Hairballs can kill, so keep an eye out for anything unusual with your cat

  • Animals
  • Sunday, 09 Jun 2024

A nice soft brush that goes over the back, across the chest and down the flanks will remove a lot of loose hair. Photo: 123rf

Cats clean themselves, so they ingest hair. Usually this passes straight through. Sometimes, your pet will throw up a hairball. But sometimes, especially with longhaired cats, hairballs get stuck in the gut.

As hairballs can kill, this is an important issue. Here’s how you can help your pet:

► Cats shed, even in the tropics. While sunlight changes are a factor, Malaysian cats shed too. It just may not be very seasonal.

► Brush daily. A nice soft brush that goes over the back, across the chest and down the flanks will remove a lot of loose hair. If your pet isn’t ticklish, finish with a belly brush.

► Have patting sessions. If your pet hates brushes, gather up loose fur by stroking. Slightly damp fingers work well to create easy-to-dump fur clumps.

► Keep your pet hydrated. Cats are sometimes not huge water drinkers, and dehydration affects digestion. Invest in a water fountain or have several attractive bowls that are "kitty” drinking glasses around the house. Water must be very fresh!

► Pile on the wet food. The jelly in wet food helps keep your pet hydrated. So paw it over and watch them enjoy their best treat food.

Also keep an eye out for trouble. Cats are very tough and don’t show a lot of pain, so look out for anything unusual.

Subtle signs are lethargy, a persistent cough and sudden bad temper – due to pain or discomfort. More obvious signs are a distended tummy, or your cat isn’t using the litter box.

Finally, be aware that hairballs can grow and kill your pet. So if you see something isn’t right, consult your vet quickly and get medical attention.

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