being produced, go and get that checked out by a veterinarian. In rare cases, frequent coughing or vomiting of hairballs may be a sign of other medical issues.
At Kiringie.me, we promote responsible pet ownership and hairball awareness and prevention is one part of that. It’s not the most appealing subject to talk about but we’re sure your cat will love you all the more for learning to help them through it and aren’t we all searching for some pet lovin’?
Have you found a natural hairball remedy that has been ideal for your cat? Let us know in the comments below so others can benefit from your good experience.