How Hairballs Form
One great thing about cats is the fact that they are naturally very clean. Your furry little diva may spend hours every day carefully cleaning her fur to make sure it stays soft and shiny. Fluffy will inevitably swallow some of her own fur during these beauty rituals. Since kitties can’t properly digest fur, well, we all know what happens next.
There are some things you can do to decrease the odds of your kitty developing hairballs. First, make sure that Fluffy is eating good, high-quality food. Proper nutrition will help keep your pet’s fur soft and shiny, and will reduce the amount of dead fur she sheds. Brushing your feline buddy daily will also help: you’ll be capturing your furry pal’s dead hair in a brush before she can swallow it. This is particularly important for long-haired kitties and those with thick coats. Keeping your cat indoors is another way to help reduce your pet’s hairballs. This is because cats that go outdoors shed more than indoor kitties. (Bonus: you’ll also find less cat fur stuck to your clothes and upholstery.) Finally, ask your vet about using a hairball remedy.
While hairballs are, unfortunately, not uncommon in kitties, they can sometimes become problematic. If your feline pal can’t expel her hairballs, she could develop painful—and potentially life-threatening—intestinal blockages. Fluffy can’t tell you if she is sick, so it’s up to you to watch for warning signs. An increase in the amount of your cat’s hairballs can be a red flag. Dry-heaving and/or violent or excessive vomiting can also indicate trouble. A decreased appetite is another possible symptom. If you notice any of these symptoms in your kitty, contact your vet immediately. Cats tend to try to mask signs of illness, so your pet could be very sick before you notice anything wrong.
Is your kitty due for vaccinations, parasite control, or an exam? Call us, your Aurora, CO pet hospital, anytime! We’re here to help!