Cats and Hairballs

Everything you need to know about hairballs

Cats and hairballs, whenever I see a cat coughing up a hairball, it reminds me of the animated Puss in Boots movie, where our hero seems to have quite a problem with hairballs, and often has to stop the action in order to deal with his hairball problem.

Is your cat coughing up hair balls? The occasional hairball is no cause for alarm, but if it’s a regular occurrence for your cat there could be more to it.  Keep reading for more information on hairballs

Ever wondered why your cat coughs up hairballs? Well it all starts with your cats grooming routine; cats being quite interested in how they appear to the rest of creation, one may even say rather vain,  are always making sure their coat is in tip top shape. As cats groom themselves they pull out the dead hairs and most of it passes through the digestive tract with no problems, however sometimes some of the hair will stay in the stomach and form a hairball.

This is not a pleasant occurrence for your cat, as they vomit it up, and it can be quite a painful experience; thus it is important to seek medical attention if this is a regular occurrence in your home.  If you notice any of the following hairball symptoms be sure to contact your vet as these could be an indication of a potentially life threatening blockage:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Ongoing vomiting, retching or gagging without producing a hairball
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

There are some helpful preventative tips that you can put in place to try avoid these situations as best as possible including:

  1. Feeding your cat food with added fibre

Feeding your cat a diet rich in fibre will help bind the hair and stimulate the intestine to aid in hairball reduction.

  1. Groom your cat regularly

Grooming your cat on a regular basis will help to remove the excess fur which will equal less fur ending up in their stomach when they do their own grooming. A simple comb or brush each day should suffice and can also provide a fun way to spend some time with your cat!

  1. Use a special hairball product or laxative

 A vet can recommend a suitable laxative or hairball product which can help the hairball to pass through the digestive track.

  1. Small servings of coconut oil, has also been reported to assist with digestive tract issues, including those related to hairballs

Why has my cat stopped using the litter box ?

The 5 Most Common Reasons Your Cat Has Stopped Using His Litterbox

Has your cat stopped using the litter box and started using something else (like your favourite rug in the living room or even on the floor beside the box).  Sometimes the reason could be a simple fix although it could also mean something a little more important so keep reading for the five most common reasons your cat won’t use it’s litter box

  • It’s dirty!

Cats are just like humans in that we won’t use a toilet if it’s grubby or hasn’t been cleaned. Cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, so if you can smell it, imagine it being 200 times worse for your cat! If you notice your cat has been doing its business elsewhere, maybe it’s a sign that you need to up the frequency in which you refresh its litter box.

  • Litter box location.

Location, location, location! It is really important, especially if it has to do with where your cat does its business. Maybe you’ve placed your kitties litter box in an area that is too out in the open, or too frequented by humans and loud noises. Don’t forget your cat likes privacy too!

  • New litter

Have you recently switched litters? Maybe your cat isn’t using the litter box because it is unsure about the new litter you’ve put in it. Cats are very much used to routine and when things change in their environment it can affect them drastically. So consider changing back to their old litter or mixing 50/50 with the new litter for a more gradual change.

  • Medical problems

If you’ve noticed your cat has begun to urinate more frequently and more often in places other than the litter box then this could be a sign of a urinary tract infection (quite common in cats).  This is a good sign that your cat needs to see a vet!

  • Territory marking

How many cats do you have in the house? If your answer is more than 1 than this could be part of the problem.  Some cats will mark their territory in the litter box, especially if it is a shared one.  If one of your cats has stopped using the litter box, a suggestion would be to get a second box (in a second location) to see if this solves the problem.

This can be a major issue for so called indoor cats that spend most of their time indoors, so it will need to be attended to in a hurry, remember if you try most of the above advice, and find that nothing works you will need to ensure that kitty gets to see the vet.

Cat Litter – It came about by accident

Ultimates IndulgeHave you ever changed your cats litter and stopped to think about how it came to be? The history behind the invention is quite interesting and funnily enough was a complete accident! In this article I will fill you in on everything you never thought you needed to know about cat litter.
Historically, there was no such thing as ‘cat litter’ until 1947. Which begs the question, what did cat owners use as a substitute? Interestingly enough common litter choices were ash from the fire, sawdust and shredded paper. Absorbent? Kind of. Effective odour control? Not really. One day a young man called Ed Lowe, who diligently worked for his father’s industrial absorbents company was approached by his neighbour who was tired of using ashes in her cats litter box and dealing with the sooty paw prints left all over the house. She asked Ed for some sand, and he suggested using some clay instead. This was an excellent choice and the neighbour would use nothing else again, as not only was the clay super absorbent, it didn’t leave messy tracks around the house like her previous choices.
So Ed set out with 10 brown paper bags filled with clay, messily scrawled on the front were the words ‘kitty litter’, to his local pet shop. The owner was hesitant, as sand was available to anyone at such a cheap price he doubted anyone would be willing enough to pay 65 cents for a bag of clay. Eds famous response to the pet shop owner was “so give it away”, soon customers were asking for more and well the rest is history!
Ed’s business in cat litter continued to boom and in 1964 he created his own brand to be sold in supermarkets called ‘Tidy Cat’, and every day since then each bag of litter has a money back promise of satisfaction.

Just look at the cat litter market today, with the variety of formats and textures and even packaging that is presented on the shelves of pet stores as well as in grocery stores around the world. From the more natural kinds with wood and plant material as the source product, to the highly processed and pollutant silicon gel formats of cat litter, as in the crystals, to the earthy clay and sand types and bentonite and volcanic rock types. There are even cat litters today that cater for cats with sensitive paws, and litters that are extra safe, in case the cat or any toddlers in the house or any kittens for that matter decide to taste what the litter tastes like. Always take your time deciding what is best for your cat, and the litter you use when they are young will stick with them as they get older so be warned.