If you have cats, you know that having to clean up hairballs is part of being a cat parent. A huge part.
What are hairballs in cats?
Cats are consummate groomers. Cats love to spend a good part of their licking their fur so they can look their best. All this grooming causes them to swallow some of their hair. In most cases, the hair passes through the digestive system withou a problem. But! There are times when the hair gets stuck in the stomach, and your cat vomits it up, and voila! A hairball is born.
Are hairballs in cats dangerous?
For the most part, hairballs do not pose a threat to a cat’s health. However, if you notice your cat is having the following symptoms, take it to a veterinarian right away. As they can be the signs of a life-threatening blockage.
- Loss of Appetite
- Vomiting, gagging, retching, or hacking without producing a hairball
How to reduce a cat’s chance of getting hairballs:
While you will never be able to rid your cat of hairball problems, you can reduce its chances of getting them.
- Groom Your Cat – keep your cat’s hair trim by cutting it on a regular basis. A two-speed clipper should be enough to handle most jobs. In addition, a de-shedding tool works wonders in between haircuts. Or if you have the budget, consider taking your furry friend to a professional pet groomer.
- Get Your Cat to Stop Grooming Itself – easier said than done since cat’s instinctively like to groom themselves. But you can distract it by engaging your cat in some play activity whenever it starts to lick itself.
- Feed Your Cat Food Specialized to Treat Hairballs – most of these contain ingredients that help reduce shedding or laxatives that help pass the hair through the digestive tract.
- Administer Hairball Remedies to Your Cat– most of these products contain a mild laxative the help pass the hair easily.
Over-the-Counter Hairball Remedies
Sentry Petromalt Hairball Relief is a laxative product for use in cats and kittens over 4 weeks of age to help eliminate and prevent hairballs. It helps relieve the constipation, dry cough and occasional vomiting associated with hairballs. With a tasty fish flavor cats love. Also available in malt flavor.
Laxatone is a laxative and hairball remedy for cats. It helps coat your pet’s stomach so that hairballs pass naturally. Laxatone reduces vomiting by preventing hairballs from clogging the digestive tract. It comes in either a maple or tuna flavor your cat will enjoy.
NaturVet’s Natural Hairball Aid Plus Catnip Gel is an all-natural solution to your cat’s hairball problem with an irresistible catnip flavor your cat will love. NaturVet’s Natural Hairball Aid Plus Catnip Gel is recommended to help eliminate and prevent hairballs in your cat.
VetCrafted Hairball Remedy for Cats are soft chews formulated to reduce or eliminate hairballs by supporting a strong coat and healthy skin. Mineral oil helps ease the passage of hairballs through the cat’s digestive tract as well as alleviate symptoms such as dry cough, constipation and vomiting.
NaturVet’s Hairball Plus Vitamins 2-in-1 soft chews Helps eliminate and prevent hairballs when used on a daily basis. They are made with all naturals ingredients and added vitamins and minerals to help maintain overall health.
Vetri-Science Hairball Feline Supplement is a breakthrough formula to support skin tone, elasticity and hair health in cats. It focuses on health factors for cats such as healthy skin, GI tract, and urinary tract health to help minimize hairball formation. For cats of all weight ranges.
Pet Naturals Hairball is an all-natural supplement designed to reduce or eliminate your cat’s hairballs. In addition it provides nutrients and minerals for optimal skin and coat health including tone, elasticity, and follicle health. It contains no herbals or mineral oils which can disrupt digestion and hydration in cats.
In summary, cats and hairballs go together like hand in glove. In most cases, they do not pose a threat to your cat’s health. With regular grooming and the help of hairball products your cat should not experience much distress over hairballs. But if your cat has ongoing episodes of vomiting without producing a hairball, or it has a loss in appetite, experiences diarrhea, and constipation, or it appears lethargic, this could be the sign of severe blockage. Therefore, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.