Feline Hairballs, also known as trichobezoars, are one of the most common health issues faced by cats. Hairballs occur when a cat grooms themselves and swallows loose fur that becomes stuck in its digestive tract. Cats are particularly vulnerable to hairballs because they groom themselves frequently with their barbed tongues. In order to prevent hairball build-up, it’s important to groom your cat regularly.
When a cat is affected by a hairball, it can cause vomiting, constipation, and decreased appetite. If your cat has any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for an examination and possible treatment. A veterinarian might recommend dietary changes or a laxative to help with your cat’s hairballs. Your veterinarian might also suggest brushing your cat more frequently to help get rid of their loose hair.
If you are looking for a way to help reduce hairball formation in your cat, there are several products available on the market. These products often contain lubricants or fiber that can help move hair through your cat’s digestive system. Many pet owners add oils to their cat’s food to help soften and loosen fur from their digestive tract.
Although hairballs can be uncomfortable for cats, it’s important to remember that they are a natural part of grooming and are usually not serious. With regular grooming and care, cats can lead healthy lives free of hairball issues.
Symptoms of Feline Hairballs
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Wheezing, rapid breathing or hacking sound when coughing or trying to vomit
Diagnosing Feline Hairballs
If your cat has any of the symptoms associated with hairballs, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for an examination. Your veterinarian will likely perform a physical exam and could want X-rays or other tests in order to diagnose the problem. Your veterinarian might want a fecal sample to check for parasites or other digestive issues that could be causing symptoms similar to those of a hairball.
Stage of Feline Hairballs
Feline hairballs can be split into two stages; the formation stage and the elimination stage.
During the formation stage, cats ingest loose fur while grooming themselves which accumulates in their digestive tract. If left untreated, this can lead to a hairball forming.
During the elimination stage, symptoms such as vomiting or constipation can occur as the cat tries to eliminate the hairball. In some cases, the cat will be able to pass the hairball naturally, however in more severe cases a laxative or other treatment could be needed.
Treating Feline Hairballs
Treating hairballs will depend on the severity of the issue. If your cat has mild symptoms, it could be possible to treat them at home with brushing and dietary changes. Adding oils to your cat’s food can help soften and loosen fur from the digestive tract. If these methods are not effective, your veterinarian could recommend a laxative or other medication to help move the hairball through your cat’s system. In some cases, surgery will be needed if the hairball is too large to pass naturally.
Preventing Feline Hairballs
The best way to prevent hairballs in cats is to groom them regularly. Brushing your cat at least once a week can help remove loose fur before it gets swallowed. Adding oils or fiber supplements to your cat’s food can help soften and move the fur through their digestive tract. Finally, feeding your cat a balanced diet with sufficient amounts of fiber can also help reduce the occurrence of hair balls.