Cats and the Dreaded Hairballs

All cats, at some time or another in their lives, will deposit hairballs. And you can count on the fact that they will choose your favorite rug, couch or on your bed to “present” them to you. Some cats do it on a regular basis. Hairballs are as uncomfortable for cats as it is a hassle for you to clean up.

So the answer is to try and reduce your hairball encounters as much as possible. Cats are very efficient self-cleaners. But contrary to public opinion, they still need help with their furry ablutions, especially if they have a long and very thick coat. Don’t be fooled, short-haired cats can shed a lot, too.

Shedding is exacerbated for indoor cats. This is because cats that live indoors, or mostly indoors, are exposed to artificial light, air conditioning and heating that cause them to shed year-round instead of twice as year as they would do in the wild.

The more you brush your cat and remove the loose hair, the less likely they are going to ingest the hair, which in turn clogs up into hairballs. Ingested hair can be dangerous for cats as it can cause an internal blockage.

Short-haired cats should be brushed at least weekly while long-haired cats should be brushed daily to keep up with all the loose hair. Brushing also helps prevent the hair from matting.

Grooming should never be considered a chore but a great way of spending quality time together. My cats really enjoy being massaged with a hand mitt, which picks up the loose hair like a brush! There are lots of excellent grooming tools available that help to get rid of both thick undercoats as well as loose surface hair.

And don’t forget to treat when you are done.

Some cats, however, have a really hard time also dispelling hairballs and need a little additional help beyond brushing. Try hairball relief products that help alleviate the formation of hairballs. It coats the digestive tract so the hair doesn’t build up and also acts a laxative. Simply put a dollop on a front paw and let the cat lick it off. For really fussy cats like my Fudge, put a blob on the lower chin and let them take over from there. Being efficient self-groomers, they will know exactly what to do! Or, try a chewable and give it like a treat!

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