Causes and Remedies for Cat Hairballs

If there is one thing that we've learned as cat owners, it's that hairballs happen. When they do, it's never a pleasant sight or sound. Some may wonder what exactly causes these hairballs and what can be done about it. Denver Pro Pet Sitting is here to enlighten you on the subject!

Why do cats get hairballs?

Although hairballs may be disturbing, they are a natural consequence of a healthy cat's grooming procedure. If your cat has licked you before, you may have noticed that their tongue is similar to sandpaper. This is due to little hook-like structures on their tongue. When they groom themselves, their hair gets stuck to their tongue and they end up swallowing it. While most of the hair makes its way through the entire digestive tract with no issues, some of it gets stuck which eventually evolves into a hairball. Typically, cats are able to vomit out these out.

Common symptoms of cat hairballs

Common hairball symptoms include gagging and forceful coughing. Typically, these are not to worry about as the cat usually ends up ridding the hairball shortly after. Some symptoms that should be handled with more caution include persistent vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, constipation and diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing these issues, this could indicate a potential life-threatening blockage. Seek a veterinarian's opinion or emergency care depending on the circumstance.

Remedies for hairballs

Although there is no way to completely eliminate hairballs, there are some remedies that help reduce the amount of occurrences. These include:

1) Feeding your cat special hairball formula food. These foods include lots of fiber which helps hairballs pass through cat's digestive tract with more ease. Additionally, these hairball formulas improve your cat's fur health and minimize shedding.

2) Brush and groom your cat regularly. This assists them with their own grooming that ends in a mouth and stomach full of hair. The more hair you can help remove, the better the chance your cat won't develop hairballs.

3) When all else fails, veterinarian approved products such as mild laxatives can be used. If your cat continually has hairball issues that can't be remedied otherwise, you may have to use a cat safe laxative to assist in passing through the hair that they digest. Consult your veterinarian before doing this to ensure safety.