Learn All About Your Cat’s Hairballs

Learn All About Your Cat’s Hairballs

One of the more unpleasant aspects of owning a cat is dealing with hairballs. For most of our feline friends, hairballs are simply a part of life! To learn about your cat’s hairballs—and to find out whether or not they pose a threat to your pet—read on as a Teller County, CO veterinarian tells you more.

Why Do Hairballs Occur, Anyway?

When your cat grooms herself, tiny barbs lining the tongue pick up loose fur from the coat. Your cat swallows this fur, and most of it moves through the digestive tract normally and eventually gets expelled in your cat’s feces. Some of that hair, though, remains in the gut, clumping together over time into a hairball. Eventually, your cat regurgitates that hairball, most likely along with a bit of stomach fluid.

Are Hairballs Dangerous for My Cat?

No, the occasional hairball is not dangerous. It’s a perfectly normal part of life for your cat, however unpleasant it may look. With that being said, it’s worth a trip to the vet’s office if you find your cat is coughing up hairballs frequently. She might be suffering from a health issue that’s causing her to shed more, thereby ingesting more hair and producing more hairballs. Also, if you see your cat retching and gagging but not actually coughing up a hairball, take her to the emergency room, as she could be choking.

A final word of caution: coughing up a hairball and vomiting are not the same thing! If your cat is vomiting consistently, take her to the vet’s office for an examination as soon as possible.

How Can I Help My Cat Cough Up Fewer Hairballs?

You’ll be pleased to know that there are a few simple ways to help your cat cough up fewer hairballs. First, feed your pet a high-quality diet. This ensures that Fluffy receives all of the essential nutrients needed for healthy skin and a quality coat of fur, resulting in less hair shed and therefore less hair swallowed. Another important step is to brush your cat on a regular basis; this traps much of your cat’s loose hair in the brush itself, preventing your cat from swallowing it in the first place.

Want a recommendation on a great diet for your cat? Need advice on your pet’s grooming routine? We’re here to help! Contact your Teller County, CO animal hospital to learn more.

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