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Hairball Help

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness

Hairballs are not the most pleasant thing to think about, but if you are a cat owner, you know that your cat will have them. And you will most definitely step on them when you get up in the middle of the night. As long as cats have graced our homes, people want to know what they can do to help their cat’s tummies and if there is anything they can do to prevent hairballs.

Hairballs are a natural occurrence in animals that groom themselves. When grooming, fur is ingested and makes its way to the gut. It is usually is passed through bowl movements. Sometimes though, that fur gets stuck in the stomach or upper intestines and must be expelled through vomiting. Some animals like rabbits, are unable to vomit, so hairballs can cause obstructions and require surgical removal. Fortunately, cats can usually expel hairballs on their own.

Cats with long fur or cats who groom themselves often tend to have more hairballs, and hairballs tend to occur more when your cat is shedding a lot. If your cat has frequent hairballs or is having trouble expelling them, consult your veterinarian.

To help minimize the amount of fur that enters your cat’s stomach, here are some tips:

  • Brush your cat daily with a de-shedding tool, especially when your cat appears to be shedding more. This will cut down on the amount of loose hair before it is ingested.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about a hairball prevention product that can help your cat’s intestine pass the fur. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s directions because using these products too frequently can prevent the body from absorbing necessary vitamins.
  • Discuss diet with your veterinarian. There are cat foods available that are designed to prevent hairballs, or you may be advised to add fiber to your cat’s diet. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian before making any diet changes.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.