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Why Do Cats Get Hairballs

As a loving pet parent of a cat, you may find your affections periodically strained by the unwelcome appearance of a hairball. Hairballs, while an unsightly aspect of cat ownership, are sometimes more than just a benign inconvenience. Sadly, some cats struggle to eliminate hairballs from their system, which may lead to medical complications or even a life-threatening pet-emergency. Continue below to learn why cats get hairballs and the potential dangers hairballs may pose.


You may have noticed that self-grooming is a natural and regular feline activity. However, due to the design of the feline tongue, this compulsion to self-groom will inevitably lead to a hairball. 


Cats, unlike humans, sport hooked spines on their tongues. The purpose of these hooked structures is to remove loose or dead hair while licking. This hair is then swallowed by your cat often without a hitch: most of the time. 


While most swallowed hair will pass harmlessly through the digestive tract, some hair will remain in the stomach. Once in the stomach, the hair will eventually accumulate into a hairball.


This process, while ill-favored, is a natural part of cat ownership. However, as a responsible cat owner, it is essential that you can recognize the signs of hairball complications.


Sadly, a cat will sometimes have difficulty eliminating a hairball from their system. If you notice your cat showing the following signs:


  • Unusual lethargy 
  • A lack of appetite 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Prolonged and repeated gagging


Call your local vet without delay. A cat that can’t eliminate a hairball is at risk of developing a life-threatening intestinal blockage. 


We’ll Take Care of Your Cat at Northwood Animal Hospital

If your cat is struggling to eliminate a hairball, don’t hesitate to bring them over to Northwood Animal Hospital. We’ll take care of your cat as if they’re part of the family. No matter what your companion needs, our compassionate and professional team will strive to bring health and happiness back to you and your pet. Call or visit us today to book an appointment.

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