How could I have forgotten to write about something like hairballs!?
Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t.
I was kind of avoiding it. It’s a bit of a personal post.
Back, before kids, at the beginning of my career, I showed my cats. One of my cats, Holly, loved her shows, and I decided to grow out her coat this year and not do any trimming. Unfortunately, unknown to me, she had been overgrooming due to stress resulting from some foster cats. She stopped eating one day and seemed to have an enlarged stomach. I was nursing at the time, and was advised to take her to a specialist Vet clinic. As they were imaging her, I was allowed to help, and of course I got the ‘oooh wow’ from the Vet. Photos were sent through to the computer and many nurses and Vets then surrounded the images with ‘come have a look at this.’ Of course, only a nurse’s cat gets weird things happen. She had a hairball obstruction which meant she had no room to eat at all. A gastric operation was quoted, but I was given the option to try and remove via endoscopy first, as I had limited funds, being a vet nurse student. I was allowed to watch, and this was before good phone cameras, or I’d have photos for you! An endoscopy was performed with a tool that removes the foreign object piece by piece. We were lucky to remove most of the obstruction, and the rest by laxatives. Very lucky indeed.
My point to this story is that many people say that their cats never had hairballs, so there must not be a problem. You should always continue to comb your cat and keep an eye for any excessive grooming, that may be abnormal for your cat. A furball isn’t a bad sign, yeah, it is gross, but it means things are working well!
I’ve since learnt that is happens more often than you’d think. Learn more about this in Perth Cat Hospital’s post below.
What’s in a hairball?
A hairball, or trichobezoar, is made up of loose hairs, picked up during grooming, and digestive juices. It may also contain bits of food. The retention of a hairball/furball with vomiting prevents build up in the digestive tract and blockages.
There are a lot of at home treatments for hairballs, but a Veterinary consult it always the most important thing if your cat looks like it cannot pass a hairball or will not eat suddenly.
If you would like to reduce those ‘gross hairy cat poo’ looking things being thrown up all over your house, regular grooming is needed, such as bathing and blow-drying and combing as the cat is dried to remove that excess undercoat. In cases where a cat is susceptible to obstructions, a regular clip off and bath is your best prevention. I have a few cats that are kept short as this was their unfortunate Vet trip one day.
Articles on obstructions:
CatTime Cat has 5 inch hairball removed from it’s stomach
Hero’s Big Hairball- The Perth Cat Hospital
Using endoscopy to remove foreign objects from the stomach of cats
Who am I?
I’m Lexie Goldsmith,
My slow introduction and low stress handling techniques have been proven over 14 years of grooming cats without sedation and many happy clients, being the go-to cat groomer in my state.
I am contacted regularly by people all over the world wanting to learn cat grooming from me, and this makes me excited to see students now grooming cats with my videos, instructions and support.
I am a Qualified Veterinary Nurse, Pet Stylist and Master Cat Groomer, available for your cat grooming education needs.
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