How to Avoid Hairballs in Cats
If you live daily with one or more cats, you’ve probably noticed their long cleaning sessions with lots of licking and even quite contortionist positions worthy of a yoga master. This normal behavior of cats has a problem: the ingestion of hairs. These ingested can accumulate in the digestive system of the animal forming the so-called hair balls .
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The elimination of hair balls can be a normal mechanism of cats to expel excess of ingrown hair. However, if this behavior is regular, it can cause serious problems.
Do you want to know how to avoid hair balls in cats ? YourCatCareguide wrote this article to answer this question and to inform you about the main problems associated with hairballs. Keep reading!
Vomiting balls of hair
Almost all long-haired cat tutors have seen their cat throw up hairballs. Effectively, accumulation of hair in the digestive tract and consequently expulsion through vomiting is more common in long-haired animals  .
Cats spend many hours taking care of theirs. Animals that live in groups take care of each other’s fur , behavior called allogrooming . For this reason, they ingest large amounts of what is normally eliminated by faeces. However, when the hair balls formed in the digestive tract are too large, they can not pass through the duodenum and the cat’s only solution is to vomit.
There are two reasons for the accumulation of so-called hair balls in the digestive system:
- Excessive hair intake : When the amount of hair ingested is so large that it is not possible to pass the hair from the stomach into the intestine. Different reasons may lead the cat to ingest more by the normal than for example: flea bite dermatitis , excessive pruritus on the skin or excessive overgrooming caused by pain or anxiety.
- Changes in gastrointestinal motility : Chronic gastrointestinal problems or changes in bowel motility caused by pain or stress. Some examples are food intolerances or irritable bowel syndrome.
Most tutors who find the cat to vomit hairballs assume this behavior to be normal. However, and especially in short-haired cats, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your pet and requires a visit to the veterinarian.
Cat with a strange cough
Most tutors describe the cat choking or with a strange cough and who eventually spits a roll where they can be clearly observed by the other digestive traces (as you can see in the image).
When the cat can not eliminate hairs ingested through feces or through vomiting, serious consequences can occur:
- Intestinal obstruction : The veterinarian can usually feel a mass in the abdominal region through physical examination.
- Obstruction of the esophagus : When trying to expel the ball of hair through the vomit, it is trapped in the esophagus obstructing it.
It is very important that during your regular visits to the veterinarian (every 6 months) you mention how often your cat vomits hairballs so the veterinarian can assess whether any preventive measures will be necessary.
Paste to eliminate hair balls in cats
A good option to improve this problem is the use of folders for hair balls . Products containing paraffin help lubrication, which makes it easier to pass the hairs from the stomach into the duodenum. Thus the hair is eliminated in the feces rather than forming the hair balls in the stomach which the cat subsequently has to vomit to expel.
Another option is to add a few drops of liquid paraffin in the cat’s usual food. However, there are some studies that point to the possibility of this practice reducing the absorption of some nutrients  .
For cats that regularly throw up balls of fur, there are specific diets that help control this problem. These rations are composed of high levels of insoluble fiber that help to improve gastrointestinal motility.
It has also been described that raw carnivorous diets can decrease the frequency with which cats vomit hairballs. However, there is still insufficient scientific evidence to indicate what the best nutritional option will be and there is a great deal of debate among animal nutrition experts on this subject. While some experts advocate the use of diets based on raw meats and bones, others are totally against and advocate the use of commercial diets.
Decrease intake of hair
The best strategy for eliminating hair balls in cats is to reduce their intake. For this, you should brush your cat regularly , especially if it is a long-haired cat . In addition to decreasing the intake of hair, you also prevent the cat from releasing so much hair . It is important to remember that you should use brushes suitable for long -haired cats or short -haired cats , depending on the type of coat your cat has.
Some severe cases of cats may need a lion-like cough to help the gastrointestinal system recover.
If you want to read the similar products to How to avoid hair balls in cats , we recommend you to enter our section of Hair Care .