Hairballs: The Hairy Truth of the Matter

Seeing your feline friend struggle to expel a hairball can be quite distressing. It seems like they’re choking, but hairballs aren’t harmful, are they? Actually, that’s not always the case.The development of hairballs is not uncommon in cats, but it may indicate potential health problems. What follows is information on the causes of cat hairballs and how to treat them so that your cat passes them without incident.

What is the Reason Behind Cat Hairballs?

Cats lick themselves clean every single day, making them master groomers. As a result, they consume a substantial amount of dead hair. Paolillo claims that feline fur is denser than that of a human. Unlike humans, felines can grow anywhere from six to eight hairs per follicle. She adds that some felines can be more prone to having hairballs than others. The Merck Veterinary Manual states that complex hair follicles develop in cats from the time they are born. Moreover, hormonal shifts, dietary changes, heredity, and the changing seasons all have an impact on their hair development.

Hairballs: What Are They?

A hairball in a cat is just what it sounds: a clump of hair that forms in the digestive tract of a cat.

The protein keratin is indigestible and found non cats’ fur. When a cat ingests hair, it typically passes through its digestive tract and is expelled through its stool, as stated by the Cornell Feline Health Center. On rare occasions, though, hair can gather in the stomach and form lumps. In most cases, your cat will vomit it up as a means of elimination.

According to the doctors at Cornell, it is considered an emergency if a huge hairball becomes caught in the digestive tract or blocks the openings of the stomach (esophagus or intestine).

Is There Anything That Can Help Cats Pass Hairballs?

Paolillo advises that regular brushing is the best course of action if your cat is experiencing hairballs. They won’t ingest as much hair after this because excess hair is removed. Dead hair, along with dander and dandruff, can be easily removed by giving them a wash before it becomes an issue.

To facilitate the passage of hair without vomiting, your veterinarian may prescribe a laxative. The hair is slicker after using these items, so it may go through the digestive system more freely and not get stuck.

When Will My Cat Next Have a Hairball?

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center (CFHC), hairballs in cats happen sometimes, usually no more than once every seven days. To be sure it’s not something dangerous, it’s best to discuss your cat’s hairballs with your vet.

You should consult your vet immediately if you notice that your cat is becoming sick more often. Another illness, such as asthma or a gastrointestinal one, could be to blame.