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Hairballs occur through routine grooming. Have you ever noticed the texture of your cat’s tongue? The tiny hooks on the surface of your cat’s tongue make removing dead fur and dirt a breeze. However, when your cat licks their fur to clean themselves, dead fur can be swallowed. Hairballs can occur whether your cat has short or long hair, though long-haired cats might experience larger or more frequent hairballs.

Cat laying on counter

Often, the hairball passes through the digestive system on its own, but occasionally, too much fur will collect in the stomach and cause your cat to gag or wretch to expel the fur. Thus, a hairball is born (though it usually just looks like a wad of hair on the floor). Sometimes, kitties who experience frequent hairballs might experience lethargy, reduced appetite, constipation, or other stomach upset.

If you are sick of finding wads of fur around the house, here are some things you can do to prevent hairballs!

  • Grooming. Help your cat out by regularly brushing their coat to remove dead fur. This will keep your cat’s coat looking healthy and lessen the amount of fur being swallowed when your cat grooms themselves.

  • Diet. By adding healthy oils such as fish oil or healthy fiber such as canned pumpkin to your cat’s diet, you can keep your pet’s digestive system moving and make hairballs easy to pass naturally. Ask your veterinarian for diet recommendations.

  • Hairball Remedies. Laxatone is an edible gel that helps prevent hairballs and supports normal digestion. Incorporating this supplement into your cat’s diet is easy - cats love the flavors! Ask your vet about Laxatone.

  • Keep your cat active. Did you know that physical activity is an important part of the digestive process? Activity naturally encourages the digestive system to keep things moving along.

  • Speak with your vet. If your cat is experiencing frequent hairballs in spite of preventative measures, your vet can make recommendations for a more aggressive approach to combating hairballs.

Is your cat excessively or compulsively grooming? Excessive grooming habits can often occur as a result of stress, anxiety, or pain. When nervous, many cats groom to soothe themselves. Stressful events in a cat’s life might include moving, having company come to stay, their owner going out of town, home renovations/loud construction, or new family members (two-legged and four-legged).

Additionally, cats will sometimes excessively groom themselves when they are experiencing pain. Your cat might lick the affected area to soothe it or to relieve stress. Excessive grooming can occur when cats experience abdominal pain, urinary tract pain, and musculoskeletal/joint pain. If your cat’s excessive grooming habits persist, or your cat’s grooming is leading to significant hair loss in affected areas,  it’s a good idea to speak with your vet about their recommendations.

For more questions regarding hairballs or to schedule a visit with your vet to discuss treatment options, please contact us at 972-347-6100.

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