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Most of us know that cats’ daily routine includes grooming themselves and keeping themselves clean. Therefore we love cats as they care for their fur and groom their bellies. However, there is a downside to our independent and sophisticated pets… and it’s from time to time we can find oddly shaped mutts of hair in the corner of the room! Gross…Right?

Yes, whilst cats are considered independent and clean, they accumulate hair in their stomach, which cannot be fully digested in the cats’ tummies! Therefore, from time to time, you can hear your cat vomiting and leaving gross-looking fur balls.

It is a very natural process for cats to vomit the hair out since their little bodies have not been adapted to digest large amounts of hair, and we cannot stop them from grooming themselves, right? So what can we do to aid this process and help our ‘glamour’ friends?

When growing up with cats, vomiting hairballs is something that cats regularly do, and nobody gives a second thought about it, but it can be a sign of health issues, and in sporadic cases, hairballs can be fatal to your cat. It is essential to help those cats with long fur and shed a lot; therefore, let’s talk about how we can help this process better.

Why does my cat have hairballs?

As we know, cats groom themselves and keep themselves clean, but if you notice that your indoor cat is vomiting every few days, it might mean that your cat is overgrooming.

The number one reason is that your sweet furry friend might be anxious and do extra grooming when they need to soothe themselves. However, it might also bring some other problems besides hairballs.

Your cat might also be in pain, and cats use grooming to cope with pain as it releases serotonin, a natural pain reliever.

Another reason is that your cat has a food sensitivity or allergy, which causes its skin to itch, resulting in excessively grooming.

Other reasons might include fleas or some skin condition that will cause excessive grooming, but boredom is one of the most overlooked reasons.

While keeping our cats indoors to protect them, we also deprive them of their natural outdoor stimulation. Therefore they can become incredibly bored, and one of the ways that they deal with that is grooming.

Considering these things above, if your cat has a healthy coat, here is a three-step guide to treating cat hairballs :

1. VillageVets recommends putting your pet in a weekly grooming regime with the help of special gloves and or brushes that help collect all excessive hair from your little lion king. You might need to brush them more frequently depending on how often your cat sheds – work with your local vet to determine the best grooming plan for your kitty.

2. If your cat is reluctant to brush (which can happen and distress your kitty), there are other possible remedies. The pet food industry makes specialised cat food to alleviate hairballs. It has extra fibre, which helps move food more quickly through the digestive system and the hair.

3. In addition, you can get over-the-counter cat-laxatives that come in various forms and put them in your cat’s food. This method will help the bowel system move more thoroughly.

If these at-home treatments did not work and your cat is still vomiting and has stopped drinking and eating food, please make sure to visit your local vet, as vomiting can also be a symptom of underlying illness.

Use these techniques as an aid to help your cat and prevent excess hairballs and overgrooming; however, as we discussed, other underlying issues like stress, diet or skin conditions can come into effect. We offer free vet visits with our pet health plan. To see the plans list of benefits and to sign up, click here.
For more advice about your cat’s health, you can always contact us directly via phone or email at any time. In emergencies, we have 24-hour clinics across the greater Dublin area and clinics open during normal business hours available here.

Keep your four-legged friend in good hands with a vet!