Are Some Cats More Likely To Get Hairballs Than Others
Long-haired cats, such as Persians and Maine Coons, are more susceptible to hairballs simply because they have more hair than their short-haired friends. Hairballs may be more common when the weather warms, too, as all cats tend to shed their heavier winter coats. Some cats just naturally groom more often than others as well, which makes them more likely to suffer hairballs.
How Often Do Cats Have Hairballs
Some cat owners think that their pet brings up a hairball every day, but this isnt true. Cats should only get hairballs occasionally, usually less than once a month. Most hairs swallowed from grooming will pass through the digestive system and out into the litter box without a problem.
However, if your cat has hairballs frequently, its worth taking them to see a vet. Numerous cat hairballs could be a symptom of a problem in the gastrointestinal tract in this case, it is best to check this out as soon as possible.
Numerous hairballs in cats can also be a symptom that your cat is over-grooming. Cats tend to over-groom when they are stressed a bit like us biting our fingernails and thus will consume more hair, leading to more hairballs. If you think your cat may be stressed, take them to the vet.
Look Into Hairball Formula Cat Food
Many cat foods provide “hairball formula” variations of their products. These tend to be high in fiber to help maximize the strength of your cat’s coat. It’s supposed to reduce shedding and build the ability to pass through its system so your cat can go about prancing and purring through life.
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How Do Hairballs Form
When your cat is grooming themselves, they are constantly picking up any loose hair on their body. Your cat has a very rough tongue. This is due to the barbs on their tongue. These barbs are pointing backwards into your cats mouth. Any hair that your cat picks up when they are grooming will quickly and easily be swallowed.
If there is just a small amount of hair, it will easily pass through your cats intestinal tract and pass out in the feces. If there is a large amount of hair, this will form a hair ball.
The Cat Is Struggling To Vomit Out The Hairballs
In most cases, eliminating the hairballs does not take a long time, but if the hairball is too large and wont fit through the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus or if the cat has any lesion of deformity of the upper digestive tract , it will struggle to vomit it out. When cats struggle to vomit, the contractions in the stomach continue for a long time, which puts immense strain on it.
This should be avoided because prolonged gastric contractions could cause gastric ruptures, which could be fatal. If you notice that your cat is struggling to vomit out a hairball, ideally you should take it to the vet.
If that is not possible, call the vets office and try to talk to the doctor. If that is not possible either, give your cat a lubricant, which can ease the passage of the hairball.
You can use salmon oil, olive oil, or paraffin oil. You need 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Especially with salmon oil, cats might lick it right off your finger. But if the cat has been struggling to vomit for a while, it might not have an appetite and it may not be interested in the salmon oil.
You can administer the oil using a medicine dropper or a plastic syringe . Keep the cats head steady and dont lift its head up too high to ensure a natural position.
Then, place the dropper on the side of its mouth and put it in gently. Then simply squeeze it to get the oil in the cats mouth.
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How To Help Your Senior Cat Pass A Hairball
Hairballs are not more dangerous for older cat than younger cats but senior cats may need a little more help getting these to pass. SInce they are older they usually are not as active and their GI motility is slower than a younger more active cat. If you have an older cat these are some things that you can give your cat to help the hairballs pass easier:
- Hairball diets: Feeding your cat a hairball diet will help hairballs move easier through your cats intestines and also prevent them from forming in your cats stomach.
- Hairball treats: Hairball treats are a great way to help your cat pass hairballs without having to change their diet. Older cats may have other medical issues and need to eat a special diet. Giving them a hairball treat will allow them to stay on their medicated diet and help them with hairballs.
- Frequent brushings: Older cats tend to not groom as much and may need their coat brushed more often. Try making sure that all their mats are brushed out every day. This will help prevent these mats ending up in their intestines.
What Do Vets Do To Treat Hairball Problems
If you need to take your cat to the vet with a hairball-related problem, they are likely to carry out a physical examination or even an X-ray to identify whether an oversized hairball is the issue.
Treatments and medications are usually the answer but in extreme cases, surgery may be required to extract the hairball.
Emergency surgery is fraught with risk, underlining the importance of consulting your vet as soon as you notice a problem so it can be dealt with before the need for an operation arises.
Peritonitis, or an infection of the abdomen, is a common side effect of surgery or where the hairball has torn the gut tissues, and it can be fatal. If your cat needs surgery, they may also need antibiotics, pain relief, a fluid drip and other medications.
Your vet may try giving your cat an injection that will cause vomiting, which can help to bring it up. However, this is only advisable if the hairball has not passed into the stomach. Making your cat sick in this way should never be done at home.
It is also possible that your vet will administer a medication that helps to loosen the hairball inside your cats body, breaking it down and making it easier to pass. This may be covered on your pet insurance policy.
Vets will also be on the lookout for underlying issues that could be causing your cats hairballs to become a problem. For example, a gut issue could be a root cause as the cats stools are not sweeping out the gut properly.
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Do Furballs Ever Need Veterinary Treatment
If your cat can quickly and easily pass these hairballs, then you do not need to see your vet. In a few cases, your cat will need to see your vet because of these hairballs. Intestinal or upper airway obstruction will need veterinary attention. If your cat continues to vomit or cough up hairballs it is also best to see your vet before these issues develop into something more serious. These are a few reasons that your cat would need to see a vet:
How To Help A Cat With Hairballs
Many cat owners are concerned when a cat has hairballs because it seems like they are choking or struggling. Whats the best way for owners to help a cat throw up a hairball?
Although its difficult to watch your cat struggling and gagging, the best thing you can do to help them with hairballs is to give them plenty of space. Its perfectly normal for your cat to gag several times to be able to vomit the hairball.
The key is not to get too distressed and just keep an eye on your cat to ensure they bring up the hairball and then stop gagging.
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Natural Remedies For Hairballs In Cats
Thankfully, hairballs are not usually a sign of a serious problem. However, if youve ever watched a cat in the process of coughing one up, youve probably noticed that it isnt a pleasant experience for them. Not that we particularly enjoy the cleanup, either! Youll be happy to know that there are a few easy and natural remedies for cat hairballs.
How Can You Manage & Prevent Hairballs
There are three ways you can help minimize hairballs in your cat. First, you should groom your cat to reduce shedding. Regular brushing sessions will keep your cat from ingesting loose hair through self-grooming. Your brushing won’t keep your cat from self-grooming, but will reduce the amount of hair she ingests. Grooming sessions with you also have the added benefit of being a bonding activity with your furry friend!
Second, there are products on the market such as shampoo and wet wipes that claim to prevent hairballs by controlling shedding. As with any product, however, check with your vet before you begin a regular regime to make sure it’s well-suited for your kitty.
Lastbut certainly not least!know that food choice is very important in reducing hairballs. A hairball control cat food includes added natural fiber amongst its balanced nutrition to help move hair naturally through your cat’s digestive system while also nourishing your cat’s skin and coat to reduce shedding. Hill’s® Science Diet® includes the following choices for cats with hairball issues:
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Watching For More Serious Symptoms
Recovery Of Hairballs In Cats
A follow-up appointment might be necessary for making sure your cat is responding well to treatment. It is vital to schedule a follow-up appointment if the hairball had to be surgically removed. Your veterinarian will check the cats healing and progress and provide instructions for preventing hairballs in the future.
Treating the hairball or intestinal blockage early can lead to a full recovery for your four-legged friend.
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Hairballs Average Cost
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Hairball Treatment For Cats
When your cat has hairballs, its common to wonder what treatments are available. There are lots of home remedies online, especially for oils and lubricants. However, we dont advise trying these.
You can buy a specialist cat hairball treatment paste that contains a laxative and lubricant to help them pass through the digestive system. But this is not generally needed. If you do use it, follow the instructions to the letter.
One particularly effective treatment is hairball cat food. These kibble-based products contain lots of fibre to help take excess fur through the digestive system. They also contain vitamins and minerals to keep your cats fur in good condition and reduce hair loss.
Finally, vets can prescribe treatments for hairballs in severe cases.
What Is The Best Thing To Give A Cat For Hairballs
The best thing to do for your cat is to keep a tight grooming schedule. This is by far the most efficient way to prevent hairball formation. Additionally, you can give the cat supplements for a healthy coat. A teaspoon of olive oil will help it pass the hairball easier because it acts as a natural lubricant. Pumpkin helps the cat by supporting healthy digestion, while sardines are a natural source of omega fatty acids that support fur health.
How often does your cat eliminate hairballs? Has it ever had trouble eliminating them? What did you do? Tell us all about it in the comments section below. Read more about cat health:
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Can Hairballs Be A Problem For My Cat
If too much hair is building up and cannot be passed in the feces or as a hairball, it may cause an obstruction in your cats upper intestinal tract. This will cause vomiting, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and, if not treated, serious fluid and electrolyte problems. If a hairball is stuck in your cats intestines or stomach for a long time, it may mineralize and become very hard. Sometimes, when a cat is vomiting a hairball, it can get stuck and cause damage to the esophagus .
How Often Do Cats Eliminate Hairballs
Cats can eliminate hairballs as often as once a week, or once a couple of weeks. But for some cats, it can happen as rarely as a few times a year. If it does not happen at all, you have nothing to worry about. But if it happens more often than once a week, then you should take your cat in to see the vet.
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Some Owners Prefer To Use Butter As A Lubricant
Butter can also work as a way of lubricating a meal and allowing any food and hair to slide into the stomach and pass with greater ease. Again, this is an accessible option. But, you need to be careful that the fats dont have a negative impact on your pets weight. Overweight cats may need a different solution.
Are Hairballs In Cats A Health Issue
As long as your cat only ingests a small amount of hair, this is not an issue. When our cat eats a large amount of hair this can cause your cat to have a few health issues. You should try to monitor your cat when they are grooming to make sure that they do not get any hair stuck in their mouth and need help getting it out.
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Q How Can You Tell When A Hairball Is A Problem
A In healthy cats, the most common symptom of a furball is a cough-gag-retch sound so-called because its tricky even for vets to work out if a cat is coughing , gagging or retching . Occasional hairballs and retching are nothing to worry about, but if your cat is gagging every few weeks, or for more than 48 hours at a time, too much excess hair could be ending up in her gut. She may be over-grooming as a result of a skin condition or an allergy. If you notice your cat licking herself more than usual, or any bald spots appearing on her body, its worth discussing allergy testing with your vet. When it comes to the cough-gag-retch reflex, its perfectly normal for your cat to do this several times in a single session and the retching action shouldnt bring up anything except the hairball itself. However, if your cat is bringing up bile it could be a sign of pancreatitis, and youll need to see your vet as soon as possible. Other hairball symptoms can include your cat nibbling on grass, as well as constipation and lethargy. If your cat doesnt pass the hairball, and these signs last for more than two to three days, book a check-up with your vet to make sure nothing else is amiss.
Olive Oil Is Easily Accessible Oil To Use
There is no doubt that it is also a safe and natural way to add beneficial oils to your cats diet. It does more than act as a lubricant as there are essential omega oils and other health-giving properties too. There is also some link between olives and catnip that apparently means that cats appreciate olive oil a lot. You can either add olive oil from your cupboard or use fish in olive oil for double the benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is the safest with the smaller risk of chemicals.
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What Can You Do To Prevent Hairballs
- Regular brushing or combing helps remove loose hair and is especially helpful for long-haired cats and older cats.
- Feeding multiple small meals rather than one or two big meals per day can help prevent dead hair from building up in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Dont give your cat any sort of laxative without first consulting your veterinarian.
Q Is That Retching Noise Always Due To A Furball
A The problem with hairballs is that they can be confused with other serious health conditions, such as . The main symptom of is usually a dry cough, but if your cat has developed a sore throat at the same time, she can make a retching sound similar to bringing up a hairball. Asthmatic cats usually also tend to wheeze, so if youre in any doubt about which condition it might be, ask your vet for advice.
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