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The Basics of Hairballs

February 1, 2019
How much do you know about hairballs? They’re a fact of life for almost all of our feline friends. Hairballs aren’t fun for your cat, and they’re definitely not pleasant to clean up, but are they harmful? Learn more below from Westside Animal Hospital, your Savannah, GA vet clinic.

Why and How Do Hairballs Form?

When your cat grooms herself, tiny barbs lining the tongue pick up a lot of your cat’s loose hair, which she then swallows. Most of that hair moves through your cat’s digestive system in normal fashion, eventually getting expelled in Fluffy’s fecal matter. Some of the swallowed hair, though, remains in the gut and clumps together into a hairball. Your cat eventually regurgitates that hairball.

Are Hairballs Harmful to My Cat?

No, hairballs aren’t harmful. They’re a normal part of life for a healthy cat, and the occasional hairball really isn’t anything to worry about. Does your cat seem to be coughing up hairballs frequently? It’s worth a trip to the vet’s office for an exam, because health issues could be to blame. Something might be making your cat shed more, resulting in an increase in hair ingestion and therefore more hairballs! Do you see your cat retching and gagging but not actually producing a hairball? Rush her to the emergency room, as she could be choking on a foreign object or otherwise experiencing airway blockage. Additionally, it’s important to understand that vomiting is not the same as coughing up a hairball; cats who are vomiting frequently should be seen by their veterinarian.

Can I Help Fluffy Cough Up Fewer Hairballs?

Have you ever wondered if you can help your cat experience fewer hairballs? You’re in luck. First, brush your feline friend on a daily basis. This is a great way to trap much of your cat’s loose fur in your brush, which prevents her from swallowing it. It also helps to minimize the amount of cat fur found around your home! Another key tip is to feed your cat a great diet; when your cat receives the proper nutrients, her skin and fur stays healthy and she sheds less to begin with. Feel free to ask your vet for a recommendation on a great diet choice. Westside Animal Hospital, your trusted Savannah, GA veterinary clinic, is here to help with all of your cat’s care needs. Give us a call to make an appointment!

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