Cat Hairballs: What Causes Them, Symptoms and Cures

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Cat Hairballs: What Causes Them, Symptoms and Cures

There are no two ways about it when it comes to hairballs in cats, they are uncomfortable and unpleasant. If your cat grooms themselves, they are likely to get hairballs. Here is how to deal with cat hairballs.

Causes of cat hairballs

We all know hairballs are pretty gross, but they are a result of your cat’s grooming habits. What happens is that when your cat grooms themselves, hair that is loose catches on their tongue and then they swallow it. Most of the hair will go right through their digestive system without any issues but some of it stays in their stomach, forming a ball. What your cat will do then is try to throw up the hairball in an attempt to get rid of it. Cats that are most likely to get hairballs include those with long hair, those who shed a lot and those who constantly groom themselves.

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Symptoms of cat hairballs

It can be a strange experience to watch your cat trying to extract a hairball. The most common telltale signs that your cat has a hairball include gagging, retching and hacking. After a few minutes of this, your cat will normally just end throwing up the hairball and will return to life as normal. However, there are some symptoms you should look for, indications that your veterinarian needs to be called. These symptoms include ongoing vomiting or gagging with no signs of the hairball coming up, lack of appetite, diarrhea, constipation and lethargy. These are signs that the hairball may have caused a serious blockage.

Remedies for cat hairballs

There isn’t anything you can do to prevent your cat from getting hairballs, but you can do some things to lessen their chances of getting hairballs or reduce how often they get them. The most important remedy is to groom your cat on a regular basis. The less hair they have on them, the less that will end up in a ball in their stomach. There are hairball products on the market for cats, mainly mild laxatives that help your cat easily pass a hairball when they have one. Also, some cat food brands make hairball reduction formulas. They are high in fiber and minimizes shedding. The three most popular hairball formula cat foods brands are Purina One Hairball Formula, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control and Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control.

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