From Pet Health Learning Center
Cat owners can often receive an unwelcome surprise when their pet regurgitates a hairball. It is not a pleasant experience to accidentally step in one of these puddles, so understanding the nature of cats, as well as their tendencies can ensure a happy home free of hairy disasters.
Causes of Cat Hairballs
Cats are self-cleaning creatures and generally spend long hours on keeping their luxurious mane primped and kempt.
However, much like the first law of thermodynamics, kitty hair does not automatically disappear or seemingly evaporate into the ether. Instead, the hair that is collected from the sandpaper like tongues of your feline pets is digested and passed through their stool. Since cats are carnivorous, their digestive tract is biologically equipped to handle the processing of fur - such as the fur attached to animal prey in the wild. Unfortunately, however, through generations of breeding domesticated cats, some of the adaptive nature of their gut has been lost over time. Thus, it is quite common for latter day domestic cats to expel a trichobezoar (the medical term for hairball) that has collected in the stomach unable to pass through and out.
Signs and Symptoms
If your feline has the occasional episode, it is quite natural and expected for them to experience Cat Vomiting. However, if there is persistent heaving of hairballs a couple times a month, it is best to put a stop to this unpleasant situation for both you and your cat. First, you will want to take your pet to a veterinarian to receive a thorough and comprehensive exam. This is to ensure the problem is not a physiological anomaly or disease, but instead a hairball. Symptoms that are similar to the hacking of a hairball can actually be a sign of Cat Asthma.
Once it is established that your cat has a hairball problem, it is best to implement a system of prevention. Combing your feline frequently can eliminate any excessive ingestion of hair. You must be sure to use specialized combs such as those that are either fine or wide-toothed for either short or long haired cats.
If your cat is already on its way to a hairball episode, it is best to treat them with one of two things; which is adding fiber to their diet or administering a lubricant (usually a petroleum based product). Generally speaking, petroleum jelly has been the main treatment for hairballs over the years. The gel is given to the cat as is and will not be absorbed by any digestive process but, instead, expelled along with the hair it trapped along the way. This process requires a daily dose for at least a week to see the results. However, be sure to discuss giving your cat petroleum jelly with your veterinarian first.
Changing your petâ€™s diet is also beneficial to avoiding hairballs. By adding fiber to their meals or giving them specially formulated food to minimize the accumulation of hair, hairballs can be thus be eliminated. Some individuals may opt to make their pet's meals themselves and generally experience minimal occurrences of hairballs.
The path to a hairball free life for both you and your feline pet is feasible. By understanding the cause and prevention of this problem, you will be able to build a system that not only works, but is healthy.