Friday, February 19, 2010

Groom Your Cat To Avoid Hairballs

As loving cat owners we hate to think that our beloved pets are feeling unwell. That can be the first impression when your cat starts making hacking noises. Usually this is the first signs of the cat trying to get rid of a hairball.  Believe me, I freaked out the first time it happened to my cat, as a first-time cat owner!

If you see a blob of disgusting stuff on your floor (or in your bed or in your shoe!), it is likely to be a hairball.  Cats need to do this in order to remove hair from within their stomachs to keep them from getting sick.

What is it?  It’s a mass of hair and probably some food from the inside of a cat’s body.  When a cat grooms himself, he removes loose hair from throughout his body and it ends up in his stomach.  Sometimes, the hair comes together and forms a ball in there.  If he can not pass it, it is likely it won’t break down but will come up instead.  Okay more than you maybe wanted to know, but its nice to understand what is actually going on!

Most cats have trouble with removing hairballs.  If the cat can not get them up, it can get into the intestines and cause a blockage.  This is life threatening to the pet.  If your cat seems to be constipated it may be a sign of a blockage.  If the cat is lethargic and his coat is dull and unhealthy looking, this too may be a sign.  Watch that he eats as he normally does.  If not, you should call and take him to see the vet who will then find out if it is a hairball and then he’ll remove it.

You can prevent this type of problem yourself though.  One of the best ways to do this is to groom the pet.  The long haired cat need to be combed and brushed each day to remove excess hair.  If you start to groom him when he is still young, he will learn to tolerate it.  He may even look forward to being groomed.  Some cats will bring their combs to their owners even.  If he doesn’t like to be groomed, use a grooming glove cat especially loves the gloves!

If the cat still seems to have trouble with hairballs, you can add dietary aids to his diet.  One of these is a dry cat food that can help to prevent hairballs.  Don’t just buy the first bag of the formula that you find.  Make sure it is still a good quality food for your pet, one that is high in protein and other nutrients.  If your cat has a hairball, you can shop for the gel that can be added to the food which will help the hairball to pass.  Make sure to talk to your vet before using one of these hairball remedies for long periods of time though, if you want to use it more than a few days.

You can try some of the more natural remedies as well but you should insure they are okay with your vet first of course.  Some will actually cause your pet discomfort or will remove important nutrients from his body, which you obviously don't want to happen.  These include such things as pumpkin, mineral oils and even butter.  If your cat continues to have trouble with hairballs, talk to your vet about what you should do to improve this.


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