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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Faqs About Hairballs

FAQs About Hairballs

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Although grooming is healthy, some cats practice excessive grooming, which can actually cause problems. What are some of these problems that could develop? Skin inflammation, hair loss, or development of hairballs can result from grooming, particularly excessive grooming.

Why do cats get hairballs?
Cats are extremely fastidious creatures, and are constantly grooming themselves. Their tongues are built in such a way that once hair is on it, there is only one way for it to go, down the hatch. Hair is not digestible and can result in a mass of hair, mucous and digestive acids. Eventually the cat has to throw it up. Both long and shorthaired cats can get hairballs, generally longhaired cats will get them more often.

What will happen to a cat that gets an accumulation of hair in the stomach and intestines?
The cat develops a hairball. This condition is rarely dangerous or fatal. Generally, the hairball is simply very uncomfortable for the cat, and they will try to throw it up. Once the cat vomits, the problem is usually solved. Unless preventive measures are taken, it will happen again.

How can I prevent hairballs?
Hairballs can be reduced or prevented by brushing the cat daily to get rid of any loose hair before the cat swallows it. Another precaution is to give the cat regular doses of a hairball remedy. These treatments come in a tube, much like toothpaste, or as a treat.

How does giving a cat regular doses of a hairball remedy reduce or prevent hairballs?
These remedies work as an internal lubricant to prevent the hairballs from forming. It also makes it easier for the cat to dislodge any hair, either by vomiting or by passing it on through the intestines.

What are some signs that a cat is suffering from a hairball problem?
Loss of appetite, dry cough, and constipation may be signs of a hairball problem.

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