How to Reduce your Cat’s Hairballs
by Ian Germann
Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, which causes them to ingest loose hair. While most ingested hair passes through the digestive system and exits the body as feces, some hair may accumulate in the stomach and form a ball or mass. When the mass of hair becomes too large to pass through the digestive system, the cat’s body tries to expel it by coughing or vomiting. This results in the cat expelling a cylindrical or oblong-shaped ball of hair, commonly known as a hairball.
While hairballs are a normal part of a cat’s grooming process, they can occasionally cause problems. Large hairballs can cause blockages in the digestive tract, which can lead to vomiting, constipation or even intestinal obstructions that require veterinary intervention. If you notice your cat producing more hairballs than usual, you should consult with your veterinarian as it may be an underlying sign of a more serious condition such as inflammatory bowel disease.
There are also several things you can do to help prevent hairballs in your cat such as…
Regular grooming: Brushing your cat’s coat on a regular basis can help remove loose hair and prevent it from being ingested during grooming. This is particularly important for long-haired cats such as Persians and Maine Coons, who are more prone to hairballs.
Increasing water intake: Making sure your cat is drinking enough water can help keep the digestive system working properly and prevent hairballs from forming.
Reducing Stress: Stress can cause cats to groom themselves excessively, which can lead to an increased risk of hairballs. Providing a calm and stress-free environment for your cat can help reduce the risk of hairballs.
Hairball prevention food: There are several commercial cat foods available that may help prevent hairballs. Evanger’s Hand Packed Whole Uncut Sardines, Complements Vegetarian Dinner, Complements 100% Sweet Potato and EVX Bland Diet are all great choices for cats prone to hairballs. With limited ingredient recipes consisting of natural food, these products come with a high moisture content to promote water intake, and our Complements Sweet Potato & Vegetarian Dinners are packed with fiber to help move hair through the digestive system.
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