Today here on the Leesville Animal Hospital blog, we want to talk about cat hairballs! We know, it’s not the most pleasant topic, but it’s one that’s important to understand if you are a cat parent or plan on being one in the near future!
What Are Cat Hairballs?
If you have ever owned a cat, you are more than likely familiar with the sight and sound of hairballs. If, however, you are new to cat ownership, you may find yourself wondering “What are hairballs?” “How can I stop my cat from getting hairballs?” and “Are hairballs dangerous to my cat?” So today, we would like to answer those questions for you.
What Are Hairballs?
Cats are animals that frequently groom themselves. You have likely seen your cat licking his or her paws or coat as part of their daily grooming cycle. As your cat licks their fur, however, they tend to ingest and fur that comes loose during the process. Much of this hair is excreted when your cat goes to the bathroom; however, this is not always the case. Occasionally balls of hair aka hairballs can build up and cause your cat to vomit. These hairballs are literally that – balls of hair that have accumulated as a result of the self-grooming process.
How Can I Stop My Cat From Getting Hairballs?
Hairballs are a fairly common occurrence in cats and some cats are more prone to getting them. In particular, cats that have long coats or cats that groom quite rapidly are more likely to get hairballs. There are a few things that cat owners can do to reduce the chance of hairballs in their cats however including: frequent grooming or brushing to help to remove loose hair, feeding a fiber-rich (hairball formula) cat food to help pass any hair through the digestive tract and feeding a diet that is rich in fatty acids to help maintain a healthy coat.
Are Hairballs Dangerous to My Cat?
While most cats vomit up occasional hairballs with little concern, there are occasions when hairballs can become impacted and cause intestinal blockage. In cases like this, it is often necessary to perform surgery to remove the blockage and prevent any further internal damage. Symptoms of hairball blockage include coughing, gagging, loss of appetite, constipation and the vomiting of hair and mucus.
Are Cat Hairballs a Problem in Your Home?
If your cat has a problem with hairballs and you can’t seem to get to the bottom of it, drop by and pay us a visit here at Leesville Animal Hospital. You can find us at 9309 Leesville Rd., Raleigh, NC 27613 or you can call us today at (919)870-7000!