If you have cats, there are likely a number of experiences you share with almost every other cat parent. Most of us are more than familiar with typical cat behavior. You know what I mean – pushing objects off shelves, crying before dawn for an early breakfast, or the dreaded one pet, two pet, three pet, BITE! While most of these behaviors require some tolerance and patience, we mostly find these behaviors endearing. However, there is one common experience that is not so loveable, no matter how adorable our kitties are…the hairball. These unsightly blobs of vomited hair are not pleasant for us to find or clean up. But coughing up a hairball is about as uncomfortable for our cats as you can imagine, and plays an important role in their overall health. Knowing more about them can help us manage and even prevent this common and unpleasant occurrence in our feline friends’ lives.
What Causes Hairballs
Hairballs are exactly what they sound like. Wads of hair – or more specifically, fur – collect in our cat’s stomach, and are vomited up to clear the obstruction. Because hairballs are pushed through the esophagus on the way out, they are usually long and snake-like rather than round like balls, but the idea is very much the same. Believe it or not, hairballs are actually a natural outcome of your cat’s healthy grooming habits.
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Cats clean themselves thoroughly by licking their coats regularly. The coarse textures of their tongues act like combs to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair. As a result, our kitties end up swallowing most of what they clean out of their fur. Most of what they swallow moves safely through their digestive tract and ends up in the litter box. But sometimes hair can be trapped and accumulate in their stomachs instead. This is especially common in long-haired cats, cats that shed more, or cats who groom themselves frequently. Vomiting the accumulated hairball is important to your cat’s health. Not expelling the hairball can result in uncomfortable constipation, or even lodge in your kitty’s intestines, causing a blockage. (2)
How To Prevent Hairballs
An excellent way to help prevent cat hairballs is to assist them in their grooming. Regular brushing will help clear away excess hair from deeper layers of their coat. This means there is less for them to swallow them in their own personal bathing routine!
While hairballs cannot be completely prevented, treating for hairballs can be easy and convenient with the help of carefully targeted edible remedies, like TruCat Relieve Me soft chews. With omega-3 rich salmon oil for healthier skin and fur, these special treats are formulated to preemptively address some hairball causes. They are made with healthy alternatives to regular cat-food ingredients to aid with digestion and lubricate your kitty’s digestive tract. This also aids in the natural passage of hair in the stomach and intestines. With feeding instructions for both existing problems as well as prevention, these tasty treats can be effective at every stage of managing your cat’s hairballs. Remedies like this may be helpful for some cats but are not effective in all cases. If your cat has an issue with hairballs, always remember to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian before you begin treating them at home. As always, looking out for your cat’s best interest includes careful research and making choices for their care that will leave them feeling healthy and happy! Clearing up their hairballs is an easy place to get started.