April 24th is Hairball Awareness Day! We know, this isn’t the cutest pet-themed holiday on the books. It’s much more fun to talk about Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day or Walk Your Dog Day. However, hairballs are to some extent ‘purr’ for the course with kitties, so it’s important for people owned by cats to know why they form. A San Antonio, TX vet discusses hairballs below.
Why Hairballs Happen
As you’ve probably noticed, cats are very good about keeping themselves clean. Fluffy will diligently groom herself to keep her fur soft and pretty. Kitties inevitably swallow some of their own hair during these beauty sessions. Cats can’t really digest their own fur, so at that point a hairball is born. We know, it isn’t Fluffy’s most charming trick. (Note: It’s entirely possible that kitties deliberately choose the most inconvenient spots to leave their hairballs. However, scientists haven’t proven this yet.)
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of your kitty’s hairballs. Brushing your feline buddy regularly will help a lot, as you’ll grab that dead fur with a brush before she swallows it. You’ll also find less fur stuck to, well, everything. It’s also a good idea to keep your furry pal indoors. Cats that go outside are more exposed to seasonal weather changes that trigger shedding cycles, even here in Texas. Plus, your furball will be safer as an indoor pet. A good diet is also beneficial. Proper nutrition will keep your kitty’s coat soft and healthy, which will reduce the amount of fur she sheds. You’ll also want to make sure Fluffy is current on her parasite control products. Fleas can make your pet miserably itchy, and she may over-groom herself as a result. Last but not least, ask your vet about hairball prevention products.
Hairballs are no more fun for Fluffy than they are for you. However, they aren’t always just an unsightly nuisance. Sometimes cats aren’t able to expel their hairballs properly. This can result in intestinal blockages, which are very dangerous. Keep an eye out for signs that something isn’t right, such as dry heaving and/or excessive or frequent vomiting. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these red flags.
Please contact us, your San Antonio, TX vet clinic, for more information about hairballs. We’re here to help!