cat hairballs

What Should You Do if Your Cat has Hairballs?

You love your cat's silky coat and how immaculately clean she keeps it. But the hairballs she vomits?... Not so much! Hairballs are common in cats, especially those with medium to long coats. If you're worried about your cat and the hairballs she's leaving all over the house, keep reading! We're going to discuss what's normal, other causes of hairballs, and how to treat the problem if your cat has frequent hairballs.

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Is it normal for my cat to vomit hairballs?

All cats groom/lick themselves, thereby ingesting loose hairs. Normally the ingested hair passes through the stomach and intestines and is eliminated in the cats’ stool. Indoor cats that groom frequently and vomit hairballs may have problems such as skin irritation, fleas or other parasites, or anxiety. Hairballs look like a clump of hair in the shape of a tube. If you notice your cat vomiting hairballs frequently, more than twice a year, you should contact your vet for advice.

How can you prevent hairballs in your cat?

Make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss specific methods of preventing hairballs in your cat. Your vet can also make sure your cat doesn’t have any underlying problems that could be causing hairballs. Your vet knows your cats’ medical history and can determine the best way to treat and prevent hairballs.

What can you do at home to prevent hairballs in your cat?

  • Grooming: brush your cats’ fur daily. Long-haired cats may need to have their hair coats trimmed.
  • Regular flea prevention using veterinary recommended products.
  • Feed a diet specifically formulated for hairball prevention. These foods contain added fiber that helps improve movement of the hair through the stomach and intestines. Always talk to your vet to assess your cat’s specific dietary needs.

How can you treat hairballs?

Hairball remedies often help cats to pass the hair from their stomach and out in their stool. It’s always recommended that you contact your veterinarian if you notice your cat vomiting hairballs. This may be a symptom of skin irritation, parasites such as fleas, anxiety, or something else that needs to be addressed.

For more information about coat care and grooming, check out our related articleand the American Association of Feline Practitioners website!

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