Summertime in a Cat's World - Hairballs
Your cat is shedding more and ingesting more hair due to the increased heat and longer daylight hours. Imagine licking huge wads of hair off your body and swallowing it multiple times a day. Cats are unable to process much of the fur and so it gets stuck somewhere along the way. Yuk! Your cat will have to hack up the fur stuck in their digestive track along with some food or liquid, creating hairballs.
Cats’ digestive tracks are shorter because cats are primarily carnivores, making it difficult for them to digest fur. If left to their own devices outdoor cats and wild cats will eat lots of grass and vegetation to help them purge the fur in their digestive tracks. This may be one of the reasons cats enjoy catnip. Fresh growing catnip is not only fun for cats; it is also a wonderful digestive aid and can, along with grass, effectively help your cat get rid of their tubular excretions.
If your cat has little or no access to the outside world, try growing your own wheat or barley grass in trays or pots. Leave them on the floor so your cat can munch when it feels the urge to purge.
Here is another solution for these wet surprises: help your cat groom themselves, and I don’t mean by licking them. There are some great tools available that effectively remove your cat’s undercoat, like the Furminator brush. Removing the undercoat is never dangerous or harmful – think of it as using a pair of thinning scissors on your own hair. Brushing your cat ten to fifteen minutes a day for a week can effectively prevent messy accidents, and leave your cat feeling light, comfortable, and refreshed.
If your cat has a serious hairball problem and hates to be brushed schedule a professional grooming appointment and have them shaved. Regular grooming appointments have many benefits. Medium and long haired cats don’t have to swallow so much fur and their self-grooming sessions are shortened. This means less hairballs! Unless your cat has extremely matted fur when groomed, enough hair would be left to keep them from getting sunburned or chilled.
Let’s not forget about your cat’s diet. A proper diet will eliminate many problems, including excess hairballs. Because of your cat’s carnivorous nature a grain free diet is ideal, unless you can supply your cat with fresh birds and mice every day. Having too much grain in your cat’s diet can cause problems like a dull coat, excessive shedding, stinky stools, ear mites, fleas, ticks, ph imbalances, urinary tract crystals, allergies, diabetes, and hyper-finickiness.
Your cat’s eating behavior is also a prime suspect for excess hairballs. If you free feed (leaving food out all the time) your indoor cats you are asking for trouble. Cats get bored with no outdoor romping activities and will over eat. A ten to twelve pound cat on a high quality grain free diet would only need to eat about ¼ cup of food in the morning and maybe, if they are young and active, another ¼ cup in the evening. Older, less active cats can drop to 1/8 of a cup two times per day. Along with fish oils and grain free treats, like freeze dried chicken or fish, your cat will be the picture of good health.
Let’s sum up how you can reduce hairballs. Grow grass and fresh catnip for your cat to nibble on at leisure. Help your cat groom themselves by brushing daily or making a grooming appointment with a professional groomer. Feed a high quality natural grain free diet, grain free treats, and fatty acids. Do not free feed and monitor the amounts you feed. It’s also helpful to supply fresh filtered water from a fountain. This encourages your cat to drink more liquids which helps solve digestive issues. By following these easy tips your cat will become healthier and happier, and you won’t have to keep a look out for those wads of tubular excretion anymore!
Article by Kat Lacy of Better Life Pet Foods in Las Cruces.