It's normal to find some gooey paste on your carpet, sofa, or bed if you have cats. It's actually hairballs that cats have thrown up, which don't exactly resemble the name. You might have assumed the cat accidentally pooped if you are a new cat owner.
How Hairballs Form
When cats groom themselves, they ingest loose hair. This hair can clump together in the stomach and form a hairball. Hairballs are more likely to form in long-haired cats, as they shed more hair.
How Cats Eliminate Hairballs
Most cats are able to pass hairballs naturally. The hairball will travel through the digestive system and be vomited up. This is a normal part of cat grooming.
Problems If Cats Can't Ingest Hairballs
If a cat is unable to ingest a hairball, it can cause a number of problems, including:
- Vomiting: Hairballs can be very large and difficult to pass, which can lead to vomiting.
- Constipation: If a hairball is too large, it can block the intestines and cause constipation.
- Intestinal blockage: In severe cases, a hairball can block the intestines completely, which can be life-threatening.
Does Cat Grass Help with Hairballs?
There is some evidence that cat grass can help with hairballs. The grass contains fiber, which can help to keep the digestive system moving and make it easier for hair to pass through. Additionally, the grass can help to induce vomiting, which can help to bring up a hairball.
However, there is also some evidence that cat grass does not help with hairballs. Some studies have shown that cat grass does not increase the frequency of vomiting or the passage of hairballs. Additionally, some cats do not like the taste of cat grass and will not eat it.
How to Treat Hairballs Effectively
A high-fiber diet can help to prevent hairballs from forming and make it easier for them to pass through poop secretion if they do form. High-fiber foods contain ingredients that help to keep the digestive system moving, such as psyllium husk, beet pulp, and bran.
Some of the best high-fiber dry cat foods include:
- Royal Canin Hair & Skin (4.5% fiber)
- Royal Canin Hairball (7% fiber)
- iCat Indoor Long Hair (4% fiber)
- Happy Cat Hairball Care (8% fiber)
As recommended by our veterinarian, these foods are all specially formulated to help prevent hairballs, and they contain a high level of fiber to help move hair through the digestive system.
Additional Tips for Preventing Hairballs
In addition to feeding your cat a high-fiber diet, there are a number of other things you can do to help prevent hairballs, including:
- Brush your cat regularly. This will help remove loose hair before it can be ingested.
- Provide your cat with a scratching post or other surface to help them groom themselves.
- Avoid giving your cat too many fatty treats, as these can make hairballs more likely to form.
- Keep your cat's water bowl filled with fresh water at all times.
By following these tips, you can help keep your cat's hairball problem under control. If problem persists, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for your cats.