Hairballs and your cat
Unlike lots of veterinary terminology, there is no need to explain what your vet means when they diagnose hairballs in your cat.
A hairball is exactly that – hair that has been eaten by the animal and has formed a firm, compacted mass in their digestive tract (stomach/intestine). Hairballs can cause the following problems
- hard faeces/constipation
- intestinal obstruction (blockage)
When a cat licks itself during grooming, loose hairs are commonly swallowed and it is the accumulation of these that forms a hairball. It is usually a problem of longhaired cats, especially at the change of seasons, but can occur in shorthaired cats and also those that groom excessively due to parasitic skin conditions or stress.
If your cat is showing signs of problems due to hairballs (see above), your vet may recommend a treatment such as a laxative paste to help the hairball move through the intestinal tract. They will also recommend treating any skin disease such as fleas or fungal infections that may cause excessive grooming.
As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Regular grooming is essential, especially for long haired cats and some people even choose to clip their pets if they are having problems coping with their grooming requirements.Some cats will need regular dosing with laxative pastes. An alternative is to use one of the hairball control diets that are available now. These diets contain special vegetable fibre which helps hair that is swallowed to move through the body rather than sitting in the stomach.
<< view other articles in this category