In his two years of life, Mako has had several hairballs, which is understandable since he nearly chokes on his armpit hair when grooming himself. This is pretty normal, especially for long haired cats, since hairballs are simply clumps of hair your cat has swallowed during grooming sessions. Most of the time, a cat will pass bits of hair in their faeces, but some of it stays in the stomach and gets collects until the cat has to regurgitate it. Despite its rather normal circumstances, it’s still gross. While producing hairballs is apparently common enough that one every two weeks or so is normal, there are ways to reduce such harrowing experiences.

The obvious method to help reduce hairballs is to remove the hair of your cat. This can mean taking your cat to the groomers (or grooming them yourself if you’re brave enough) for a haircut. However, most people opt to brush their cat to remove what loose hair they can and even this simple step can go a long way in helping prevent hairballs. There are also special “de-shedding” brushes that help remove the loose fur in the cat’s undercoat, which most normal brushes will not get to. Unfortunately for me, my dumb cat hates being brushed so I’ve also started giving him Hartz Hairball Remedy, which is a paste that helps cats pass hair rather than it collecting in their stomachs. He hates that too, so I have to stick it to his paw so he’ll lick it up in an attempt to clean himself. Bathing your cat with hairball shampoo and giving them hairball-control food are also acceptable steps to helping reduce the frequency of hairballs that end up on your carpet...inches from the easily cleanable tile.

If your cat shows signs of trying to vomit without actually producing anything and has eaten very little in the previous days, you need to take the pet to a vet immediately. It’s possible the hairball may have gotten stuck in one of various ways and your cat may require surgery to remove it. Sometimes a hairball isn’t even involved, but you’ll still want to see your vet since it’s a very concerning sign.

Hopefully your cat is a bit more tolerable of your attempts to help than mine, but even if they aren’t, the steps mentioned above are pretty easy to apply to your cat’s regular care routine. Saying that, if you are ever unsure or nervous about any of the procedures, ask your vet. Your vet’s opinion should be above all when concerning your beloved pet.

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