Cat Hairball Symptoms

A cat hairball is a condition that's commonly seen in felines. Although cats are known to cough up hairballs on rare occasions, pets that cough up hairballs more than twice a month or exhibit frequent symptoms of cat hairball, require medical attention. The treatment for cat hairball is minimal and could sometimes be cured with home remedies. Cat hairball becomes a dangerous situation if the hairball causes intestinal blockage which could lead to death.

Cat Hairball

Cat hairball is a long cylindrical shaped mass that contains cat fur and undigested food. Hairballs are formed when a cat ingests cat fur that doesn't pass through the gastrointestinal tract. The cat's tongue is rough in nature and enables pets to better groom themselves. During routine grooming the loose or dead fur sticks to the cats tongue and is swallowed by the cat. This hair eventually gets compacted with undigested food and causes discomfort to cats.

Symptoms of Cat Hairball

  • Cat ejects hairballs
  • Retching or coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Cats appear to be choking during hairball removal
  • Stomach contractions
  • Hair in cats feces
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing Hairballs

Cats that are trying to remove a hairball will cough in an attempt to expel the matter out of the body. Cough that isn't followed by a hairball or vomiting should be checked by the vet to rule out conditions such as asthma. Cat breeds that have long hair coats are more susceptible to hairballs. Although there are several medications for cat hairball, it's necessary to take a more preventive approach.

Prevention of Feline Hairball

Cats that are combed frequently do not swallow excess fur during self grooming. Although many pet owners use a brush to groom their pets a comb works better since it penetrates deeper. A wide-toothed comb is ideal for longhaired cats while a fine flea comb is better suited to shorthaired cats. Pets may also try to ingest grass or plants to induce vomiting. However, not all pets eat grass to eliminate hairballs and it's best to conduct a vet check when in doubt.

Cat Hairball Treatment

Cat hairballs cat be treated by increasing the amount of fiber in cat food. In addition pets may be given hairball remedies that contain lubricants that aid the gastrointestinal tract to digest food. Several pet owners have used petroleum jelly as a home remedy for hairballs. Although this may have been effective in some pets, it's best to use vet products that are safe and don't contain toxins which go unnoticed in some home treatments.

High Fiber Diets

There are several commercial cat food diets that are high in fiber. Fiber work's to bind food and hair and pass it through the gastrointestinal tract. Fiber should be gradually incorporated in pet food as an overdose of fiber leads to an irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Commercial Cat Hairball Diets

  • Purina One Advanced Nutrition Hairball Formula Cat Food
  • Pro Plan Extra Care Hairball Management Chicken and Rice Formula
  • Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Care
  • Iams Hairball Care ProActive Health Dry Cat Food
  • Cat Hairball can be easily controlled if the symptoms are noticed in time. A healthy diet and proper grooming are basics of good pet care.