April 26th is Hairball Awareness Day! We know, hairballs aren’t really something to celebrate. Hug Your Cat Day and Cuddly Kitten Day are much more fun to talk about. However, hairballs are a fairly common issue in our feline pals. Therefore, it is important for people owned by cats to know why hairballs form, and when they are more than a nuisance. A Norwalk, CA vet discusses hairballs below.
Our feline friends are very clean, which is one reason they make such great pets. Fluffy will carefully groom herself, keeping that pretty fur soft and shiny. You also don’t have to bathe your cat, though you can if you want to, assuming your vet doesn’t object. On the downside, we have hairballs. Hairballs form when cats swallow too much of their own fur while cleaning themselves. Kitties can’t digest their own fur. We probably don’t have to tell you what happens next. Suffice it to say, it’s not the best part of having a cat.
There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of hairballs your furry buddy gets. Brushing your kitty every day will help. This will remove dead fur and dander from her coat before she swallows it. (Less dead fur on your cat means less dead fur in your cat.) Keeping your kitty inside can also help. Indoor cats aren’t as exposed to the seasonal changes that trigger shedding cycles as outdoor felines. You may also need to put your pet on a hairball preventative. Another thing that is important is keeping up with Fluffy’s parasite control. Last but not least, a good diet is also crucial. Proper nutrition will help keep your cat’s coat shiny and healthy, and will reduce the amount of hair she sheds.
Hairballs are often ‘purr for the course’ with our feline companions. However, they aren’t always harmless. If Fluffy can’t throw up her hairball, it could become lodged in her intestines. This can cause painful and potentially life-threatening blockages. Excessive vomiting, reduced appetite, dry heaving, and/or a sudden increase in hairballs are all red flags. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs, or anything else out of the ordinary.
Please feel free to contact us, your local Norwalk, CA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!