Hairballs in cats

What are hairballs? Why are they formed and what is their danger? How to protect the health of a pet? About this in our article.

Hairballs: what is it and why are they formed?
A hairball is a lump of fur in the stomach of a cat. What causes it to form?

Licking her fur coat, the cat swallows the dead hairs. With small amounts, the body removes them naturally. But if there is a lot of wool in the stomach, it gets tangled, mixes with food masses and can form «plugs». Traffic jams provoke constipation and can lead to a complete blockage of the gastrointestinal tract. In this case, all the food entering the intestines will move only up to the»traffic jams». It will not be able to push through the hairballs, it will accumulate in the body and cause intoxication or poisoning of the pet.

Under the pressure of hairballs and undigested food, the intestinal walls can burst!

In difficult cases, if the wool is not removed from the stomach naturally, surgical intervention is required to preserve the health and life of the animal.

Hairballs in cats: symptoms
The following symptoms allow you to suspect lumps of wool in the cat’s stomach:

  • violation of the chair,
  • lack of appetite,
  • apathy,
  • vomiting,
  • weight loss.

If you notice one or more signs, contact a veterinary specialist. Even if it’s a minor indigestion, it’s better to be safe.

How to deal with hairballs?
Already existing large hairballs that have clogged the intestines are surgically removed. But it is in the power of each owner to prevent their education.

The peak of the formation of hairballs falls during the molting period. At this time, the animal has to swallow a much larger amount of wool than usual, and the body may not cope with it.

Many domestic cats and dogs molt not seasonally (like their wild relatives), but all year round. Therefore, you need to take care of your pet’s hair regularly. To do this, you can visit a grooming salon: there your pet will be provided with a professional service for express molting, using safe shampoos and conditioners. It is also necessary to take care of the wool at home. The more carefully you comb the cat, the less wool will get into its stomach.

For combing, choose tools that are suitable for the type of hair of your cat and will fit comfortably in your hand. These are a variety of combs, brushes, mitten brushes, pukhoderki and furminators.

The latter are the most effective, because they allow you to hook dead hairs from the deep undercoat, and not only from the surface of the coat. That is, you remove those hairs that would inevitably end up on the cat’s tongue or decorate your furniture in the near future.

Proper nutrition
The second step of prevention is a special balanced diet. A healthy cat has a healthy coat. And what is the source of health, if not in proper feeding?

Give preference to super-premium-class diets. With a natural type of feeding, be sure to use vitamin and mineral fertilizing (for the appointment, contact a veterinary specialist). A poor, insufficiently balanced diet leads to abundant hair loss, which we should avoid.

If your cat often suffers from lumps in the stomach, transfer it to a special diet for hair removal. Consult your veterinarian beforehand and make the transition from diet to diet smoothly.

Removal of wool from the stomach
The third step is auxiliary means for combating hairballs. Special pastes, treats, sprouted oats will help to remove lumps of wool from the cat’s stomach.

Sprouted oats are an amateur remedy. Some cats love to chew grass and empty their stomach due to this, others completely ignore it. By the way, this method allows wild cats to purify the body in the wild. However, at home, few owners like to remove the pet’s vomit masses from the laminate or their favorite sofa.
It is more effective and pleasant to use special treats and delicious vitamins for removing wool. Cats are happy to eat them themselves, and even ask for supplements. It is important to observe the norm of feeding treats, then there will be no problems with hairballs and digestion.


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