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Cat owners frequently complain about their pets coughing up hairballs. It may seem like an unusual and even gross habit to pet owners, and many of them are seriously concerned about what is causing their kitty to bring up hairballs. Let’s take a look at what causes cats to cough up hairballs, and if it is something that you need to be worried about.
Why do cats cough up hairballs?
Cats love grooming themselves, and when they do groom themselves, they end up ingesting some of the loose fur on their coat. Cats may also end up ingesting hair when they feed on prey. The Gastro-intestinal tract in cats is made to accommodate some hair and fur. In fact, any residual fur in your cat’s stomach is excreted out naturally. However, sometimes, the fur may end up hardening over time, as it does not pass through the GI tract. It forms a knotted structure, or a hairball. Left as is, it may end up causing blockages and serious health issues in the pet. This is when cats may regurgitate the hairball from the other end. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes, your cat may not able to regurgitate the hairball, and just experience discomfort due to its presence. In such cases, you want to seek the help of a vet, so they can clear out the hairball.
Should you be worried?
Long-haired cats are prone to develop hairballs more commonly then short-haired cats. If your cat is accustomed to eating grass to solve digestive problems then you do not have a lot to be worried about; he/she will cough out the hairball. If you suspect that your cat has hairballs stuck in its gut and is unable to cough it out then you want to reach out to a vet. Some signs that could point toward a hairball issue include loss of appetite, constant vomiting/ retching noises, constipation and lethargy. Of course, there is no sure-fire way of telling that these symptoms mean that your cat suffers from a hairball condition. If you do notice any of these symptoms, you want to take your cat to a vet so they can get an X-ray and see if that’s the problem. They may use medications or surgical means to remove the hairball.
If you want to reduce your cat’s hairball problem, then one of the best things that you can do is get him on a high-fiber diet. This will help your cat eliminate the hairballs naturally. You also want to groom your pet regularly so any loose strands that are there fall off, and there is a lesser chance of your cat ingesting it while grooming.