Grooming is like second nature to cats, which probably explains why they are such low-maintenance pets to keep. Be it a house cat, or an outdoor one, they all are extremely fastidious when it comes to keeping themselves clean.
Unfortunately, this regular cleansing ritual of theirs may, at times, trigger the problem of hairballs. Cats groom by licking themselves, which means they end up swallowing stray hair strands on their body. Normally, the ingested hair travels along the digestive tract, and is eventually passed out of the body as fecal matter. Problems arise when cats swallow a lot of loose hair at once, which ends up clogging their digestive tract. The cat, in this case, has no option but to vomit the lump of undigested fur, which we call hairballs.
Cat keepers, especially the ones who have long-haired breeds like Persians or Maine Coons may be familiar with the sight of their cat puking squishy, tube-shaped lumps of food bits and hair. Along with enduring the trauma of vomiting, these poor fellas also have to suffer from accompanying symptoms, like constipation, lethargy, and dry heaves.
Cats throwing up hairballs is not considered to be a serious ailment by people owning them. After all, a cat puking hairballs is a natural phenomenon, right?You couldn’t be more wrong. A cat throwing up hairballs is a cat in distress, and she ought to be getting care and assistance. If the swallowed hair are not eliminated as fecal matter, the cat tries to regurgitate. In case she fails to do so, it indicates that the hairball is too large, and has to be surgically removed.
In the meanwhile, your beloved pet will show symptoms of distress, like constant attempts at retching, refusal to eat, and constipation.
If a hairball is not eliminated or surgically removed, it may get stuck in the cat’s throat or intestines, resulting in death.