How do you treat hairball blockage in cats?


Quick Answer

To treat hairballs in cats, use a hairball product or laxative, which helps hairballs pass through the digestive tract. Since hairballs are caused by a cat's excessive grooming, this habit should be discouraged.

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Full Answer

Train the cat to occupy its time with other enjoyable activities instead of licking its coat. Moreover, the more fur that is removed, the less fur that is dedicated to hairballs in the cat's stomach. Combing or brushing the cat on a daily basis can be an effective way to minimize hairballs as well, and it can also provide a way for owner and cat to bond. If a cat is not accustomed to brushing, the owner should take it to a professional groomer every six months or so, especially for long-haired varieties.

A specialized hairball formula cat food is available through many pet food manufacturers. These high-fiber formulas are designed to improve the health of the cat’s coat, minimize the amount of shedding and encourage hairballs to pass easily through the digestive system.

When a cat grooms itself, tiny hook-like structures on its tongue catch loose, dead hair, which the cat swallows. The majority of this hair passes through the digestive tract with no problems. However, if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball, which the cat may vomit up to remove. Since hairballs pass through the cat's narrow esophagus, they often appear thin and tube-like, rather than round.

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