Digestion in cats is often complicated by
the ingestion of large amounts of hair during
grooming. To keep your cat healthy, here
are the trouble signs to watch for, plus the
options you can use to control hairballs and
minimize the problems they can cause.
WHY CATS HAVE
BAD HAIR DAYS
Your cat grooms herself frequently, licking
her fur right down to the tip of her tail.
While this fastidious cleaning improves
her appearance, it creates yet another
problem... disposal of the wet, ingested
hair, commonly referred to as a hairball.
Your cat's hair does not pass easily through
her gastrointestinal tract, nor can her stomach
and pancreatic enzymes digest it. Normally,
most of the hair she swallows is expelled in
her stool. Problems occur, however, when her
hair doesn't get excreted, and instead forms
into a dense hairball, or mat, in her stomach.
Your cat must now vomit the hairball, usually
in a fit of disturbing coughing and choking.
DON'T WAIT UNTIL
|It is normal for your cat to have
hairballs occasionally. However, if
she must deal with them frequently,
dangerous problems can develop.
Hairballs can block her intestinal
tract, making it impossible for
her to either vomit or eliminate.
In fact, twenty-five percent of
all impaction cases (something
"stuck" in the digestive tract)
that veterinarians see are due to
hairballs. Signs of a major hairball
problem, and possible impaction:
If you suspect your cat is
impacted, see your veterinarian
immediately. Your veterinarian
has several options to resolve
impactions, but serious blockages
may require surgical removal.
It is far better that you use
preventive practices, and provide
assistance with existing hairballs,
before such problems occur.
- Vomiting of undigested food
- Dry retching
- Inability to defecate
- Swollen abdomen
We do not suggest you use homemade
products containing butter or oils, because
they can bring about other digestive problems,
or be absorbed by the cat's system before
they have a chance to work. There are a
number of effective ways you can help your
cat deal with hairballs. Used routinely, they
can help keep hairballs from forming:
GROOMING - Because cats are always
grooming themselves, many owners do
not realize that their cat will readily accept
and appreciate brushing to remove loose
hair. Brushing is the fastest and easiest way
to reduce hair ingestion, and it also helps
keep it off your furniture. There are many
specialized cat grooming tools, including:
The Dual Sided Brush teases
out snarls and tangles with the pin brush
side, and uses the bristle side to bring
out the shine of your cat's coat.
FIBER - Other hairball remedies are
available to add bulk and moisture to your
cat's stool, making it easier to pass:
Drs. Foster & Smith Adult Cat Food
Advanced Hairball Control formula contains natural vegetable fiber to help move
hair gently through your cat's digestive tract.
Cat grass grows fast
and is easy to care for.
LAXATIVES - Petroleum-based
laxatives and hairball remedies,
flavored to make them palatable
for your pet, coat the swallowed
hair and stool, allowing it to pass
through your cat's digestive system.
Drs. Foster and Smith Hairball
Remedy is a petroleumfree
product that conditions
your cat's digestive system.
WATER - Nothing is more
important to your cat's digestion
than fresh, clean water. To optimize
water intake, provide water in
the fashion your cat prefers:
Many are attracted to running
water; the Drinkwell Fountain is the perfect solution.
It continuously recirculates
water at the flow rate you set.