Hairballs are disgusting. And it becomes more so as you step on one in the middle of the night. Let us talk about some misconceptions and truths about this gross product of our beloved cats.
What causes these hairballs? What are the indications that your cat suffering from it? What are the many misconceptions about hairball in cats?
Hairballs, like every little thing in medicine, have a scientific name: trichobezoars. Tricho indicates "hair," and also bezoar means "a clumping of product that is held together in the intestinal tract." To put it merely, hairballs are nothing more than heaps of hair that can't conveniently pass through the intestinal system in a typical fashion.
Symptoms of Hairballs in Felines
It can be disturbing to watch (and also listen to) your cat getting rid of a hairball. Some typical hairball signs and symptoms include hacking and gagging. Usually, your cat will then throw up the hairball in no time.
If you notice the following symptoms, make sure to contact your vet, as they may indicate that a hairball has triggered a potentially dangerous clog:
- Loss of Appetite / Lack of Appetite
- Bowel irregularity
- Looseness of the bowels
Hairball Prevention and Hairball Control
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure that you can say to prevent vomiting. But there are a few points you can attempt to alleviate your feline's pain.
The easiest vomit counter-attack is regular brushing. Combing through the coat of your cat routinely may reduce the occurrence of hairballs.
When it comes to vomiting without hairball, see to it you feed your feline at the same time every day. Provide your cat with the amount of food recommended by your veterinarian and have clean, fresh water available at all times. A cat that is experiencing regular stomach upset might become dehydrated. While most felines will obtain most of their water from their food, regurgitating could result in water loss. Ensure to provide your cat with a lot of water access and urge her to drink when possible. These three easy actions can go a long way to preventing overeating or consuming too swiftly. For a cat who still bolts her food, you can attempt a challenge feeder or dehydrated food with big, crispy pieces to slow the cat down.
Unique foods or drugs suggested by your veterinarian might additionally relieve underlying wellness problems or allergic reactions that cause your pet cat vomiting. Be sure your cat sees the vet consistently.
So What are the Misconceptions About Hairballs?
Let's begin with the biggest one: Hairballs in cats are exclusively caused by swallowing hair. In exceptionally few cases, this is true. Hairless cats such as Sphynxes rarely get hairballs. However, swallowing hair in and of itself is not what causes hairballs.
Following this concept, all cats with hair are prone to have ingested hair of their grooming habits. That hair is meant to pass through the intestinal tracts and into the litter box. Unless your cat is grooming itself to the point of baldness (or always grooming others in a multiple-cat residence), hairballs aren't being caused by ingesting too much hair. Hairballs happen because the intestinal tract isn't moving hair in the way that it should.
The majority of cats who produce hairballs have underlying stomach issues, which may gradually become a bigger problem in the future. If you have a cat that consistently vomits hairballs, it's a good idea to take them to the veterinarian to be checked.
Another misconception is that hairballs are "coughed up." This is incorrect. Coughing is a process that involves the windpipe and the lungs. Hairballs are found in the stomach and the intestines. Hairballs do not cause this. Nonetheless, they may cause dry heaving and gagging that may seem like coughing.
Cats who yack up hairballs regularly or is recurring can also have hairball issues. If your cat coughs frequently but never gets any hairballs out, they likely have feline asthma or other respiratory problems. This may be a severe problem. Do not presume your cat has a hairball problem if he never vomits hairballs. The best thing t do bring them to the vet to be given chest X-rays.
Another misconception involves throwing up. Owners think that hairballs are the culprit when their cat is always vomiting. This usually is untrue. If hairballs come out when they vomit, hairballs may be contributing. However, owners should remember that the underlying stomach issues tend to cause this similar symptom to begin with. Those same gastrointestinal problems such as infiltrative/inflammatory digestive tract disease might trigger hairballs.
If your cat vomits regularly, do not shrug it off as hairball trouble. Ask your veterinarian what else could be causing the symptoms.
Many individuals assume that long-haired cats all deal with hairballs. With all that hair, it will naturally clog the pipes, right? But think about this: many long-haired such as Persians and Maine Coons shed less hair than short-haired cats. Why is this so? Short coats usually can grow their hair up to half an inch before it falls out. In long-haired breeds, the hair tends to grow longer (around two inches) before it sheds. Short-haired cats tend to have more shedding than long-haired ones.
Longer hairs seem more likely to clump up into hairballs. However, long-haired felines are less likely to suffer hairballs than their short-haired compatriots.
Some individuals think that hairless cats can't develop hairballs. This is true as long as they do not have access to some other cat's hair.
The good news is, surgical intervention is rarely needed to get rid of hairballs in cats. You can treat most hairball issues with a mix of addressing the underlying gastrointestinal problem and hairball management itself. An effective hairball remedy is relatively easy to find in the market. They are merely gastrointestinal lubricants to 'oil' things up and push the hairballs out into the litter box.
As fur parents, we all want our babies to be healthy cats. If your cat is coughing, vomiting, routinely hacking up hairballs, is losing weight, or is not eating, immediately see your veterinarian. Many cat owners delay treatment only to find out when the case is already severe.