Vomiting is one way that cats will expel the hair ball & this can be unpleasant for all involved! So why do cats get hair balls & how can we reduce the incidence?
Grooming occupies 25% of a cats day. A cats tongue is designed with thousands of barbs that act like a comb so it isn’t surprising to know that cats ingest large amounts of fur each day. Most of the fur passes normally through the gastrointestinal tract of the cat & passes in the cats faeces.
According to the Journal of Feline medicine & surgery, hair balls that a cat may vomit are caused by an overload of hair that overwhelms the small intestine. Longhaired cats are affected more than short haired cats but there are other factors that can lead to this:
So, how can you reduce the occurrence of hair balls? Grooming the cat for a few extra minutes will reduce the amount of hair that is ingested by the cat. If you have a longhaired cat, groom them twice daily. The Purina ShedEze is ideal for removing loose undercoat, without damaging the topcoat and will also reduce shedding.
You can also use one of the hairball formula diets to assist with elimination. This formula is high in vegetable fibre, which sweeps hair through the digestive tract reducing the build up of hairballs in the stomach. Some of these diets also reduce the amount of shedding as the quality of the food improves the coat and skin so less hair is lost. Hill’s Science Diet has a hairball formula as well as a light hairball formula, both are excellent for this problem.
Ensure that your cat has a constant supply of fresh drinking water. Drinking plenty will help prevent constipation & can assist with the normal passing of fur. If you don’t think your cat drinks enough water, try a CatIt drinking fountain. These plug into a power point & will constantly run water through the fountain head. Many cats love the sound of running water & this will encourage them to drink some more.
Prevent flea’s by using a spot on product every 28 days. Even when you don’t think your cat has any flea’s you should still apply as a preventative measure.
Finally, introduce some more exercise in your cat’s day. Active interaction can help reduce boredom in cats & exercise helps the gastrointestinal tract function normally thus assisting with elimination of fur naturally.
If your cat still shows signs of frequent elimination of hair balls, you should have this checked out by your vet.
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