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Helping Cats Handle Hairballs


cat licking pawHairballs are as synonymous with cats as whiskers or napping. For one reason or another, of all the strange habits cats could be known for, spitting out wads of fur could somehow become a defining characteristic of their species. Are you aware of the reasons they do this? Do you know why cats typically struggle with hairballs? Here’s what to know and how you can help your cat handle hairballs.


House pets shed, such as dogs and bunnies and mice, but cats tend to be the only ones who struggle with their fur. Felines are generally thought of as being very clean, and this is something that holds true. Part of the reason for this is their meticulous grooming regiment that involves licking pretty much every inch of their body throughout the day. And with only a tongue to do the licking, you could understand why some of that fur would wind up in their stomach.


Usually, since a bit of hair will be swallowed, no problems occur. The cat will just let it pass through their system without complications, completely unhindered by anything or anyone. At least, that’s the goal anyway. Sometimes enough hair is collected all at once that a rather large wad is formed (a “wad” is a scientific term for “ball” of course). When the hairball becomes so large that it’s causing problems, your cat will either become constipated and have trouble passing it, or they’ll start hacking and weezing until they spit out a nice, nasty hairball.


Generally, this is just the norm for cats. No cat is immune to hairballs save for perhaps the Sphinx as they’re a breed that has no hair (though they have their own special grooming needs). The only time you’ll find a significant problem is if your cat has become sluggish for a prolonged period of time or seems to be constipated for over a day. If that seems to be the case, it’s time to go see the vet.


There are steps you can take to reduce the chance of a hairball occurring though. Longhaired cats are most commonly the victims of hairballs, so breeds like Himalayans or Persians need to be groomed regularly to avoid the likely chance of a buildup. The importance of grooming goes along with pretty much every cat, so the more regularly they get a good brushing, the less likely loose hairs will be swallowed and formed into hairballs.


Another simple thing you can do to try and help your cat with hairballs is to add more fiber to their diet. As with every mammal, fiber is just one of those things that assists in everything, so the more your cat has in their diet, the simpler it is for them to pass any possible blockages. There are laxatives you can give them, though it’s best to talk to a veterinarian about when to finally go ahead and help speed things along. Also, if your cat seems to be suffering from chronic bouts of hairballs, it’s important to go to a veterinarian as soon as possible as it could be an indication of a larger problem.


Dealing with hairballs is just something you’ll have to deal with your kitty as it’s a part of feline life. Don’t panic every time it occurs, and don’t blame your cat when he or she coughs up a present. Take some steps to prevent it and deal with it as it happens, and overall your cat will live a happy, healthy life!



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