Cats hold a special place in our hearts; they’re quirky, independent, and inexplicably our companions. At times they scare us, like when they watch us sleep, or when they spend what seems like forever hacking up a hairball. While we won’t solve the problem of your cat creepily watching you sleep, we do have some advice on how to help your cat’s hairball problem.
Why Do Hairballs Occur?
Cats are incredibly clean creatures. You will often find your cat grooming himself by licking his or her body. If you happen to catch a glimpse of your cat’s tongue, you might notice what looks like fur. Your cat has tiny hook-like structures that grab loose hair. Your cat then swallows those hairs and they eventually make their way down to your cat’s stomach. Generally, these hairs continue through the digestive tract and are expelled. However, sometimes those pesky hairs clump together and stay in your cat’s stomach, resulting in a hairball. This is slightly uncomfortable for your cat and he will try to expel the hairball by vomiting. The hairball travels through your cat’s esophagus, which is why hairballs can look tubular instead of round. But, the shape doesn’t make it any more pleasant for you or your cat!
What Hairballs Say About Your Cat’s Overall Health
While an occasional hairball is nothing to be worried about, consistent and frequent hairballs can be a problem. If you notice that your cat has hairballs on a regular basis you may need to look at his behavior to understand why this happens. Does your cat obsessively clean himself? You might be able to distract him with a favorite or new toy before he swallows too much hair. If you have a long haired cat, like a Maine Coon or Persian, your cat will naturally get more hairballs. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t help him out!
Best Diets to Reduce Hairballs
You might not immediately think that your cat’s diet could impact his hairballs, but there are many products that could reduce hairballs. Several pet food companies have developed formulas to help hairballs move through your cat’s system. You can check out several different varieties here! There are even hairball control treats for your cat to help distract him from grooming and helping to prevent future hairballs. Your cat might also benefit from a fish oil supplement. Fish oil supplements promote healthy coat and skin and could also help lubricate your cat’s digestive tract, making hairballs easier to expel.
Best Ways to Prevent Hairballs
If your cat loves his food and you’re happy with the results, but hairballs are still a problem, you might need to take a more hands-on approach. Grooming your cat yourself will be the best way to prevent hairballs, as it doesn’t give your cat a chance to lick up those loose hairs. There are several brushes designed specifically for cats. With anything, it will always be easier to get your cat to enjoy grooming if you start while he’s a kitten. If you have an adult cat that could benefit from grooming, repetition and rewards will be the fastest way to convert your cat. You might also need to start slowly and begin grooming using a cat grooming glove. This will be sure to soothe even the most grooming-adverse cats.
Regardless of how many times our cat coughs up an unsightly hairball, we still love and care for them. We hope that with these tips and suggestions, you and your cat will share more happy and healthy moments together!