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Your Cat and Hairballs

When your cat grooms himself, tiny hook-like structures on the tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed by your cat. Some of the hair stays in the stomach, which forms the hairball. Ultimately, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. Hairballs are most likely to appear in long haired cat breeds. As cats grow older, they become groomers and more proficient at removing fur from their coats.

It can be disturbing to watch your cat eliminate a hairball. Symptoms can include: ongoing vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, constipation, and diarrhea. Nothing can be done to totally prevent hairballs in cats, but there are things that can be done to reduce their frequency.

1. Groom your cat regularly. Combing or brushing you cat on a daily basis can be effective to minimize hairballs and it can also provide a way to bond with your cat.

2. Give your cat specialized cat food. Many pet foods make hairball reduction food. This can help improve the health of your cat's coat, minimize shedding and encourage hairballs to pass through the digestive system.

3. Use a hairball product or laxative. There are a number of different hairball products on the market. Most of these products are laxatives that help hairballs pass through the digestive tract.

4. Discourage excessive grooming. Instead of your cat overly grooming, train your cat to do another enjoyable activity. Teach him or her to play with a new toy or introduce a new game for bonding and brain stimulation.

This Sunday, April 19, Harmony House for Cats is hosting the Purrs and Paws Party. The Auction will feature original works by local artists, electronics, gift certificates for fine dining, theater and sporting events, stunning gift baskets, jewelry, pet-themed collectibles, and gifts for the pampered cat or dog in your life.

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