Hairball Awareness Day takes place today, April 28, and we are here to share some information about hairballs. Yeah, we know you probably think, “What else is there to know besides it just being a clump of hair?” Well, there are actually a lot of things that most people don’t know and really should know, when it comes to hairballs. We want to call your attention to some very important facts about hairballs that could save your cat’s life. Yes, your cat’s hairball problem is that serious!
What is it?
So, what exactly is a hairball? It’s usually not the shape of a ball, but rather a sausage and it’s a clump of hair that your cat spits up on your newly renovated kitchen floor. Yuck!
Don’t they just digest their hair?
I know my cat’s hair gets everywhere, but how on earth did hair get inside her stomach? Well, as you probably already noticed, cats tend to groom themselves… a lot! They have these tiny-hook like structures on their tongues that sort of act like a wet hairbrush, catching and swallowing loose/dead hair. Most of the hair cats gulp down during grooming passes through the digestive tract with no problem at all. However, there are some stray hairs that don’t make it past the cat’s stomach. Over time, as the feline continues the growing process, more and more hair sits in the stomach, ultimately forming a hairball, which can be potentially dangerous.
Hairballs aren’t just gross, they’re dangerous!
If the hairball is too big, it could cause your cat to start choking. Often times they can spit up the hairball in a short amount of time with no problem at all, but there is still a chance your cat could choke while trying to spit one up.
Most of the time, if a hairball makes its way of the cat’s stomach, it can easily be passed through the digestive tract when your kitty cat makes a trip to the litter box. However, it is a possibility the hairball could become too big for your cat’s digestive tract and cause an intestinal blockage. Although a cat’s digestive system is designed to handle hairballs, sometimes it just can’t handle bigger ones. If a hairball was to get stuck inside of your kitty, the poor feline won’t be able to relieve himself/herself, will develop a bad stomach ache and may stop eating. The only way to help the feline is a visit to the vet, which often is ends in surgery, if a strong laxative doesn’t do the trick. So, you can see why it is so important to be on top of the signs for a hazardous hairball problem.
How do you know if your kitty has a hairball?
Some hairballs are fine, but too many can cause problems. For example, a few warning signs for hairballs could be constipation, weight loss, inability to eat, and suffocation. If your cat is continually gagging or vomiting without producing a hairball, it’s important that you take them to the vet to get checked out. It doesn’t hurt to see what’s going on and for you to learn what you can do to help your cat be able to produce hairballs easily.
How can you prevent this?
Preventing hairballs can be easy as long as you take the right steps. Grooming your cat can be an immense help in getting rid of the dead/loose hairs already so that way they don’t get stuck in your cat’s stomach. We recommend brushing your cat with a soft rubbery brush will help loosen the fur, making it less likely for your cat to get hairballs.
Don’t have time to maintain your cat’s mane? …or maybe your kitty cat just has too much hair to handle, either way, you could let the professionals handle it! Pet groomers can be found locally and some are even staffed in the veterinary clinic, so they are easy to find. Long haired cats especially, could benefit from a professional cut, style and rinse from a trained feline fancy professional.
Our Oatmeal Shampoo is perfect for bathing your hairball prone cat with. It will not only soothe their dry, itchy skin, but it will also naturally heal dry, damaged skin and hair. The healthier the skin, the healthier the hair will be and less likely to die and fall out. Using a nature-based shampoo like ours with nourish your kitty’s coat, making it thicker and healthier, which means they will be less likely to get as many hairballs.
Sometimes, hair and skin problems can’t be fixed by what you put on the outside, but on the inside. There are also certain foods you can feed your cat that are specifically formulated to reduce hairballs. Look for foods that have ingredients like beet pulp, a fruit and vegetable extract known as FOS, or carbohydrate blends.
Going in to see your vet when you think something is wrong is always the number one thing. Check-ups are extremely important and beneficial for your kitty. Sometimes cats tend to shed too much due to health problems like hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid is sending out too many metabolizing hormones), so it’s important to give your vet a call if no other remedy is working.