Tips for Dealing With Cat Hairballs
Cats love to keep themselves tidy and do so by licking themselves clean. The excess fur attaches to the tongue and typically passes through the digestive system with no issues. Hair that stays in the stomach however can eventually form cat hairballs.
Cats try to expel these hairballs through behaviors such as retching, gagging, and hacking. The only problem then is cleaning them up. Sometimes, your cat won’t be able to get rid of the hairball. This can possibly lead to a blockage in the intestinal track, which is definitely a serious concern.
With all of the excess hair they have, longer-haired breeds like Maine Coons and Persians usually have to deal with hairballs more often. Cats have different personalities though. Some just groom themselves way more often than usual and can develop hairballs more often also.
You as an owner can help minimize problems with hairballs by grooming your cat yourself on a regular basis. Brushing will remove a lot of the excess fur and leave less for your cat to ingest when he does groom. This is a great bonding activity also. If you have a cat who grooms himself too much, then you may want to do something to discourage that behavior. See if providing a new toy or two will take his mind off of grooming.
There are specially-formulated foods designed to prevent hairballs in cats. These foods may have a bit more fiber than usual. This works to lessen the amount of fur our cat sheds as well as improve the overall health of the coat.
If you’re dealing with cat hairballs, then you should also understand the importance of keeping your cat hydrated. Make sure that there is enough water out for your cat to consume at all times. Water is needed for the intestinal tract to stay running smoothly and well-lubricated.
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible for hairballs in cats to lead to a serious problem in the form of an intestinal blockage. A swollen abdomen, constipation, and diarrhea are common signs that this is an issue. Cats may also show a lack of interest in grooming or eating.