Cat hairballs are hair that was not digested, accumulated and coughed out. Cats will either pass hair through their digestive system or the hair will build up in their bodies causing the retching and heaving required to get rid of it. Cat hairballs are masses of fur that form in your cat's stomach. They are one of the most common health problems of cats.
Cat hairballs are a normal phenomenon in feline and there are many ways to manage them. The three most common remedies to help decrease the frequency or size of hairballs are hairball lubricants, fiber supplements, and improved grooming. There are some dry commercial cat foods specially formulated for hairball remedy. The best way, of course, is prevention.
According to some vets who operates a large cat practice, the biggest problems with intestinal lubricants are not using enough each time or not using it frequently enough. In almost all cases, the most effective dose is a two-inch strip from the tube of lubricant twice daily for two days.
With regard to diet, usually, a higher fiber diet can assist in the passage of hair through the digestive tract. Additionally, some pet food companies manufacture food for cats with recurrent cat hair ball problems. Ask your veterinarian about these. Be aware that most cat hairball diets on the market have 2-10 times the normal amount of fiber, which is potentially irritating to the tender lining of the gastrointestinal tract. If you try one of these foods, make the switch gradually, and be sure to watch closely for too-loose or too-dry stools; either may result.
Brushing your cat and helping with its grooming lowers the chance of it swallowing a lot of hair and will help keep its fur shiny, smooth, and free of tangles. The act of licking themselves helps to untangle and remove loose hair. Their tongues are specifically made for the task. Long-haired cats especially need more protection from hairballs.
Cats shed heavily in a change of season especially from winter to spring and summer. Shedding can also be caused by a lack of adequate diet and care. Most cats adore being gently brushed, so keep a cat brush next to each of your favorite chairs. When kitty jumps in your lap, the brush will be handy.
Cat hairballs can only be predicted once a cat starts retching and vomiting. We can only hope that the cat gets that blockage out without trouble. Hairballs are a common problem with cats simply because it is part of their nature to keep themselves clean. In fact there are very few animals that are so meticulous about keeping themselves clean as a cat. Cat Hairballs are made up of all of the tiny hairs that the cat swallows while grooming.
As already stated, although vomiting may be a sign of hairballs, it may also be a sign of other problems, particularly if your cat doesn't bring up hairballs or if it vomits more than about once a week. A visit to the veterinarian may be in order. Longhaired breeds especially need special attention. During the spring when all cats shed, daily brushing is most important.
If vomiting fails to expel a hairball, this hair can get lodged in the stomach or intestine where larger clumps of hair can build up. It can compact with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Impactions are serious business, and sometimes must be removed surgically. At the very least, it could compact and cause constipation. Cat hairballs are considered the leading cause of constipation in cats.
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