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Hairball Symptoms Cat Lovers Must Know

27 18:13:52
For cat lovers, few things take precedence over the well-being of a favorite tabby. Accepting responsibility for your pet's health is an important part of owning a cat. Besides finding and building a good relationship with a nearby veterinarian, you should also be familiar with common health issues that may arise during a cat's lifetime. That way, it's easier to identify a health problem and take the required action to ensure your pet's continued well-being.

One of the most common medical conditions in cats is the hairball. Hairballs are the unintended consequence of a cat's preoccupation with grooming. Because cats clean themselves quite frequently by licking their fur, they invariably ingest some of their own hair. While most of the hair a cat swallows passes through the digestive tract unimpeded, hair can collect in the stomach, where, much like a ball of string, it becomes entwined.

The simple act of vomiting is a natural reaction that almost always allows a cat to take care of hairballs on its own. If a hairball becomes large enough, however, your cat may not be able to pass or vomit it. A serious or even life-threating blockage of the digestive tract may be the result. If you notice symptoms like unproductive drive heaves, a change in your cat's eating habits or a swollen abdomen, take your cat to see the vet as soon as possible.

About one-fourth of all digestive blockages in cats are caused by hairballs that can't be passed. Fortunately, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to your cat's good health. A prophylactic chat with your veterinarian is definitely in order if your cat is prone to an abnormally high number of hairballs. Your vet may suggest a high fiber diet or prescribe a flavored medication that contains a lubricant to keep hair moving freely through your cat's digestive tract. Taken regularly, meds like these can prevent hairballs from ever forming at all.

A good relationship with a qualified veterinarian is important should your cat ever require professional care for hairballs or other ailments. Regular visits to the vet, even when there's no emergency, can add many years to the life of your favorite feline. Finding a good vet in your area is often as easy as asking a fellow cat owner for a recommendation. If you've recently moved or don't know another cat owner, check your online yellow pages for a list of qualified vets in your neighborhood.