Hills’ pet study shows that almost 35% of cat parents have the common problem of hairball. The least you can be happy about it for the fact that it is not a rare-case scenario. You are not the only one who is fighting against the hairballs in the cat. There are two main problems with hairballs: First of all, they are unpleasant to see. Secondly, not so easy to clean them up.
Even though it is normal, they cause several problems in cats like intestinal blockage. Also, many pet owners think that hairball problems are due to grooming only. But they are not limited. There are several reasons why they are formed and much more. This article will guide you through the different aspects of the same.
What is Hairball?
Hairballs may seem to be highly disgusting for humans. But actually, they are developed as a result of a healthy cat’s grooming routine. As it is popularly known, cats are groomers and love to keep their coats shiny. For almost half of the day, they spend only on grooming sessions.
While grooming, there will tiny loose hairs the cat will swallow hairs. There is a little hook-like structure in the tongue that pulls these hairs while grooming. Usually, these small hairs are dead hairs that are about to shed. When swallowed, majorly, the hair passes through the digestive tract. But there may be chances that they stay in the stomach, which will result in forming hairballs.
The hairball then passes through the esophagus, a thin digestive tract that pushes them way out. Commonly, they vomit the hairball to get rid of it. If you had seen the hairballs, they do not look round-shaped; they are like thin tubes or cylindrical structures. Especially the cat breeds with the long-hair tend to form hairballs quite often. Say, for instance, the Persian cats, Maine Coon, and other similar varieties undergo this process of getting rid of the hairball quite often.
What causes a hairball?
When the felines swallow cats, the fur cannot be broken down. The veterinarians say this phenomenon is a trichobezoar. The pet’s intestine cannot take such complex substances; hence, they excrete or vomit as it is. They are usually one inch long, but they can be as long as five inches. Mostly when you notice while they vomit or spit it out, it has the same hue of the fur but a bit darker than that. It is because of the digestive system and gas secretion.
As a kitten, you may be sure that they do not spit any hairballs. That is true! Because as kittens, they do not groom much. But when they grow old, even their hair grows long, making the grooming session longer. By licking and grooming, the cats are cleaning themselves. As you know, they are very afraid of water, hence cleaning by licking themselves is the only option. And that’s when they consume the lost hair.
If you had ever experienced a cat’s kiss, you know how rough their tongues are. That is why they will be able to remove dirt and other debris from their skin. But the roughness also causes to pull this loose hair from the coat. The cats are consciously swallowing them, thinking that it will make them sleek and clean without any loose hair. But eventually, they end up forming hairballs. However, doctors say there are only two categories for creating hairballs that may cause severe problems, which are as follows.
When the cat consumes hair more than usual
Increases grooming session
Skin allergies and itches
Excessive grooming because of pregnancy or heat cycle
Increased grooming as a change in behavioral pattern
When there is a problem in the gastrointestinal tracts
Less motility in cats
Already traced with the inflammatory diseases
Neoplasia or Lymphoma
Symptoms of the hairball problems
Your cats may display specific signs of hairball problems which are as follows:
The cats become slow and sick, and also do not carry out any normal activities. They do not move very quickly as they feel discomfort while walking. Usually, hairballs do not cause any pain but always give nausea feeling. Hence they tend to stay in one place or stay by the litter box.
Hacking or Coughing
It is one of the most obvious symptoms that pet owners can easily find. The cats try to get the hairball out of the digestive tract; hence, they tend to cough a lot. It happens, especially when the hairballs are out of intact and are in the middle of the throat.
Weight loss happens gradually as they lose appetites. As a pet owner, always know that cats do not eat only if they have any health issues. Especially if the problem is with the stomach, then they skip their meals. They gradually lose weight; hence, you need to get the hairball out by taking it to the vet.
Is it possible to prevent hairballs?
You cannot prevent hairballs completely as it is a natural process. But some ways can help the cats quickly eliminate them out of the digestive organs, which are listed below.
Brushing the cats daily: Regularly grooming the cats will ensure that the loose hairs are out. Use the Pet grooming brush effectively. It will eliminate almost all the hair that is about to shed and help them not to consume more hair.
Keep the cats hydrated: It is challenging to make the cat drink water. But practice it from a young age so that they consume more water. It will help the intestinal functions to work smoothly. Also, just like humans, even drinking water can save a lot of hair.
Digestive supplements: It is one of the best alternative options for cats to excrete hairballs. If the cats are not comfortable, it is better to give Nexabiotic Probiotic cat supplements or Pet Naturals of Vermont. It will help the smooth bowel movement to flush the hairball out of the digestive tract.
Pet owners and even Vets believe that food choice plays a significant role in controlling hairballs. Provide good natural fiber-rich food for the cats so that they can have a healthy digestive system and good bowel movement. A proper diet will help them to maintain the nutrients and reduce shedding. As a result, the cat’s digestive system will be able to handle hairballs efficiently. However, you don’t have to worry, thinking it is a severe health issue. We hope this article helps you to walk through the process of hairball formation and elimination.