Cats develop hairballs by grooming themselves and ingesting hair, which accumulates in the stomach and eventually forms a wad that has to be regurgitated. Hairballs are, in and of themselves, harmless, but can become a problem if they get stuck in the digestive tract and cause a blockage, which results in a serious medical emergency.
"The cat has developed a digestive tract that can handle normal amounts of fur without a problem. Even long-haired cats should not develop more than one or two hairballs a year." Dr Jane Brunt told Mental Floss.
Follow along as we share a few tips that experts deem helpful in minimising hairballs!
Brushing your cats regularly can help get rid of the dead and loose hair on their coat. Starting with one or two strokes with a grooming glove and following up with their favourite treat may make the transition easier. The more fur you remove from your cats, the less fur that will clump up in their stomach.
A high-fiber diet will improve the health of your cats' coat, reduce the amount of shedding, and help lubricate hair through the digestive tract. Always make sure that you consult with your vet about your cats' specific nutritional and dietary needs before switching diets.
Hairball-control treats contain specific enzymes that are designed to dissolve hairballs or keep them from building up in your cats' stomach. Hairball remedy gels feature natural oils and lubricants to aid in the elimination and prevention of hairballs. Put a dab on your cats' nose or paws to stimulate licking it off.
Water is a natural lubricant that can help sweep ingested hair through the digestive system. You can increase your cats' water intake by supplementing with wet food, which will help promote proper hydration and improve their digestion.
Hairballs are a result of your cats' fastidious grooming routine. Try to train your cats to steer clear of compulsive grooming. This might include teaching your cats to do other fun-filled activities and playing with a new toy together.