Potential Causes Of Hairballs
The occasional hairball is normal. It can happen with long and short hair cats and continues from the kitten stage to old age. All cats groom and ingest small amounts of fur. If the digestion system can pass it, there is no problem. If the hair starts to accumulate in the stomach, you start to get the vomiting.
It is possible your cat is experiencing hairballs more frequently than normal due to an underlying issue, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a food allergy. If IBD is an issue, you can find foods that are aimed at sensitive stomachs.
Food allergies are a bit more complicated. There are limited antigen foods available both commercially and from your vet that can help to determine if a food allergy is causing your cats hairballs. It involves feeding your cat that new food for 8 weeks and observing any changes.
Stress Or Psychological Discomfort
Cats are creatures of habit, and the slightest disruption to their routine can cause them stress. This often results in compulsive grooming, so if you notice your cat seeking solitude or being more distant than usual, you should check whether:
- Their daily routine has changed
- The food bowl or a favourite sleep spot has been moved
- A home device is making sudden noises near your cats feeding area
- They react to a new pet in the household
A stressed cat may ingest more hair than usual and, consequently, produce more hairballs. You should check for any symptoms and seek treatment or remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Gotta pampaw yourself sometimes.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Has A Hairball Blockage
You can hear your cat eliminating a hairball from far away. Disturbing as it may be, some common hairball symptoms include hacking, gagging, and retching. For example, you can hear the pesky sound of a cat both coughing and vomiting at the same time as if it is clearing the airways by pushing air out of its lungs.
Below are the following hairball symptoms that you need to contact your veterinarian immediately:
- Repeated vomiting – Hairballs are one of the most common causes of vomiting. You can also see your cat throwing up food but acting normal. For example, the types of cat vomit include vomiting yellow liquid. However, vomiting immediately after eating can also be a sign that your cat swallows too quickly or perhaps your cat is allergic to dry food in contrast to canned.
- Abdominal pain and discomfort – Your cat may feel abdominal pain or discomfort after swallowing a hairball. This is because it may cause an intestinal blockage which can be a serious health problem for your cat. For example, your cat will be twitching and rolling in pain on the ground.
- Lethargy – Since cats are normally active creatures that enjoy roaming and prancing about, the hairball stuck in its stomach may cause it to be tired and lethargic all the time.
- Constipation – Sometimes, you may find that your cat is not eating. This is probably due to constipation.
- Diarrhea – Your cat may experience diarrhea more than several times a day until its body becomes weak and fatigued.
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How To Choose The Best Cat Food For Hairballs
Many cat foods on the market offer hairball-control formulas or ingredients that assist in hairball control and prevention. When youre shopping for food, here are some factors to consider.
A high-fiber diet helps many cats with hairballs by assisting with digestion. Different foods offer different types of fiber, such as lignins, hemicelluloses, and cellulose to move hair through the digestive tract. Healthy sources of these fibers include chicory, fructooligosaccharides, psyllium, oats, barley, beet pulp, and fruits and vegetables.
Ideally, you want a dry diet that has a crude fiber percentage of 8-10%. Canned foods should have a fiber content of 2-4%. Crude fiber doesnt indicate the insoluble fiber content, however, which is what moves digestion, so check ingredients for different types of fiber. Alternatively, you may add psyllium or small portions of canned pumpkin to your cats food to increase its fiber intake.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are crucial for healthy skin and smooth, shiny coats. When your cat has good skin and a healthy coat, they require less grooming and are less likely to take in a lot of loose hair.
No Fillers or Byproducts
Egg Yolks Or Egg Yolk Lecithin Supplements
Egg yolks contain two micronutrients that can help to minimize hairball problems. These are choline and lecithin. The choline component acetylcholine helps to increase contractions in the muscular layer of the GI tract, propelling food and hair down and out.
The other significant micronutrient in egg yolk is lecithin, which emulsifies the fat that binds hairballs together.
You can provide these nutrients by adding egg yolks to your cats food or by providing an egg yolk lecithin supplement. Remember to choose egg yolk lecithin rather than lecithin from other sources like sunflower or soy.
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Indoor Hairball Control Grain
This is our top choice as it has so many benefits which can reduce the effect of hairballs. Firstly, it is jam-packed with fiber which will help to give your cats healthy digestion. Secondly, it is made with real chicken, a great protein source which will give your cats a shiny coat and healthy skin, so lessening hair fall-out. In addition, Blue Buffalo load their food with Lifesource Bits, which is a special blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These combine together to help with immunity against many illnesses. There are omegas for healthy skin and taurine for vision and heart health. The amino acids give your cats plenty of energy to play. The food is also completely grain-free which means that there are more healthy ingredients, all of which help with hairballs. In addition, allergies will be a thing of the past with a grain-free diet.
- Large fiber content which will make digestion easy and so lessen hairballs
- Packed with omegas-3 and 6, amino acids, and Lifesource Bits to give your cats a healthy immune system
- Made without any grains, poultry by-products, corn, wheat, or gluten so fantastic if your cats have food allergies
Do All Cats Produce Hairballs
Surprisingly, coughing up hairballs is an acquired condition. In the first few months of their lives, kittens dont produce hairballs. It may be because of their underdeveloped fur and the fact that their moms handle all the grooming. Once they grow older and start tending to themselves, the bothersome furballs begin to appear.
Some breeds such as Main Coons, Himalayan, and Persian cats are more prone to forming hairballs since their fur is long. The only feline that doesn’t cough up the occasional furball is the so-called hairless Sphynx, for obvious reasons. Even big, ferocious cats such as lions and tigers can have hairballs.
Theres one thing about baldnessits neat!
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Where To Find The Best Wet Food For Your Cat’s Hairball Woes
Fret not, as the best wet food products for your cat’s hairball woes are available at Petcubes Singapore. Our cat variety pack is conveniently packed with a wide range of high quality meat variants such as chicken, beef, duck, lamb, venison, and kangaroo.
With so many flavors to choose from, you can rotate the food time by time, following your cat’s mood.
The Honest Kitchen Grain
Our Top Pick for the Best Cat Food for Hairballs and Sensitive Stomach: If youre looking for the best cat food for hairballs and sensitive stomach, a high-quality formula made with no allergenic ingredients and minimally processed is the way to go. This Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food is an excellent choice because it supports healthy digestion as well as complete and balanced nutrition, using only the finest natural ingredients. This recipe features fresh chicken as the main ingredient with grain-free carbohydrates including fresh fruits and vegetables for energy and digestive support. Overall, this food contains 39% protein, nearly 30% fat, and over 2% crude fiber. Most importantly, however, it is dehydrated rather than cooked which means that the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients is preserved. It also means that you can rehydrate it before feeding to maximize your cats moisture intake for improved digestion.
- Pros: Dehydrated not cooked, contains 70% chicken, grain-free carbohydrates, whole-food ingredients, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, protein-rich and high in fiber
- Cons: Expensive to feed as a staple diet, needs to be rehydrated before feeding
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Royal Canin Feline Intense Hairball
Royal Canin is an excellent company in the special kitty diet landscape. The company has something for everyone, including a unique food for cats. Royal Canin Hairball Care is tailored to suit cats over the age of 1, so its best to avoid using it for kittens.
This food reduces hairballs by moving the hair gently through the GI tract. This also controls hairball development thanks to a specific blend of dietary fibers intended for healthy stomachs! Unfortunately, there isnt a lot of variety in flavor. Whats more, this isnt the cheapest food around.
What To Look For In A Cat Food For Hairballs And Vomiting
Vomiting is never a good sign for cats, even if its just a hairball. The fact that your cat is vomiting up hair instead of being able to pass it through the digestive tract suggests that something isnt right.
One of the best ways to reduce hairballs and vomiting in cats is to make changes to your cats diet. Your cats nutrition is always the top priority, so keep his basic nutritional requirements in mind as you start shopping around. Remember that cats are obligate carnivores, so meat should be the foundation of a healthy diet, and your cats food should be free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives.
Outside your cats basic requirements, here are some things to look for in the best hairball cat food:
Generally speaking, the higher the quality of the ingredients in your cats food, the more digestible it will be. High digestibility is key when it comes to cat food because if your cat cant digest the food well, he wont absorb all of the nutrients. This is why it is important to choose a cat food made with whole food ingredients especially if your cat is prone to digestive issues. Low-quality ingredients, by-products, and additives can upset your cats stomach and make problems like hairballs and vomiting worse.
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Are Hairballs Dangerous
For the most part, the odd hairball now and then is more of a nuisance than anything to panic over. It’s when the hairball becomes big enough to block the digestive tract that a hairball becomes life threatening.
The symptoms of hairballs are also very similar to respiratory troubles such as asthma. Reducing hairball occurrences in your cat will make it easier for your vet to make diagnoses when examining her.
Change Your Cats Food
The next thing that you can try in your mission to prevent or control hairballs is to change your cats food. There are dozens of cat foods out there that are specifically designed for this purpose and can help your cat reduce the amount of hairballs that they have to experience or even eliminate them altogether.
Though it used to be difficult to find these kinds of specialty foods, they are becoming more common. Almost every major brand of pet food now carries a hairball control version of their most popular foods. Were going to cover some of the best hairball control cat foods out there and give you a complete guide on how to find the best hairball cat food for you and your cat.
You might not think that simply changing the food that your cat eats can be that effective, but its actually one of the most effective measures that you can take to help prevent hairballs. Changing your cats food should definitely be one of the steps that you take to lower the amount of hair that enters your cats system.
The way that these cat foods work is that they improve the health of your cats coat through the vitamins and minerals that they include. This minimizes the amount of shedding that your cat experiences and that results in less hair entering your cats system to create hairballs. Additionally, they encourage digestive health that enables your cat to pass the hairballs more safely through the digestive system.
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What Are Hairballs In Cats
Occasionally, my beautiful cat loves to leave me little gifts of undigested hair around the house, hairballs! Hairballs are sausage-shaped clumps of hair mixed with fluids from your felines digestive tract.
If theyre sausage-shaped, why call them hairballs? Well, when theyre in your cats stomach, theyre indeed ball-shaped. Elongation occurs while traveling through your felines esophagus.
So what causes hairballs in cats? Cats are meticulous groomers and can spend up to 50 percent of their day keeping themselves pristine. The tiny hook-like spines on your cats tongue extract dirt, parasites, and loose fur from their coat when they groom. Its not surprising they swallow some of this fur in the process.
Most of the time, hair leaves the stomach and passes through the digestive tract. However, cat fur is made from a protein called keratin, which is indigestible. Sometimes the hair will build up in the stomach and form a trichobezoar, or as we call it, a hairball. Your cat will usually regurgitate hairballsbut sometimes they cant disgorge themthis is when they can become dangerous.
Long-haired cat breeds such as Persians and Ragdolls are more susceptible to hairballs, along with those cats who shed a lot of fur and excessive groomers.
How To Find The Best Cat Food For Hairball Prevention
If you are looking for a cat food for hairball prevention, the best strategic route to take is to find a cat food that will promote your cats coat and skin health. If your cat has a healthy coat, they will be less likely to shed excessively, and less hair will get into your cats system. This is good for long-term health but requires some planning.
The ingredients that you should be looking for in a food that promotes cat skin and coat health are:
- Omega Fatty Acids
These vitamins and minerals are going to promote a healthy skin and coat and help to reduce the amount of loose hair that has the potential of entering your cats system and creating hairballs. In this way, you can help prevent hairballs before they even start.
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What Cat Food Ingredients Help Get Rid Of Hairballs
High-quality wet cat food is best for hairball control with added fiber from cellulose or other plant-based food.
I recommend wet canned cat foods over dry foods for health, especially foods with a good mixture of animal-based food sources from quality sources to provide the nutrients your cat needs for health.
Small amounts of added fiber may help reduce vomiting and aid in fecal clearance.
Lets look at research that supports this recommendation:
In a 2011 trial, 24 cats followed a four-week hairball control cat food challenge.
The cats went into two groups with or without cellulose added to commercial dry food. The control group received a placebo. The owner reported rate of vomiting .
This suggests that cellulose, although it has no nutritional benefit, helps to bind and eliminate hairballs.
Unfortunately, the trial was with dry cat food, so its not known if wet cat food with cellulose provides the same beneficial effect.
In another study in 2014, cats got a diet with a higher amount of cellulose . The cellulose increased the formation of large hairballs. The study also tested sugarcane. Sugarcane helped get rid of large hairballs and they werent present in the feces. This suggests sugarcane reduces the risk of vomiting from large hairballs.
Lets sum up the research into logical actionable ideas:
High-quality wet cat food is best for hairball control with added fiber from cellulose or other plant-based food.
Theres only one problem with this solution.
When Are Hairballs Cause For Alarm
Hairballs are a harmless consequence of a completely natural process in most cases. If your precious furry friend coughs out a clump of hair at regular intervals , theres no reason to worry!
Problems may arise if your cat is an avid groomer and swallows more hair than the average feline normally does. The excess hair in the digestive system may lead to an obstruction, which requires surgical intervention.
The most common symptoms of intestinal blockage include:
- Unproductive gagging, retching, vomiting, or coughing
- Lethargic behaviour
- Digestive problems
- Bloated abdomen
In the rare cases when furballs can cause health issues, its important to act quickly and take adequate measures. Firstly, youll have to supervise your kittys grooming rituals and look for signs of problematic behaviour. Next, you need to examine your cats diet and determine whats causing the problem with hairballs.
If your cat is displaying any signs of blockage for more than a day or two, you should immediately schedule a check-up with the vet, who can diagnose the obstruction after a thorough physical examination. Heres what you can expect the vet to do:
- Biopsy of the gastrointestinal tract
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Hypoallergenic Cat Foodanother Possible Solution For Hairballs
Food allergies are sometimes the underlying cause of hairball formation. Your kitty may have trouble getting rid of the hair because of an undiagnosed inflammatory condition.
How do you know you have a sensitive cat on your hands? Allergies most commonly develop within the first six years and are accompanied by:
If you fear your feline friend will be deprived of a diverse menu, dont worryUntamed offers a solution! Our recipes are allergen-free and easy on the tummy. Heres a taste of our delicious high-protein mealsin both gravy and jelly formulas:
- Tuck-in TunaTuna whole meat 60%, Fish broth 37%, Tapioca 1%
- Chocka ChickenChicken breast 60%, Chicken broth 37%, Tapioca 1%
- Full-on FishyTuna whole meat 45%, Fish broth 33%, Sardine 13%, Mackerel 5%, Tapioca 1%
- Chocka Chicken with DuckChicken breast 55%, Chicken broth 37%, Duck 5%, Tapioca 1%
Take our online questionnaire, and we will suggest a healthy and delicious meal plan for your furry companion!
A feast fit for feline royalty!