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Help and advice if your pet suffers from cat flu, cat colds or other ailments

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You are probably already quite familiar with hairballs if your cat grooms itself regularly.

Hairballs -also known by the technical name of trichobezoars - are quite literally balls of hair which a cat or kitten will spit up at various times.

Because hair is a material which can't be digested, it is either expelled from a cat or kitten's body through coughing, gagging and retching or passed through the digestive system.

This retching or coughing can be disturbing to watch but of course it's perfectly normal behavior for your cat.

Cats are generally excellent at grooming themselves and that's why they ingest a large amount of hair. A cat's tongue has a hair-like coating on it, which is made from keratin and this is

excellent at gathering loose fur and hairs.

However, the nature of a cat’s tongue makes it's impossible to spit out the fur - so it swallows it instead.

The majority of the hair passes through the digestive system and is eliminated in the faeces. But when a large amount of hair has been swallowed it becomes matted and can't get through the digestive system, and is eventually coughed up as a hairball.

Occurrences of hairballs differ from cat to cat - some may cough them up a couple of times a week and others may produce them just a few times a year.

Cats who go outdoors can often be seen eating grass which helps them to vomit up hairballs.

Some cat owners opt to give their pets olive

oil or liquid paraffin to help deal with hairballs while others like to give them an oily fish meal, such as mackerel or sardines, once a week.

There are many tasty products available for your cat - often containing mineral oil - which help to break up hairballs.

Most cats find the lubricant hairball remedies quite tasty and will be happy to lick them from your fingers.

These include fibre supplements and lubricant pastes, and some companies produce types of ca food which has been specially formulated for cats who regularly produce hairballs. Of course these don't cure hairballs but help them pass through your cat's digestive system more easily.

It's worth noting that some serious conditions mimic the retching or coughing motions associated with hairballs. So if your cat is displaying these motions, but not coughing up a hairball, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Conditions associated with this type of behavior include gastro-intestinal problems, heart disease and asthma.

Hairballs can cause particular problems for overweight cats due to the fact they are less active than others. Their bowel movement is often poor so internal blockages can occur due to the slow passage of fur.



CAT HAIRBALLS

Anti-Hairball Food & Remedies for Cats