If you are a cat owner then you have probably, at some stage, noticed your cat coughing or choking as if they have something stuck in their throat. The cat hairball is quite common and most of the time there is nothing to worry about.
You probably do have questions about hairballs and we have tried to answer the most common questions asked in this article.
What Is A Hairball In Cats?
As we all know, cats love to groom themselves. They have tiny little hooks on their tongue which when they lick themselves catch any loose hair that they have one them. Invariably they then swallow this hair. Most of it will pass through them, but some will form a hairball.
The more they groom and the more loose hair, the more hairballs they will suffer from.
Do All Cats Get Hairballs?
It really depends on the cat and how much they groom, for example, a long-haired cat will get hairballs whereas kittens don’t groom as much when they are young so don’t tend to get them. Short haired cats may get fewer hairballs.
The length of their hair, the amount of grooming they do and the amount you groom them will all contribute to the number of hairballs if any, that they get.
Why Do Cats Cough Up Hairballs?
Cats can become uncomfortable from hairballs. You may notice them coughing or gagging trying to get them up. They may also be seen eating grass to try and make themselves sick to try and bring up the hairball.
If you notice your cat eating excessive amounts of grass then you might want to chat with your vet to make sure there is no other underlying health issue.
How To Help A Cat Cough Up A Hairball.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to hairballs. If you groom your cat on a regular basis then there will be less excess hair for them to swallow.
If your cat is constantly suffering then you can try a lubricant in their food, like olive oil. There are also special foods you can get for them and I would always recommend a trip to the vets.
Are Hairballs In Cats Dangerous?
Usually, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to hairballs in your cat’s. If you are taking preventative measures then it’s unlikely your cat will get many, if any, hairballs.
If, however, the hairball becomes too big then it could cause a blockage. If you notice that your cat is coughing (as if trying to bring up a hairball) and nothing is coming up then I would contact your vet if you are concerned.
Natural Hairball Remedy For Cats.
One of the best ways to stop a cat from getting hairballs is to groom them regularly. By taking away the excess hair with a comb or brush then your cat is not ingesting excess hair when they groom themselves. If they are swallowing less hair when they are grooming themselves then there is less chance of them getting hairballs.
Another option is to add a teaspoon of olive oil to their food once or twice a week. This means if they do get a hairball then their digestive system is more lubricated and they can pass the hairball more easily. Olive oil can also help with their digestion. If you are concerned about whether this would be suitable for your cat then always consult with your vet.