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Did you know that April 24th is Hairball Awareness Day? We’re guessing probably not. After all, hairballs aren’t exactly something to celebrate. That said, if you have a kitty, chances are you’ve dealt with at least a few hairballs. It’s important to know why hairballs form, and to be able to tell if they are normal or not. A local Virginia Beach, VA vet explains more about hairballs below.
Cats are known for being very clean pets. Fluffy will carefully groom herself every day to keep that pretty coat soft and clean. For the most part, this is a huge plus. However, there is a downside. In the process of cleaning herself, your pet will inevitably swallow some fur. Kitties can’t digest hair, so their bodies essentially reject it and send it back out the way it came in. The result—a hairball—is equally unpleasant for both you and your feline friend.
There’s no 100% foolproof way to completely stop hairballs. However, there is a lot you can do to reduce the number of hairballs Fluffy gets. First and foremost? Brush your furry little diva daily. You want to remove that dead fur and dander before she swallows it. It’s also important to make sure that your kitty is eating good, nutritious food. This will help keep her fur healthy and shiny, and reduce the amount of dead hair she sheds. We also recommend keeping your cat indoors. Outdoor pets are more exposed to the seasonal changes that spark fur growth and shedding cycles. You may also want to ask your vet about hairball preventatives, especially if your feline buddy has long fur.
Hairballs are never fun, but sometimes they can be flat-out dangerous. Occasionally, hairballs get lodged in cats’ digestive tracts, which can cause dangerous intestinal blockages. This can potentially be life-threatening, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for. Some of the warning signs are dry heaving, excessive hairballs, frequent or violent vomiting, and lack of appetite. Fluffy may also act grumpy or withdrawn, and she may look unkempt. Keep in mind that these things all can be signs of many different health issues. Call your vet right away if you notice any of them.
Please reach out with questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. As your Virginia Beach, VA animal clinic, we’re here to help!