If you’re a cat owner, you may have seen your furry friend hacking up hairballs from time to time. Hairballs in cats are a common issue, but do you know what are the causes to them and symptoms of them? And how can you help your cat to treat hairballs?
In this piece, we will answer these questions and more. So, if you want to learn about the symptoms of hairballs in cats and how to treat them, keep reading!
What causes hairballs in cats?
Hairballs are what they sound like – wads of hair that a cat has ingested.
Cats have a habit of grooming themselves by licking their fur. As cats groom themselves, they swallow much fur. It accumulates in their digestive tract, forming a wad that they cough up or vomit. Some loose hair they ingest gets caught in their digestive tract when they do this. Most of it will pass through the intestines in their feces. But, some of it can remain in their stomach, forming a hairball.
Hairballs can vary in size and frequency, and they can cause health problems if left untreated. While it’s gross to clean up, hairballs aren’t always a significant issue unless they’re frequent and cause discomfort or pain for your cat.
Symptoms of hairballs in cats
#1 Coughing and hacking
Cats must swallow their hair as they groom themselves, which settles in their stomach. The hair continues to accumulate until it forms a hairball that sits in its gut.
When the hairball grows, it can be challenging to expel, leading to coughing and hacking. These sounds usually indicate that your feline friend is attempting to clear a hairball stuck in their throat.
#2 Loss of appetite or vomiting
When a hairball is too big to pass, it may prevent your cat from eating or drinking, causing a loss of appetite. Alternatively, the hairball can sit in the intestinal tract, leading to a blockage that can induce vomiting and constipation.
Therefore, monitoring your cat’s food intake and ensuring it is drinking lots of water to help prevent hairball accumulation is crucial.
#3 Lethargy and excessive grooming
Cats love to rest and sleep, but it may be time to check for hairballs if your cat seems down, lacks energy, or sleeps more than usual. Hairballs can make your cat uncomfortable and irritate the stomach, leading to fatigue and lethargy.
Furthermore, suppose you notice your cat grooming themselves excessively. In that case, it’s a sign that your cat is trying to eliminate hairballs, so watch for this behavior.
#4 Abdominal discomfort and diarrhea
When hairballs block the digestive tract, it can lead to inflammation and abdominal pain in cats. Your cat may show discomfort when you touch its belly or change its posture to avoid the pain.
Moreover, the hairball can cause constipation, sometimes leading to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or even blood in the stool. Therefore, you must visit the veterinarian immediately if you see such symptoms.
#5 Behavioral changes
Lastly, hairballs can affect the overall mood and behavior of your cat. They may become agitated, irritable, or even show signs of depression. Therefore, it’s essential to check for hairballs if you see any sudden or unexplained changes in your cat’s behavior.
How to treat hairballs in cats
If your cat is already dealing with hairball symptoms, there are some treatments you can try.
The most straightforward method is incorporating hairball control foods into your cat’s diet. These specialized foods contain added fiber that supports healthy digestion, preventing hair accumulation in their stomachs.
If hairballs are already a problem, try grooming your cat more often. Regular grooming sessions help remove excess fur before your cat can swallow it, decreasing the chances of hairball blockages. Brushing your cat’s coat every day can also help improve their coat health, leaving them with a sleek and shiny appearance.
But if your cat is experiencing severe hairball issues, it’s always best to consult your vet. They can provide professional advice on your pet’s best hairball treatment options.
Cats are adorable pets that require the utmost care and attention. Hairballs are naturally occurring issues that most cats have to deal with. Cat owners must recognize the signs and provide proper care to their pets when needed.
If symptoms persist or worsen, always consult with a veterinarian to help ensure their well-being. With some care and attention, you can help ensure your cat stays healthy, happy, and free of hairballs.
And if you need pet essentials to help with this issue, you can shop at Doobert today! Every purchase supports an animal rescue organization.