What can a cat guardian do to eliminate hairballs?
Of course sometimes the cause of coughing and retching is actually a hairball.
Hairballs, known to as trichobezoars, occur as a result of cats and swallowing the hair they remove. Many cats spend a good deal of their day grooming. Usually, the hair passes through the intestinal tract, but some cats are more prone than others to accumulating hair in the . Generally, hairballs are harmless but not always.
What do cats do when they have a hairball? Generally your cat will crouch with her neck extended, hacking and gagging in distress until she up the offending wad of hair.
Treatment of hairballs involves regular grooming and the use of lubricants to help hairballs pass.
If your cat coughs, and particularly if a hairball is not produced, it is important to have your veterinarian evaluate the cough to determine its cause, and do whatever is possible to control the cough. See your veterinarian regularly and remember that whether your cat has a cough or not, it is recommended that you use year-round heartworm prevention.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
If your cat simply has occasional hairballs because she is long-haired or loves to groom her housemates and your veterinarian does not believe that there is any underlying GI problem, the following treatments might help:
A hairball is a small wad of fur formed in the stomach of animals. When it reaches a certain size it is vomited up. Hairballs are mostly tight elongated cylinders of packed felted fur. Food is often mixed in the hairball. Cats are especially prone to hairball formation since they spend a great deal of time licking and ingesting their fur.Some cats are much tidier than others and groom a great deal. These cats tend to have more hairballs than sloppier cats. Johan is a very relaxed cat and does not made a great fuss over his appearance and he rarely has hairballs.Hairballs are produced in greater amounts when cats are moulting. You can figure out when this is because your cat leaves more hair around. My cats moult spring and fall and hairball production increases greatly during that period.The type of hair a cat has influences how many hairballs he produces. Long hair cats usually produce more hairballs simply because they have more hair. In the case of my Winston this is not the case. His hair is not prone to matting and he rarely seems to get hairballs.Oscar on the other hand is quite fastidious and he produces hairballs in great abundance. Since he is quite a drama queen, he makes a good show producing a hairball. If your cat is obsessively concerned with grooming, it might help to try and distract him with toys or a cat garden.Some cat foods are specifically made to help with hairballs. They work in several ways. One way of decreasing hairballs is to increase the volume of fiber and flush the hair down the intestine along with the undigested fiber.Besides regularly brushing your cats, clipping in the early summer can reduce hairballs. Cats should not be clipped if it's cold but can be much more comfortable if they have long hair. My Winston gets a summer haircut and is much more active and happy for it.A number of factors can play a role in a cat having trouble passing hairballs. Blockage can be caused from stress, poor digestion, bad diet, junk foods, excessive grooming, low levels of acid in the stomach and general illnesses.