Why do cats get hairballs? When hairballs happen in cats we can get a little nervous, ‘are you okay?’ ‘are you dying?’ ‘omg, what do I do’. The sounds they make can make us as their owners nervous, but hairballs are a part of cat life. So what causes them, is it bad? Let’s find out together!
When your cat grooms himself, tiny hook-like structures on his tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Usually, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. Because hairballs pass through the narrow esophagus on the way out, they often appear thin and tube-like, rather than round
So it’s normal…but I still feel uneasy, what do I do?
Although hairballs are routine for your cat, the size and density may make you uncomfortable. To help your cat have less hairballs, consistent grooming and brushing of their hair will help. When you brush them you help take away some of the loose hair they may have otherwise ingested. Keeping their diet consistent can also help as well as there are special shampoos you can use. Due to their massive size, Maine Coons and Persians on average have more hairballs than the average cat because of the thickness and length of their coat.
Did you know, there are even snacks that can potentially help with hairball control.
Fayie recommends the following below as I personally have use them in the past or current use them
So how do I tell between my cat in serious trouble or just another hairball?
Hairballs are actually quite normal for cats as they self-groom themselves, leaving less work for you to do. Cats on average hack up one hairball a week. Less tactful than you cleaning out your hairbrush to put in the trash, but as cats use their tongue to groom themselves they end up digesting hair. Hairballs are a natural part of a cat’s life, however there are things to look out for which may indicate your cat isn’t at optimum health.
If your cat is having trouble with hairballs, you may need to take it to your local vet to check them out. There are blood test that can determine any liver or kidneys failures.
At times, the vets may recommend an x-ray or ultrasound to make sure there no hidden underlying issues such as a blockage. In most situations, at most you need some laxative to pass the hairballs. However, they should only ever be administered under the direction of a certified vet.
In super rare cases, surgery may be required for hairball blockage.
Other signs that hairballs might be a health issue you should discuss with your vet include constipation, an extraordinary amount of hair in stools, a loss of appetite, and lethargy. Additionally, if you start to see the number of hairballs increase, or you see your cat grooming more often than usual, it might be a sign of a larger skin condition that you should speak to your vet about.
One of the best ways that you are able to do to minimize hairballs is brushing. Constant grooming will really help, it may not eliminate the issue completely, but it will minimize it by removing the loose hair which results in reducing the amount of loose hair your cat ingests. Not only that, you spend quality time with your cat, that’s two birds with 1 stone!