In most cases, hairballs are no big deal. Sure, they’re pretty gross to think about, and it’s obviously uncomfortable for your best friend, but the occasional hairball is usually no cause for alarm. Like anything, though, there are exceptions to the rule. In rare cases, hairballs can become so severe that they create a life-threatening bowel obstruction for your cat. This is why we always stress the importance of hairball prevention. It’s not that we think every case is quite that bad; it’s that we don’t want yours to be the one case that actually is.
Know the Cause
The first step to preventing anything is understanding what causes it in the first place. Obviously, any cat is susceptible to hairballs. When they groom themselves, they’re bound to swallow some portion of that hair. Most of it should pass through the intestines with no trouble, however. What doesn’t pass freely with contribute to the overall problem of hairballs.
Other catalysts that make your cat more vulnerable to hairballs include:
- Having long hair
- Having anxiety (in cats, anxiety can lead to nervous overgrooming habits)
- Poor diet (dietary imbalance won’t cause hairballs, but it can make the problem worse)
When your cat has a hairball, you will notice a variety of strange behaviors, including coughing, hacking, wretching, wheezing, vomiting or diarrhea, poor appetite, low energy, a bloated belly, & more.
What Pet Owners Can Do to Help Prevent Hairballs
If you have a long hair cat, a little bit of brushing will go a long way. You should also feed your cat a diet that is high in fiber and other essential nutrients that keep the gastrointestinal tract moving the way it should. Speak with your family veterinarian about the best diet options for your cat, or choose a commercial cat food that is specially formulated for indoor cats. A bit of cat grass will also help.
If you’ve noticed that your beloved feline friend is coughing up more hairballs than you’re comfortable seeing, give us a call. Don’t ignore the problem when there are so many easy solutions available to you. Contact us today at 352-567-2669 to discuss your cat’s hairball problem with one of our veterinarians.