It is common to see cats licking themselves all the time. It is a habit that is part of their hygiene, and cats are very clean, so they spend about a third of their time licking themselves. If you’re a cat owner, you’ll know that cats often need to expel hairballs that they swallow when they lick themselves. That is because a cat’s tongue is rough and has small spines on the surface, which act like a brush and drag up the dead hair that falls off.
Why do cats swallow their own hair?
When they lick themselves clean, cats carry away a lot of fur with their tongues and do not know how to spit it out, so they end up swallowing it. This is worst in autumn and spring, when cats shed more hair than usual. If the hair accumulates in their intestine it forms a hairball, which the animal must expel to feel well, either through faeces or vomit. But sometimes a hairball can obstruct the intestine, causing a real health problem for the animal.
This problem is aggravated in the case of long-haired cats, such as Persian cats, or when the cat is of a certain age, as it has less strength and energy to carry out its daily hygiene and because its digestive system is slower and it finds it more difficult to eliminate hairballs.
What remedies are available to eliminate furballs?
There are several things you can do to prevent your cat from swallowing too much hair and to help him eliminate furballs so that they do not pose a health risk.
- Choose a food that helps to eliminate fur. Picart Select Extra Care range of products is specially formulated to facilitate the elimination of furballs. How does it achieve this? Thanks to the incorporation in its formula of a type of fine, flexible fibre (pea fibre) that contributes to intestinal motility, favouring digestive transit. In this way, the amount of hairballs that the cat will vomit will be less, because it will be easier for it to eliminate them via faeces, which is more natural and less annoying for the animal.
- Brush your cat daily. Especially if it is an older cat or a long-haired cat, brushing your cat every day will cause it to lose less hair when it licks itself, and to swallow less hair. This will reduce the possibility of large furballs forming and, if combined with Picart Select Extra Care food, will help them to expel the hair in their faeces.
- Be attentive in times of moulting. Basically, in spring and autumn, we should be more attentive to the animal, alert to any change in mood, lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting… At this time of year, we can also use catnip, a herbaceous plant with a minty smell that most cats like very much and which helps them to purge themselves, helping them to eliminatefurballs. But be careful and always ask to your veterinary, as it can cause aggressive reactions in some cats.
- Another home remedy to try if your vet not desagree, is to rub Vaseline on your cat’s front paws. He will instinctively lick them, and swallow the petroleum jelly, which will act as an intestinal lubricant and help remove any furballs that may be stuck in his gut.