Cat Hairball Treatment Options: What Your Vet Doesn’t Want You To Know

What is the one thing your veterinarian doesn’t want you to know about cat hairball treatment choices if your cat is continuously throwing up hairballs from time to time?

Your cat puking up hairballs is not an indication of illness. It is not an indication of an infection. It is most certainly not an indicator that your cat is afflicted or has a malignant illness.

If your cat regurgitates its food or vomits up enormous wads of hair compacted together, we have some good news for you:

Grooming: It’s In Their Nature.

It’s just part of being a cat!

That’s correct! It is totally normal for your cat to vomit every now and again, if not on a regular basis! It is nature’s method of offsetting the impact of something that cats do instinctively:

They take care of themselves. They keep themselves clean by licking their own fur with saliva from their own mouths. This is a natural instinct that all cats have. It’s in their blood!

While this is all well and good, and we should be amazed that this species of animal has been endowed with the capacity to identify when it is filthy and control its own cleanliness for the benefit of its own health, there is one unanticipated effect and outcome of this deliberate behaviour:

Where Do Cat Hairballs Come From?

When cats lick themselves, they may unintentionally ingest their own fur!

Yes, absolutely! Cats lose their fur or hair much like any other animal. As a result, any loose strands of hair that the cat’s tongue comes into touch with are certain to get attached to it owing to the sticky wetness of its saliva.

And where does the fur go when that happens? It will inevitably be devoured. However, unlike other dietary things that are readily digested and wander through the gastrointestinal canal, fine follicles of a cat’s hair might get “stuck” in the cat’s stomach, with nowhere to go. Because cats spend a substantial part of their waking lives licking themselves, the possibility of ingesting a considerable quantity of fur develops gradually but enormously with time. This is despite the fact that each individual lick may only consume a few minute strands of fur.

How many licks does it take to develop a hairball?

On average, one lick will result in one or two strands of fur being ingested, if at all. That may seem to be completely harmless and benign. But if you increase that by the number of times your cat licks itself each day, and then multiply that by the number of days and weeks, you may end up with a gigantic accumulation of fur jumbled together in one enormous mass.

Things start to get interesting for the cat when the ball of fur reaches critical mass (no pun intended). The consequent quandary that your cat and you are now confronted with (your cat since this plainly includes pain for it, and you because you are the one who is left with the job of cleaning up after your cat) might result in one of two outcomes:

Outcome #1: Hairball Expulsion

The hairball must exit the body. Because the digestive system is one-dimensional, it can only go in one of two directions: forward through the intestines and subsequently out from the cat’s body as faeces. It may also go backward up the stomach, up the oesophagus, and out the mouth, where it is regurgitated as vomit.

Obviously, having your cat’s hair drained out via the body through its poo would be ideal. Your cat understands intuitively to do its business in a litter box and then cover it up. There is no fuss. There is no hassle. You clean the litter box for your cat as usual.

However, forcing your cat to vomit a hairball is certainly not an ideal outcome: You and your cat have little control over when and where your cat may suddenly feel the desire to puke. It may happen at any moment and without notice. And what happens when this occurs? Your cat vomits everywhere it goes! There is little to no notice for you, the pet owner, to hurry the cat to a sink to vomit! And, of course, if the cat is alone, it will have no idea how to control its vomit or make a wild run for the bathroom sink or tub.

Clearly, the latter is preferable than the former when it comes to vomiting!

That is exactly what many hairball treatments are intended to achieve! They are intended to assist eliminate any obstructions in your cat’s digestive system that are impeding its movement. They are intended to aid digestion by preventing the hairball from inducing a vomiting reaction.

Outcome #2: Hairball Obstruction

The worst-case scenario is that a hairball becomes so large and tight that it creates a blockage in the digestive route. If a hairball creates an obstruction, it might cause more major digestive issues for your cat. Any food it consumes will be unable to pass through the blockage and may get trapped inside the digestive system. It might also be discharged by vomiting. Your cat may lose appetite, get dehydrated, and develop signs of other unanticipated gastrointestinal problems.

It is quite unlikely that your cat’s hairballs would create a totally solid and impenetrable barrier in the digestive tube. In most circumstances, it may be vomited up as an involuntary reaction. However, if there is a blockage, some hairball therapy will be required to release the fur.

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