At some point, most cat parents will step into a pile of something that looks and feels like anything but hair and wonder, “Does my cat do this on purpose?” The answer is no. In fact, hairballs are the No. 1 condition reported by 35 percent of cat-owning households.* Is your household one of them? Here are some insights:
- Hairballs are a common feline condition brought on by self-grooming and the resulting ingestion of hair
- Ingested hair can easily accumulate in your cat’s throat or stomach
- The right nutrition can help make a difference
Common irritations. In most cases, hairballs are normal but unpleasant. Hair accumulates in the cat’s throat or stomach and at some point causes enough irritation to trigger vomiting — a quick fix to the problem.
More serious hairballs. In a few cases, hairballs can create a real problem in a cat’s digestive system. Hair that passes beyond the stomach can accumulate and harden in the intestines. Ultimately, the hairball can block the intestinal track, preventing the cat from regurgitating the hair or passing it in feces. In severe cases, these hairballs must be surgically removed.
Warning signs. If you suspect your cat has a serious problem with hairballs, please talk to your veterinarian. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Excessive gagging, hacking and vomiting
- Constipation or extraordinary amount of hair in stools
- Loss of appetite and/or energy
The right nutrition can assist in moving hair through your cat’s system to help manage the formation of hairballs. Certain nutrients in the right amounts can also nourish your cat’s skin and coat to reduce unnecessary shedding. Ask your veterinarian how Hill’s® Science Diet® Hairball Control cat food can help avoid hairballs.
*Hill’s Pet Experience Study G02-135.
SOURCE: ©2011 Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.