Hairballs are gross — especially if you wake up to find one that’s been left on your floor — but they’re a typical part of your cat’s grooming process. As your cat cleans himself he swallows hair which collects in his stomach. This hair is usually expelled in clumps back through your cat’s mouth or mixed in with your cat’s feces. While most cats get hairballs, they can cause many serious health issues for your cat, but you can help him out by maintaining a healthy diet, making sure he is well hydrated and brushing him regularly.
Hairballs typically come out by themselves and only require cleanup on your part, but if they don’t come out properly, your cat can have a variety of internal issues.
- If there is too much hair inside your cat’s stomach, it may not be able to fit through his digestive tract. If this happens, your cat’s intestines can become blocked, and he will need surgery.
- If cats eat hair other than their own, such as human hair, it may not bunch up with the rest of his hair and can come out separately in a long strand.
Your cat’s diet is important not just to keep him healthy, but to make sure that he can pass hairballs properly. Every cat’s needs are different, so before buying whatever cat food looks best, consult with your vet about what type of food your cat should be eating based on his breed, weight, age and similar factors.
If your cat has a hairball problem, your vet can help you find hairball control foods that are high in fiber; again, don’t try this yourself. Drastically changing your cat’s diet on a whim can cause digestion problems.
Brushing helps lessen the amount of hair your cat swallows when he cleans himself, and it usually feels pretty good too. The tricky part is if your cat doesn’t like brushing, but you might be able to slowly train him to accept it. Start by using a grooming glove, then work your way up to normal brushes in very short sessions so your cat can acclimate.
Make sure your cat always has a source of fresh, clean water. There are a few reasons this is important: your cat can get a drink whenever he needs and stay properly hydrated, and you can also monitor his drinking habits to check on his health; sudden increases or decreases in water consumption usually mean something is wrong. Water also helps hairballs pass easier so they won’t get stuck in your cat’s throat or intestines.
If you have trouble getting your cat to drink, move his food bowl away from his water bowl; many cats don’t like it when their food is too close to their water. You can also try purchasing a pet fountain, as the running water is often more appealing to cats and can interest them in drinking more. To learn more, contact a company like Animal Clinic of Buena with any questions you have.Read More