Every once in a while, we’ll catch our favourite little furballs coughing up a cat hairball of their own. It’s really gross and often accompanied by bits of their dinner. Why exactly do cats get hairballs? Is it something you should worry about?
Cats just love grooming themselves! They use their tongues to lick their hair into place, keeping their coat clean and smooth while maintaining their body temperature and circulation. Cats also groom to show affection, or if they’re feeling embarrassed or anxious.
This often ends up in our cat companions ingesting tons of their own hair. While most get passed through their digestive system, some hairs end up coming out the other end as a blob of dead hair and digestive juices. Even lions get cat hairballs too!
Should I Be Worried?
Most of the time, hairballs are harmless! They can cause a mess, but in general they don’t pose a huge health threat.
That said, if too much hair accumulates in your cat’s stomach, it can get stuck in their small intestine. This often causes your cat to be lethargic and uninterested in food. They may also experience true vomiting. In these cases, it’s vital to get them to a veterinarian right away.
Thankfully, hairballs are easily managed. It does take some time and effort on our parts, but it will definitely help our favourite feline friends feel more comfortable and at home!
#1 Groom Your Cat
Some cats get touchy about being groomed with a brush, so it’s important to take your time and get them slowly used to regular brushing sessions. Schedule short cat grooming sessions when your cat is calm and sleepy, like right after dinner. Lengthen these sessions as your cat gets more comfortable.
In the meantime, start with pet wipes like Woosh’s Pet Wipes that help remove shedded fur from your cat’s coat, while moisturizing their skin and coat. Be gentle, and try not to push your cats too far out of their comfort zone.
Once your cat is more comfortable with brushing, try using a rubber brush to remove dead hair in their coat and a bristle brush for other dirt and debris. Long-haired cats will need a little more time and effort to brush their hairs. If necessary, reputable grooming services can also help manage your cats fur.
#2 Cat Hairball Control Diet
One of the biggest causes of hairballs is poor digestive health, since most of your cat’s fur passes through their digestive system.
In that case, specially formulated cat hairball prevention diets like Wellness’s Complete Health Indoor Cat Food are great ways to manage hairballs. These diets offer shedding support, by boosting your pet’s skin and coat health. Added fibre in your cat’s diet will also help keep their digestive system running smoothly!
#3 Interactive Cat Grooming Toys
Another interesting cat hairball prevention method is getting an interactive cat grooming toy like CatIt’s Senses 2.0 Wellness Center.
For cats that dislike brushing or salons, interactive toys like these can be a lifesaver. This one in particular provides full body massages with flexible brushes that help collect loose hairs, while providing your cat plenty of fun and relaxation!
Hairballs are somewhat inevitable. Most cats get them, and often hack up a cat hairball or two once or twice a week. Make sure to keep some handy cleaners and wipes on hand to clean up any mess, and keep your cats away from important things you don’t want dirtied!
In addition, keep your home free of anything your cat can accidentally ingest - whether it’s thread, paper clips, paper or other similar materials.
Hairballs are really common in house cats, but they’re easy to manage with cat grooming, diet and changes to their environment as needed. It’s important to note that cat hairball production differs cat to cat, so make sure to monitor their hairballs. If they hack up one a week on most weeks, but suddenly stop or hack up way more, you may want to send your cat to the vet for a check-up!
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.