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Fluffy’s Hairballs

Do you own a cat? If so, hairballs are most likely a part of life. Have you ever wondered why hairballs occur, and more importantly, if they cause your cat any health trouble? Your Coon Rapids, MN vet goes over the basics of your cat’s hairballs below:

Why Do Hairballs Form?

Your feline friend’s tongue contains tiny barbs that pick up loose hair from the coat when she licks herself during grooming. That results in a lot of swallowed hair; most of that hair moves through your cat’s digestive system and is expelled naturally in the feces. Some, though, remains in the digestive tract and clumps together into a hairball, which is eventually regurgitated.

Do Hairballs Cause My Cat Harm?

When your cat coughs up a hairball, you’ll see a few moments of retching before the hairball appears. It will be accompanied by some stomach fluid, and the hairball itself is likely to be more tubular than round, since it’s just passed through your pet’s esophageal tube. Coughing up a hairball certainly doesn’t look pleasant for your cat, but does it cause any harm?

No, the occasional hairball is not harmful for your cat. It’s a natural part of life, even though it doesn’t look very appealing!

With that being said, there are a few things to be on the lookout for when it comes to hairballs. If your cat has suddenly started coughing up a lot of hairballs, a health issue could be the cause. Additionally, rush your cat to the emergency room if they’re retching and gagging but not actually producing a hairball; they could be choking. Finally, it’s important to note that vomiting is not the same thing as coughing up a hairball. Cats who are vomiting frequently should be examined by their veterinarian.

Can I Help My Cat Cough Up Fewer Hairballs?

Grooming your cat with a brush is the best way to lessen the amount of hairballs your cat coughs up—since brushing traps loose fur in the tool itself, your cat swallows less! Another great tip is to make sure your cat is eating a high-quality, well-balanced feline diet that suits her age, breed, and weight. That way, the skin and fur stays healthy and your cat sheds less initially, ultimately resulting in fewer hairballs.

Want to know more about your cat’s grooming needs? Give your Coon Rapids, MN vet clinic a call today.

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