How Dangerous Are Cat Hairballs

Although it is normal for your feline to get the occasional cat hairball, if one becomes lodged in the digestive tract, it can be very dangerous. Your cat may not be able to process food correctly and may trouble with bowel movements. If a hairball becomes lodged in the digestive system, surgery is often the only way to remove it.

Cats are famous for their grooming habits. By licking themselves, cats clean and groom their fur. Unfortunately, cats also ingest some of the hair they lick clean. For the most part, this hair passes harmlessly through your cat's digestive system. Some of this hair will stay in your cat's stomach, however. This is more common for longhaired breeds than for shorthaired cats.

As hair accumulates in your cat's stomach, it binds to itself, form a mass called a hairball or trichobezoar. A hairball will cause your cat to vomit. This is your cat's natural response. It's an attempt to eject the hairball.

Keeping an Eye On Your Cat
If your cat has a hairball blockage, she let you know by displaying one or more of the following cat hairball symptoms:

  • Hack, hack! If your cat's go-to response (vomiting) doesn't work, she may begin to have a dry, hacking cough or dry heaves. If this symptom is persistent and unproductive, your cat may have a hairball blockage.
  • A change in appetite. If your cat suddenly begins eating less or coughs up undigested food, it could be a symptom of a cat hairball blockage.
  • Swollen stomach. In extreme cases, the hairball blockage may be large enough to cause the stomach to swell or become hard.
  • A clean litter box. If your cat slows or stops defecating, the blockage may be preventing proper bowel movements.

If any of these symptoms are present, be sure to get your cat checked out at a reliable veterinarian.

Related Life123 Articles
When it comes to cat health, hairballs are an unpleasant fact. Every cat gets hairballs from time to time, but longhaired cats are especially prone. Though hairballs are completely preventable, they are a normal occurrence with cats. They also can be extremely dangerous.
Cats are well known for their grooming habits. An unfortunate side effect of all that grooming is cat hairballs.
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