We love our cats, but hairballs? Not so much. Every cat person knows more than they’d like to about the mass of wet fur cats occasionally vomit. As disconcerting as they are, know that they are a completely normal part of cat behavior.

Hairballs are a result of your cat’s healthy grooming habits. As a cat grooms herself, her rough tongue catches the dead hair in her coat, and she swallows it. Most of the time this fur goes through her digestive tract with no problems. Occasionally, some accumulates in her tummy and turn into the dreaded hairball. Of course, you know what happens next – up it comes, usually on the most beautiful rug in your home!

Some cats are more prone to them due to their fastidious grooming or long hair. Maine Coons and Persians are far more at risk than short-haired breeds. Seasonally, when cats are shedding, it happens more often.

Much of the time hairballs aren’t anything to worry about, for some cats a hairball a week is normal. However, if your cat is lethargic, uninterested in eating, has a change in potty habits, or has unproductive retching for more than a day or two, it’s time to go see the vet. It’s possible that the hairball caused a blockage along their digestive tract.

You can help manage your cat’s hairball problems by daily grooming, feeding a fiber-rich diet, and discouraging excessive grooming (cats often do this when they are bored) by playing with your cat.

Keep your cat’s hairballs from turning into a hairy situation by monitoring your feline friend closely!

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