Hairballs in Cats

Table of Contents


What is a hairball?

Causes of hairballs

How to prevent hairballs

We love cats so much, but when they regurgitate a hairball it’s safe to say it’s not the most pleasant sight. Although hairballs are a normal and common occurrence for cats, it's good to know if they can cause problems and is there a way to prevent them? Don’t let hairballs be a mystery to you, scroll to find out how to keep your fluffy feline happy and healthy.

What is a hairball?

If you haven't already seen one, a hairball is a ball of cat fur that collects in the stomach of your fluffy feline because they have been licking their coat.

It looks something like this...

Causes of hairballs

Surprisingly, hairballs are down to more than just cats licking and there are several factors that contribute:

Of course, it mainly comes down to their grooming habits. Cats are meticulous groomers, they spend a ridiculous amount of time licking their fur to keep it clean. So inevitably, they swallow loose hair and it accumulates in their digestive tract.

Fur type and texture definitely play a part in the cause of hairballs. For long-haired breeds, such as Persians and Maine Coons, there is a higher chance of hairballing because they shed more. Also, cats with dense or thick coats are also likely to hairball.

Don’t forget that seasonal change means cats have periods of shedding more - for example cats shed more hair during Spring and Autumn. So unless you have a Sphynx cat, you’re likely to experience your cat hairball at some point. 

How to prevent hairballs

“While it may be impossible to never make your cat hairball again, there are a few ways you can reduce the likelihood, such as regular grooming and using specialist treats or remedies.” ~ Dr Zoe Costigan BVSc BSc(Hons) CERT AVP MRCVS, Head Vet at Itch

Let’s break down Zoe’s recommendations…

  • 1. Controlled and Regular Grooming

    You won’t be able to stop your cat from swallowing a little bit of fur, but brushing their coat regularly with a soft brush can definitely help to limit the amount they ingest. Aim to groom your cat once-a-day with longhaired breeds, or weekly for short haired cats.

  • 2. Hydration

    Always encourage regular hydration by ensuring your cat has access to fresh water at all times. A healthy hydrated cat means they can better facilitate the passage of hairballs.

  • 3. Hairball Remedies

    Adding specialist foods or treats that reduce hairballs to your cat’s diet can help lubricate their digestive system. The Itch Hairball Treats make it easy for cats to pass hairballs and reduce the signs of vomiting and retching.

  • 4. Monitor Your Cat & Chat to your vet

    Always keep an eye out for signs of discomfort or distress. If your cat is regularly showing symptoms of hairballs such as dry cough or making a retching noise, there is a chance it could be something else. More serious health conditions like feline asthma can sometimes be confused with hairballs - if you are concerned about your cat, always contact a vet.

While hairballs are totally normal and happen a lot for cats, they can be managed with good care and preventatives. By just making a little time for a grooming session with your pet and treating them to the Itch Hairball Treats - it can go a long way in preventing those annoying little hairballs from causing too much trouble. 

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