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Cats, Healthcare

How to Decrease Hairballs

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

woman grooming cat

It’s no secret that hairballs are the bane of every cat and cat-owner, but they’re more than just an inconvenience. Hairballs are such an issue that they have their own holiday– yes, really! Friday, April 27th is National Hairball Awareness Day. Sure, it’s no Christmas, but it’s certainly a day worth observing for any cat or cat-lover.

Where do hairballs come from? Hairballs are the by-product of cats’ meticulous grooming. As cats groom themselves, hair is swallowed and unable to be digested. Usually, this results in some minor hacking, and eventually, a hairball (often on your favorite rug or chair), but in rare cases, large hairballs can cause a digestive block, requiring surgery to remove. How can you reduce your cat’s discomfort (and the time you spend cleaning up hairballs)? Keep reading for our tips to decrease your cat’s hairballs.

3 Ways to decrease your cat’s hairballs  

1. Add a hairball supplement to your cat’s diet

Adding a high quality supplement for hairballs can greatly reduce the overall volume of hairballs you and your cat have to deal with. These supplements are designed to promote your cat’s ability to pass the hair they ingest. The bottom line? Your cat spends less time hacking and retching, and the hairballs end up in the litter box, instead of your carpet.

2. Brush your cat every day

Every time you brush your cat, their heart grows two sizes. Okay, that’s not true at all, but grooming is one of the best ways to bond with your cat. Also, a good daily brushing will reduce the amount of hair they consume when they groom themselves, resulting in fewer hairballs overall. Make it part of your daily routine that you and your cat can look forward to.

3. Discourage excessive grooming

If you think your cat is over-grooming, it’s possible that they’re doing it out of boredom, habit, or stress. Try adding a few new toys to their collection, serving their food in a puzzle feeder, or spending more time playing together. If your cat is grooming to the point of causing bald spots or skin irritation, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your vet.

As always, if you observe any suspicious behavior from your cat, contact your vet immediately. Hairballs by themselves are generally not cause for immediate concern, but some hairball symptoms could be signs of a larger problem. Things to watch for are lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, and continued vomiting or gagging that does not produce a hairball.

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