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How the Experts Do Cat Grooming As a Health Check and Prevent Hairballs From Happening

Grooming sessions are the perfect time to check your cat for potential health problems. After all, the sooner you catch a problem, the better chance that your veterinarian has to fix it.

So, while grooming, look for the following symptoms:

- lumps, sores, or tender areas anywhere on her body or changes in her fur or skin

- excess discharge from her eyes, signs of squinting, or other abnormal eye appearance.

- excess discharge from her nose

- excess discharge or sore or red areas in her ears

- cuts or other abnormalities on her feet

- redness or sores on her gums, loose teeth, lumps in the mouth or drooling

Proper grooming is important throughout your cat's life but especially so in her senior years. As your cat ages, stiffening joints and waning energy may make it difficult for your old friend to groom herself.

The infamous hairball is formed when your cat ingests hair while licking herself. Her stomach cannot digest the hairs, and they gloom together into a ball. As owners know all too well, most cats cough up their hairballs.

Sometimes, though, hairballs cause vomiting, constipation, and loss of appetite, and in severe cases they must be surgically removed. You can protect your cat from these problems by brushing her frequently, especially when she is shedding, and by feeding food designed to prevent hairballs. If the problem is frequent or severe, talk to your vet.

When humidity is low, especially in winter with the heat on in the house, you can get quite a charge out of your cat, a charge of static electricity. To reduce the chock, try rubbing a small amount of no rinse conditioner for cats into her fur. You also might consider adding moisture to your home with a humidifier.

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