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Hairballs in Cats

Most cats are quite fastidious about keeping themselves clean and well groomed. They use their tongue and often a moistened forepaw to get to all parts of their body. This grooming keeps the coat flat for better insulation and also stimulates the glands in the skin to produce the oils that keep the coat shiny and waterproof.

As they groom they often remove old loose hair that is then swallowed. In most cases this hair passes through the gastro-intestinal tract uneventfully, however in some cats it accumulates and forms matted lumps of hair in the stomach. These hairballs can cause coughing and gagging and often the hairball is vomited out.

In severe cases the hairball may cause an intestinal blockage that can require surgery to remedy.

Preventing hairball accumulating involves the following steps:

  • Regular Grooming of your cat with a good brush to remove the loose hair before your cat swallows it. We recommend a good quality slicker brush like that found here

  • Good Flea Control When cats have fleas they will over groom due to irritation from the fleas. This leads to a lot of hair ingestion. The spot-on type flea control agents seem to work best for cats.
    See the range of these here

  • Special Diet Some food ingredients will inhibit the hair in the intestine from matting together and allow it to pass through without doing any harm. Hairball control diets are very affective at doing this. See the range here

  • Laxative Pastes - are lubricant gels based on paraffin oil and again stop the hair from forming balls in the stomach or intestine. e.g Cat-Lax.
    It is important to not use such remedies every day as they do inhibit the absorption of some nutrients from the intestine. See these products here