Hairball Management and Healthy Mouths
What is a hairball? A hairball is a compressed, tube-shaped mass of hair, saliva and varying amounts of undigested food. Hairballs can form whenever a cat grooms itself and swallows hair. Since hair is not easily digestible, it can remain in the stomach and form a hairball.
Cats that produce frequent hairballs usually also have dental issues, since stomach acids present in vomit erode the enamel from a cat’s teeth. Loss of enamel weakens a tooth’s protection against plaque and bacteria, which can lead to infection and poor oral health. Read more about feline dental health on our Oral Health for Cats page.
1. Feed foods that promote skin and coat health. If a cat is suffering from hairballs, one of the best things to do is find a more meat-rich, more digestible food. When a cat gets plenty of protein and digests the food properly, he sheds less often, swallows less hair, and the little hair that he does ingest is passed more gently with the feces. He also vomits less often and, as a result, has healthier teeth.
Consider foods with high amounts of quality proteins and proper fats to meet the cat’s nutrient requirements. Foods should also include high levels of digestible and non-digestible fiber. Fibers can snag the hair in the stomach and help it pass through with food before it tangles and balls up with other hair in the stomach. A diet high in moisture can also keep a cat’s digestive tract hydrated, reducing the risk of hairball formation.
Stop by the nearest Mud Bay anytime to talk to one of our knowledgeable staff members, we'd love to help you find a food that promotes skin and coat health for your cat.
View a list of the Cat Foods We Carry.
Indoor cats spend a lot of time grooming–up to four hours a day–so many suffer from constipation and hairballs. Give cats a helping hand by combing and brushing them regularly. Not only will these grooming sessions reduce hairballs by helping to limit the amount of hair a cat ingests, they can provide for happy bonding moments together.
Read more about Keeping Indoor Cats Happy.
Please visit any of our stores, we’ll be happy to help you help your dog or cat.
We’re not veterinarians. Mud Bay staff are well educated, and our writing is well-researched, but neither the advice of a Mud Bay staff member nor reading Mud Bay's written materials can substitute for visiting a veterinarian. We offer carefully chosen, natural solutions, but we believe that veterinary conditions should be diagnosed and treated by professionals.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth and depression.
Along with professional care from a veterinarian and regular tooth brushing, reducing hairballs is one of the best ways for cats to maintain healthy mouths.