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Hairballs and Cats

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Hairballs and Cats

 

By Lorie Huston, DVM

 

If you have a cat, you’ve probably dealt with hairballs at one time or another. Most frequently, a cat owner becomes aware of an issue when the cat vomits a long tubular mass of hair — a hairball.

 

What are Cat Hairballs?

 

Hairballs occur as a result of your cat grooming and swallowing hair. All cats groom themselves. Swallowing hair when they do so is a normal occurrence. Normally, the cat’s digestive system is able to handle the hair and it simply passes through the intestinal tract and out in the feces. However, in some instances, rather than passing through the intestinal tract, the hair is vomited instead — this may seem like the cat is coughing up a hairball.

 

Grooming your cat is one of the best things you can do to prevent your cat from getting hairballs. Regular brushing and/or combing removes much of your cat’s loose hair before it can be ingested thus limiting the amount of hair that your cat swallows. In turn, less hair ingested means fewer hairballs being produced.

 

And while shorthaired cats can and do get hairballs, cats with long hair are especially prone to them. This makes grooming your longhaired cat regularly even more important. Some cats may require daily brushing/combing. In addition, regular grooming will keep your cat’s hair coat free of tangles and mats while also keeping his skin healthy.

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Cat Hairball Remedies

 

There are a number of hairball remedies marketed to help control hairballs. Most of these are petroleum based and work by trying to lubricate the hairball, making it more likely to be passed normally through the intestinal tract. These may be effective for some cats but are not effective in all cases. Some veterinarians, however, believe that these remedies can actually be harmful and have no place in the treatment or prevention of hairballs. Discuss your cat’s situation with your own veterinarian before you begin administering any of these products.

 

There are also a number of commercial cat foods that are marketed to help prevent and/or control hairballs. Most of these diets feature a high volume of fiber and work on the assumption that the fiber helps keeps the gastrointestinal tract moving normally. These may work for some cats but, again, are not effective in all cases.

 

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vomitus

Any material that has been ejected through vomiting

lymphoma

A term for a type of neoplasm that is made up of lymphoid tissue; these masses are usually malignant in nature

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

Source: Internet

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Hairballs and Cats Breed Characteristics

Adaptability stars Dog Friendly stars Shedding Level stars
Affection Level stars Exercise Needs stars Social Needs stars
Apartment Friendly stars Grooming stars Stranger Friendly stars
Barking Tendencies stars Health Issues stars Territorial stars
Cat Friendly stars Intelligence stars Trainability stars
Child Friendly star Playfulness stars Watchdog Ability stars
  1. Adaptability stars
  2. Affection Level stars
  3. Apartment Friendly stars
  4. Barking Tendencies stars
  5. Cat Friendly stars
  6. Child Friendly star
  7. Dog Friendly stars
  8. Exercise Needs stars
  9. Grooming stars
  10. Health Issues stars
  11. Intelligence stars
  12. Playfulness stars
  13. Shedding Level stars
  14. Social Needs stars
  15. Stranger Friendly stars
  16. Territorial stars
  17. Trainability stars
  18. Watchdog Ability stars

Hairballs and Cats Breed Characteristics

Adaptability stars Energy Level stars Shedding Level stars
Affection Level stars Grooming star Social Needs stars
Child Friendly stars Health Issues stars Stranger Friendly stars
Dog Friendly stars Intelligence stars
  1. Adaptability stars
  2. Affection Level stars
  3. Child Friendly stars
  4. Dog Friendly stars
  5. Energy Level stars
  6. Grooming star
  7. Health Issues stars
  8. Intelligence stars
  9. Shedding Level stars
  10. Social Needs stars
  11. Stranger Friendly stars
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