Cats are adorable pets but can sometimes get the owner worried. They may sometimes take a long cough and then bring out balls of hair. If you do not know this behavior in cats, you might think the cat is sick. So why do cats cough up hairballs is the question I guess you might be asking. There are reasons that get your cat to cough up hair.
Cats groom themselves by licking their coats. Their tongue is so hard that it removes loose hair from their coats. This hair gets into their mouth and sometimes gets swallowed. Cats’ digestive system cannot digest the hair and so the cat has to get a way of getting rid of it. It can either bring it out through its waste products or by coughing it out. Most cats are able to get rid of the loose hair by excretion, but there are times when this becomes impossible. The hair gets coiled up into a ball and lies in the stomach. This irritates the stomach and prompts the cat to cough it out.
A cat suffering from hairballs may throw up more food than hair, making the owner believe that the cat is sick. What happens is that, the hair irritates the cat’s stomach so if the cat takes in food, the food only worsens the irritation. The cat may throw up everything in its stomach including the hair and the food.
Failure of the cat to rid its stomach of the loose hair can cause serious problems. The hair balls might get bigger with the addition of new loose hair from grooming and may block the animal’s intestines and cause severe constipation. The cat may also lose interest in food altogether. Feeding the cat with foods high in fiber may be a great way of helping the cat to excrete the hair.
There are also over the counter remedies that may help rid the cat of hairballs, but there are situations where the ball is big and has blocked the intestinal track that it can only be treated by surgery. The best way of treating hairballs in cats is prevention. If you often brush the cat’s coat to get rid of loose hair then there is a less chance of hairballs being coughed up by the cat. It has also been found that, hairballs occur often in cats with long hair than those with short hair. If possible keep the cat’s hair as short as may be comfortable for the cat.
A cat coughing up hairballs is only an indication that the cat is solving its own problem and is not cause for alarm.