Did you know that April 24th is Hairball Awareness Day? We’re guessing probably not. It definitely isn’t the cutest kitty holiday on your calendar. Hairballs are, unfortunately, a pretty common experience with our feline pals. However, that doesn’t mean they are always harmless. In this article, a Seminole, FL vet discusses—you guessed it—hairballs.
We all know that cats are very clean: it’s one of their best qualities. In fact, some studies show that kitties spend a pretty good chunk of the time that they are actually awake grooming themselves. Sooner or later, your feline friend will ingest some of her own fur during these kitty beauty rituals. Cats can’t digest hair properly. You know what happens next. It’s not fun for either you or Fluffy.
While there’s no way to 100% guarantee that your kitty will never get hairballs, there are some things you can do to help prevent or reduce them. First and foremost? Brush Fluffy regularly. This will remove dead fur and dander from her coat before she swallows it. (It’s also a good way to make your pet feel pampered.) We also recommend keeping cats indoors. Kitties that stay inside tend to shed less than those who are allowed to go outdoors. Good nutrition is also important, as pets that are well nourished have shiny, healthy coats. Poor nutrition, on the other hand, can leave your feline buddy looking dry and frizzy, and can increase the amount of fur she sheds. Hairball preventative products can also be very helpful, particularly with cats with very thick or long fur. Ask your vet for specific product recommendations. Last but not least, keep up with your furry pal’s parasite control products.
Although it isn’t unusual for kitties to have hairballs—or to leave them in suspiciously inconvenient places—sometimes they are more than an unsightly nuisance. Occasionally, the hair that kitties swallow when cleaning themselves gets lodged in their intestines. This can create blockages, which are both very painful and very dangerous. Keep an eye out for warning signs. Some common ones are dry heaving, bloody vomit, excessive vomit, and reduced appetite. Call your vet immediately if you notice these or any other red flags.
Do you have questions about hairballs? Is Fluffy due for an exam, vaccine, or parasite control? Contact us, your local Seminole, FL vet clinic, today!