The hacking gag, often followed by a blob of spittle, or worse, most commonly signifies a furball in a cat. While this is a common issue and quite normal, especially for long-haired animals, it is still distressing to see your cat go through the eviction process. It is also unpleasant to clean up when the evicted mess lands on your carpet.
When a cat grooms, a generous amount of loose fur is licked from their coats. Unable to spit the fur from their mouths, the cat must swallow it and it accumulates in the stomach. When the fur forms a significant mass, a furball results and this is what the cat must purge.
Furballs, while rarely a problem for your cat, are far from desirable. Here are a few tips for helping reduce the frequency of furballs in your cat.
o Regularly groom your pet. Begin when they are a kitten and they will love the process. Introducing an older cat to it may cause distress to both cat and owner. There are a variety of products on the market. I find that a soft, long-bristled brush is most effective on my long-haired cat, while my short-haired cat responds better to a grooming mitt with rubber prongs. As you groom periodically remove the dislodged hair from the brush or mitt's surface to maintain its effectiveness.
o During the moulting seasons - most notably when they shed the summer coat in autumn and lose their winter coat in spring - add half a teaspoon of vegetable oil mixed in with their food, once every few days. This helps lubricate the digestive tract and enables the fur to pass more easily through their system without requiring vomiting.
o Invest in a cat food or cat treats designed to help prevent or treat furballs. My favourite product to use is furball treats made in Holland. My cats love them more than catnip treats! They are safe, enjoyable, and a lovely way to show your affection and look after their health. They have the dual purpose of preventing furballs and treating cats who've already developed furballs.
These few simple steps can eliminate furball issues, or at least dramatically minimize the frequency of them occurring. Furballs, on occasion may cause a problem whereby it triggers an irritation of the digestive tract or where the animal is unable to expel the mass. These cases are not common, and if they occur, a veterinarian consultation is necessary. Always monitor your pet for any signs of associated illness such as loss of appetite, weight loss, or apathy. These can signify a more serious furball issue or other health issue that requires the advice of a vet.
Belinda Osgood is a writer who enjoys working from home in the company of numerous pets, including two cats. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pets