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Now we all know that hairballs are a commonplace occurrence but can they be dangerous? Many PetParents choose to accept the occasional hacking and wheezing caused by the natural consequence of constant self-grooming that cats indulge in. These tubular clumps of hair known as hairballs, if not expunged properly, can get lodged in their intestines and lead to some pretty hair-raising experiences even in short-haired cats, so its best to be prepared and prevent problems before they occur.
All cats suffer from hairballs from time to time but they can cause serious issues in both long-haired and short-haired cats as well. In fact any cat that is more finicky than others when it comes to its grooming habits is a possible candidate for hairball treatments. In most cases hairballs are not dangerous but there are many reasons why you should regularly check your cat and treat it for hairball concerns before you allow problems to occur.
Cat hair is indigestible and therefore collects in the stomachs and throats and is eventually dispelled from the body in these cylindrical shaped clumps. Sometimes however thread and other knick-knacks they might have ingested get mixed up with this clump inside their stomachs ends up causing them a lot of pain and discomfort. A hairball wedged in the wrong place could cause throat, stomach and intestinal blockages that could lead to surgery, hydration therapy, laxatives not to mention sever discomfort and pain.
If your cat displays any of the following symptoms please take her to a vet who can inspect and diagnose her properly:
- Vomiting of undigested food
- Inability to pass stool. You may notice the cat in the litter box in a perched position
- Repeated dry heaving
- Abdominal swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Increased vocalization
What You Can Do
Fortunately serious problems caused by hairballs can be avoided very easily if one simply takes preventive action in time. We know how important all cats are to their PetParents so if you have a cat please make sure you do the following to prevent a hairball disaster!
It is very important to brush your cat and remove any and all dead hair from its fur before she gets a chance to ingest it. A well-groomed cat will require only about 15 minutes of brushing a day to keep its fur well maintained. Use a Slicker Brush if your cat is used to being groomed or a Kong Zoom Groom Rubber Pet Brush for Cats for cats who require more gentle care. The Kong Zoomer can also be used while bathing your cat when it is most effective. Both brushes are equally good at grabbing and expelling dead hair from your cat’s fur quickly and effectively.
Products such as PetKiss’ All-Natural Dander Free Spray acts as a no-rinse shampoo that will clean your pet as your brush her as well as protect it from skin allergies caused by dust-mites and other harmful pests. Additionally it wets the fur enough for dead hair to be easily extracted and leaves your pet smelling clean and fresh.
If your cat does not enjoy being brushed it is important that you slowly get him used to the idea. Don’t indulge in long arborous grooming sessions that he will learn to hate and avoid. Make the grooming session short and fun. Even if you are able to brush her for a few minutes a day it will still be worthwhile and be sure to offer her a Cat Treat like Felix Goody Bag snacks or better still Bob Martin’s Anti-Hairball Snax with Poultry. If she begins to connect the idea of being grooming with a tasty reward she will slowly come around to the concept. Even though some cats may not like being handled it is important that their pet parents get them used to the idea to make it easier for them to administer medical care when need be.
It is very important for long haired cats such as Persians to have a hairball control feed as part of their diets. Farmina’s Cimiao Persian for Adult Cats, Iams’ Proactive Health Adult Cats Hairball feed and Royal Canin’s Persian Cat Food are all good examples of Hairball control formulas designed to effective keep this problem in check but discuss the matter with your vet and get his recommendations on what feed would suit your cat best.
Additionally you can also give your cats hairball supplements that will ensure that they never suffer through the dangers of hairball blockages. You only need to add four drops (per 10lbs of body weight) of Petkiss’ All-Natural Hairball Remedy to your cat’s daily meal to protect her from any possible dangers. Johnson’s Hairball Remedy Paste for Cats can also do the trick. She can lick this tasty treat right from your fingers or you can put a little on her paws or her toys.
Increase Fibre and Oil Intake
Increasing fibre in your cat’s diet can help. The fibre will help hold onto hair and aid it in passing through the digestive track. Adding bits of asparagus, small amounts of canned pumpkin or oat grass to your cat’s hairball care commercial diet can be a great way to help her avoid a lot of pain and discomfort. You can also add a very small amount, around half a teaspoon of petroleum jelly, olive oil or butter to your cat’s food. This too will help push through fur in the digestive system.
Cats should always be encouraged to drink more water especially if they are on a dry food diet. Moisture is extremely important to keep their systems working properly. Electronic indoor water fountains can help to encourage a cat to drink more water.
Keep A Clean House
There is nothing better than a clean house for both your human and animal family members! Sweep up and vacuum any and all stray hairs, strings, threads and other items that your cat could ingest. These can get wrapped up with swallowed hair and cause major obstructions in your cat’s digestive tracts. Playful kittens are particularly susceptible of getting into trouble this way so be extra vigilant.
We hope this information has been helpful to you. Please share your experiences and comments with us to let other pet parents know what steps you are taking to protect your cats against hairball disasters.