Any cat owner out there knows that there is a point in time where they will get the pleasure of shockingly stepping onto a gooey, slimy and squishy (and usually cold by the time your foot finds it!) hairball on the floor at home. Not only are hairballs unpleasant for owners to clean up, but they can also be harmful to your cat if they aren’t vomited back up. Hairballs moving through the digestive tract can sometimes cause a lack of appetite, lethargy, constipation, diarrhea or even intestinal blockages.
When your cat works on the task of grooming, their loose and dead hair catches on the hooks on their tongue and then gets swallowed. A majority of this hair is able to pass through the digestive tract without issue. Sometimes though, some of the hair remains in the stomach and forms a hairball. In an ideal world, your cat will vomit the hairball on an easy to clean surface in an area that you won’t step on it with your bare feet. In the real world… it doesn’t always go that way!
What can you do to help keep your cat’s hairballs to a minimum?
- Groom your cat regularly. The more grooming work you do for them, the less they will have to do themselves. Grooming also allows time for you and your cat to bond.
- Feed your cat a diet that promotes healthy skin and hair coats. These diets will minimize the amount of shedding your cat does.
- Discourage excessive and compulsive grooming. Cats that are bored may turn to grooming as an activity to pass time. Find some fun toys that your cat will enjoy playing with.
- Give an anti-hairball or laxative product to your cat. There are many products available which help promote hairball movement through your cat’s digestive tract. Some cats need to be given these supplements once weekly.