Cats spend their time washing and in the process they ingest many hairs while licking themselves. During a moulting period your cat will lose more hair than usual and there’s a good chance that your cat will end up swallowing them. They will then vomit up what are called hairballs. So, how are these hairballs formed? What are the risks for your cat? And how should we deal with this vomiting? In this article we will answer all these questions, hoping that in doing so we’ll bring you the assistance you need.
What is moulting?
A cat, as we all know, loses its hair all year round, but there are certain periods when this loss of hair is much more pronounced, and during these times you might even be asking yourself why there are there so many hairs on your sofa … This phenomenon is called moulting.
Cats lose their hair throughout the year, and the lifespan of a cat’s hair is just like that of a human’s: they grow, they live as a mature hair for a while and then they fall out. But there are times in the year when more hairs fall out: but don’t worry, this is a natural phenomenon: your cat is moulting! The moult is just your cat’s coat being renewed; this takes place during the changes in seasons and allows the animal to get rid of his old fur and replace it with a new one. Thus, moulting usually happens in autumn in order to give your cat its new winter coat. Moulting takes place in tune with the hours of daylight rather than being influenced by outside temperatures. This is why cats which are kept in flats may not follow the rules of the seasons and may end up moulting throughout the year.
How are hairballs formed?
Cats are very careful and clean animals, so they like to take care of their coats and therefore can spend several hours of the day cleaning it. The only small problem is that his tongue is composed of small conical dermal papillae shaped like raspberries: his tongue therefore acts in a similar fashion to a brush, easily gripping the hair. The latter are thus ingested into the cat’s body, which, in normal times, is not a problem. During times when moulting is taking place, however, this hair loss is greater than normal and therefore the ingested hairs are more numerous.
Cats with long hairs are more prone to ingest hairballs, but all are prone to it during moulting… To get rid of these swallowed hairs, cats will eat grass to try to get rid of them. It is for this reason that cats with no access to the outdoors, or no catnip at their disposal, are most affected by this phenomenon.
What are the risks involved?
Hairballs are, in general, much too big to pass into the intestine, so they remain stuck in the stomach and accumulate in the digestive tract of the animal. For this reason they can cause discomfort to your cat and disrupt the smooth functioning of the intestines.
A loss of appetite can result from this, but your cat can also become constipated and suffer repeated regurgitation and vomiting. In addition, this hair or fur has the ability to irritate your pet’s throat; it can also cause a fairly dry cough and increase heart rate. More severe cases may result in obstruction or bowel blockages. In these extreme cases, an operation is the only way to remedy the problem.
What needs to be done to protect your cat from fur-balls?
Whenever your cat suffers from the effects of fur-balls, the first thing to do is to administer drugs in granular form which will increase the contractions of the digestive tract and which will therefore dislodge these troublesome fur-balls from the gut and send them on their way!. If your cat is often bothered by this phenomenon, consider a course of regular treatment every month.
To prevent the formation of fur-balls, whether they occur all year round or during the moulting season, you should brush your cat’s coat regularly. Brushing their coat helps to get rid of any dead hair and prevent the formation of fur-balls when your cat is washing.
True Leaf Anti-Hairball treats
At True Leaf We know how annoying fur-balls are … Our treats, specially designed for cats with this type of problem, contain oil and hemp that enhance the health of your pet. Hemp is a natural source of phyto-cannabinoids and omega 3 fatty acids essential for your cat’s health. This formula also contains ground hemp seeds that are a source of dietary fibre. Last but not least our treats contain figs and natural fibres that help digestion and the removal of these pesky balls of fur.
Our treats are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, they’re an ideal size and they’re highly appreciated by cats. They were created to satisfy the predatory instinct of small cats and reduce the build-up of tartar in their teeth.
If you want more information about this please do not hesitate to contact us!