As a new cat owner, it’s completely normal to have a lot of questions about your pet. One of the most common issues that comes up is that of hairballs. To fully understand this topic, it’s important to start with why they develop in the first place. Cats are very particular about their grooming. It’s why they have no problem carefully licking their coats for hours. And once they finish, a cat may choose to promptly start again.
Because cats spend so much time licking their coats, it’s only natural that they’re going to end up swallowing some of their fur. Fortunately, this isn’t a new experience for cats, which is why their digestive systems are usually capable of easily passing small amounts of fur without any issues. However, there are times when hair can get trapped in a cat’s stomach.
When this first happens, it’s usually not a problem due to the small amounts of hair. But if the hair continues to build up inside a cat’s stomach, it can form a hairball. Since a hairball can be uncomfortable for a cat, they will usually try to gag and hack in an attempt to vomit it up.
Despite the fact that a cat may not look very happy when they’re trying to throw up, the good news is most hairballs are not a serious issue. If a cat stops retching within three days, you generally don’t have to worry. In the event that retching does continue or a cat has constipation or refuses food for more than 24 hours, it may be a sign of an intestinal or other digestive blockage. That type of blockage can be deadly if it’s not addressed, so getting your cat to a vet is very important.
In cases that don’t involve a hairball causing a blockage, we’ve got a few helpful tips to make it easier for your cat to pass a hairball or even prevent them from forming in the first place:
Check for Fleas
If you notice your cat is grooming more than normal, it may be a sign of fleas. You can reduce your cat’s need to groom by eliminating the fleas.
Be Consistent with Brushing and Combing
Cats can shed a lot, which is why it’s worth brushing and combing on a daily basis. This is especially true during the warmer months of the year. It’s also helpful to use a wet wipe after brushing to get rid of any lingering loose hairs.
Give Your Cat a Distraction
Some cats have a compulsion to lick. By regularly playing with your cat and providing other forms of entertainment, you can help reduce your cat’s urges to constantly groom.
Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber can make it easier for cats to pass hair and even hairballs. Experts recommend a food blend with at least 3.5% fiber, which is exactly what Pet Wants has in its adult cat formula.