Hairballs, also called furballs, can be very annoying and sometimes even dangerous to your cat. Below you can read how hairballs are caused and what you can do to treat and prevent hairballs in your cat.
My cat is getting hairballs, why?
Hairballs in cats are a result of your cat’s healthy grooming routine. A cat has a rough tongue that acts as a brush to remove loose hair and dirt from its fur. Usually those swallowed hairs are excreted with the feces.
If the cat ingests too much hair, the hairs in the stomach can clump together into hairballs. These hairballs can be pooped or vomited out, unless they get too big.
How often does a cat get hairballs?
The appearance of hairballs differs considerably from cat to cat. A long-haired cat is more likely to develop hairballs than a cat with short hair. Furthermore, a cat is more likely to get hairballs in a period of molting. Finally, cats with skin problems or stress are more likely to develop hairballs due to excessive grooming. Then a vet check is recommended to address the underlying cause of the hairball problem.
Symptoms your cat is getting hairballs
Most cats with hairballs:
- Eat grass
- Vomit or retch, this may also resemble a cough
- Have stomach ache
- Have more or less constipation
- Have less or no appetite
Hairball treatment for cats
As a natural hairball remedy for cats are available:
- Hairball paste for cats: For mild complaints, a hairball paste such as Kat-a-lax or Lax-a-past can dissolve the hairball. A hairball paste, or malt paste, softens hairballs and has a mild laxative effect, without causing diarrhoea. Most cats really like hairball paste. If not, you can mix the paste with food. Or spread it on a front paw: the cat ingests it while washing off.
- Hairball treats for cats: Hairball treats, like Easypill Hairball, are tasty and easy to dose without the stickiness of a hairball paste. Below this text you can find all our hairball products for cats.
Cat hairball stuck
Sometimes, a cat hairball gets stuck. If a hairball is not dissolved or vomited out, it may grow and finally block the exit of the stomach or causes a blockage in the intestines. If the hairball is in the stomach, keyhole surgery (endoscopy) can sometimes remove the hairball. In other cases, surgery may be required to remove the hairball from the stomach or intestines. If your cat gets sick, it is wise to contact your vet.
Hairball prevention in cats
- Brush your cat regularly to remove loose hair from the fur. The less hair your cat swallows, the less likely it is to develop hairballs.
- For a long-haired cat that does not want to be brushed, trimming or shaving may be an option. If you cannot manage this at home, try a cat grooming salon.
- Hairball paste and hairball treats can also be given preventively.
- Hairball cat food prevents constipation and facilitates hair to be excreted in the feces.
- Provide your (indoor) cat with cat grass. It can help your cat to vomit and get rid of the hairball, before it gets too big.