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How to Deal with Cat Hairballs

No doubt about it, if you have a cat, he’s likely had hairballs. Most cat owners know the signs: the hacking noises, the yellowish spots on the carpeting. As unpleasant as the experience may be for you, after all you’re the one who has to clean it, keep in mind that it’s also very unpleasant for your cat. In fact, hairballs can sometimes prove deadly, causing breathing problems for your cat and actually suffocating him if not treated. So just how can you keep your cat safe and prevent hairballs?

By far, the very best way to prevent hairballs is with regular brushing. To understand why, you must understand why cats get hairballs in the first place. Cats are very clean creatures who are constantly grooming themselves. In fact, it’s estimated that cats spend nearly 30% of their lives grooming themselves. During the grooming process, cats take in some hair which, not being digestible, ends up just sitting in the stomach. Once in the stomach it churns and churns until it’s one big mound of hair, digestive acids and mucous that will eventually need to be purged. At that point, the cat then throws it up.

Regardless of whether your cat’s a shorthair or a longhair, he’s likely to get hairballs, though longhaired cats tend to get them more frequently. Brushing your cat on a regular basis will remove excess hair that would otherwise end up in your cat’s tummy and turn into a hairball. Sometimes, though, brushing alone doesn’t always do it. In that case, there are several hairball remedies on the market that work well. These tend to look like a brown-colored petroleum jelly that work by coating the hair in the stomach and helping it to pass through your cat’s system. Most cat’s will readily lap it up. You can also find special food and treats that are designed to help combat hairball build-up.