A hairball is a small collection of hair or fur formed in the stomach of animals that is occasionally vomited up when it becomes too big. Hairballs are primarily a tight elongated cylinder of packed fur and may also include bits of other elements such as swallowed food.
Intensive grooming in cats promotes the ingestion of important quantities of hair, which can accumulate in the stomach and intestines. Contrarily to dogs, the cat’s stomach lacks waves of muscular contractions sweeping the contents into the small intestine. Moreover, in the small intestine, there is no Migrating Myoelectric Complex (MMC), but rather irregular bursts of contractile activity. Consequently, the whole gut transit time is quite slow, lasting about 48 hours, whereas in dogs it is around 24 hours. This results in the formation of gastric or intestinal hairballs. Hairball formation is especially common in longhair breeds (Persian, Angora…).
Blockage of the intestines by a hairball may have the following symptoms:
With a proper premium hairball control dry cat formula, your cat’s digestive system should be able to pass the amount of hair they swallow without trouble. However, some indoor cats can get into hairier situations if they don’t have enough moisture in their diet and/or do not drink a lot. In order to make sure the cat gets enough water, you can get a mix of high-quality wet food with their premium hairball control dry cat formula, and still offer plenty of fresh water to stimulate water intake.
Aiming for a healthier, shiny coat for your cat will definitely help prevent the formation of hairballs. Less shedding = less hairball formation! Adding quality sources of fat providing the essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 will be of first importance. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for maintenance of skin and coat condition, normal growth, proper membrane structure, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Linoleic acid is the most important omega-6 fatty acid because it cannot be synthesized by cats, and it is used to make other omega-6 fatty acids. Chicken fat is an excellent source! Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a great choice for cats who have allergies or suffer from dry skin or hotspots. Natural sources like flaxseed and fish oil are premium sources and help support a shiny coat and less shedding. Targeting a ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 between 1:3 to 1:5 is recommended and will help give your cat a fuller, shinier coat and lower shedding.
Stool volume and stool consistence are the major criteria in appreciation of pet food quality. Insoluble fiber acts as bulk, stimulating the propulsion of faeces. Considered as nutritionally inert material, the level of insoluble dietary fiber and stool volume are strongly correlated. Faeces consistence is largely influenced by the water-binding capacity of insoluble dietary fibers, which acts like sponge and ensure the formation of well-formed stools, making it easier to clean your cat pan.
High levels of insoluble fiber in a hairball formula can impact kibble structure, texture, cooking temperature and kibble hardness. As kibble hardness determines biting and friction forces during crunching, the increased kibble hardness provokes a stronger crunching and improved friction, strengthening dental mucosa and countering dental plaque adhesion. So yes, a cat hairball formula may have an oral care effect!
What is a hairball? A hairball is a small collection of hair or fur formed in the stomach of animals […]
Omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and fish oil help maintain skin and coat health.
Added prebiotics help support digestive health.