If you're a cat owner, you know what we're talking about: that nasty hacking and gagging sound that preempts your cat vomiting up a hairy furball. Most southeast Michigan cat owners probably think that furballs are part and parcel of cat ownership and that there's nothing you can do about it, especially if your furiend is a compulsive groomer or especially hairy. Well, while we probably can't stop furballs entirely, there are ways to make them more manageable, less frequent, and altogether better on your carpets or rugs.
Why do cats get furballs?
Cats spend about one sixth of their life grooming themselves. A cat’s tongue is specially designed with a rough, comb-like surface that catches loose, dead hair, making it an important and impressive natural grooming tool. The cat then swallows the hair and some of it stays in the intestines, which gets regurgitated roughly every two weeks or so. If your cat can’t vomit the hairball up, it can be life threatening. If you hear your cat gagging or retching and can’t get the hairball out, he loses his appetite, is lethargic, constipated or has diarrhea, then your little guy needs to visit the vet.
- Groom your cat regularly to remove dead hair. Daily brushing is recommended particularly for long-haired cats. Brushing also helps to de-tangle long fur and helps to keep the skin healthy.
- A diet that is higher in fiber and uses natural vegetable or fish oils can help the intestinal tract to move the hair through your cat’s digestive system. Add a teaspoon of cooker mashed pumpkin daily and/or a teaspoon of vegetable or fish oil weekly to help improve fiber content and digestive lubrication.
- Give your cat pieces of fruits and vegetables as snacks as an added source of fiber.
- Avoid grain based fiber sources. Many commercial cat foods, especially cheaper ones, are made with a high percentage of grains. A grain free cat food will contain natural fibers from vegetables and fruits which are useful in preventing hairballs.
At Wags to Wiskers, southeast Michigan cat owners can get all of the products they need to prevent furballs, including combs, supplements, and foods. Stop by and ask an associate for assistance!