What Is A Cat Hairball? Here Are The Hairy Facts Of The Matter!

No cat owner wants to see their pet distressed, but sometimes it happens. Loads of felines suffer with this one, but what is a cat hairball?

what is a cat hairball
Evan Blaser / Flickr

When you choose to take a cat into your home, you make a silent vow to look after them and care for them no matter what. It’s fair to say that pet lovers get particularly worried whenever their cat looks a tad sick. That in itself is totally normal. Coughing and spluttering is the sign of a very common problem with your kitty, so what is a cat hairball and how can you stop your pet getting them?

Are hairballs normal or not?

First, let’s deal with the burning question on everyone’s mind. Are cat hairballs normal or not? This is one of the things that stresses out many cat owners. When you see your kitty struggling to cough up that ball, it may worry you a whole lot. The last thing that you ever need is your cat to be in some kind of pain. But wait a minute, isn’t this whole thing just a normal part of feline life?

The truth is that while cat hairballs aren’t a major problem, they are avoidable. What’s more, they are not particularly comfortable for your kitty to throw-up, and so you should do all that you can to get rid of them sooner rather than later. Let’s take a look at what a cat hairball is and how you can prevent your pet from getting them.

What is a cat hairball?

You’ve likely noticed that your cat grooms themselves a huge percentage of the time. Yes, felines tend to spend most of their waking hours licking themselves. While that means that they are clean animals, it also means that they have to deal with the dreaded hairballs now and then. Yikes.

While your cat is grooming themselves, they are picking up stray hairs from their body. Many of these hairs will be digested (gross, right?), but some will stick in the digestive tract instead. When this happens, they collect and stick together. Mucus forms around them to create a blockage. It’s at this point that your cat will begin to cough them up in the form of a hairball. Scarily enough, there are times when this problem will also be a sign of sickness too.

However, it may sometimes when the cause of these hairballs is more emotional than it is physical. In fact, a 2011 study from Ohio State University, found that felines may throw-up hairballs when their daily routine is disrupted. So, suddenly, you change something in the home environment, you may find that your kitty starts to act sick, when that is not the case at all. Be aware of this issue when it comes to tackling the problem!

Signs and symptoms

Most of the time, if your cat gets just the odd hairball, it’s fine. On the other hand, if this happens on a seriously regular basis, it could indicate that your kitty has a medical issue. If you’re worried that your kitty has more than a hairball issue, there are some signs that you may want to look out for. Here are some of the illness signs and symptoms that you should keep your eye on:

  • Daily vomitting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Change in mood
  • Isolation
  • Excessive mucus
  • Diarrhea

If you happen to notice that your cat has any of the above signs, you may want to take them to the vets sooner rather than later. It’s probably nothing, but it’s worth getting your pet checked out by a professional. Of course, if you do find that your cat has some kind of condition, the vet will be able to tell you what steps you ought to take next. Simple!

How to cure the hairball problem

While most cats get hairballs now and then, you may well want to prevent them. (For one thing, they are no fun to have to clean up and your cat doesn’t like them much either.) There are a few home remedies that you may find help you to get rid of the problem once and for all. Try some of these out on your kitty and you may just find that the hairballs go away for good:

  • Groom your cat well

Since this issue comes from your cat grooming themselves, maybe you should get their first. Brush your cat on a regular basis and make sure that you wipe away excess hairs with baby wipes. Doing so will mean that there are few hairs for your pet to ingest.

  • Add olive oil to their food

Lubricating your cat’s digestive tract will mean that the hairs just slide away. One of the best things you can do is add a little olive oil to their regular food. That ought to do the job in no time at all!

  • Change your cat’s food

Of course, you want to get the healthiest cat food on the market, but what if that’s the problem? There are some brands out there that promote an ‘anti-hairball ingredient’. It may be worth checking one of them out to solve the problem. Genius!

So, what do you think? With any luck, we’ve now answered the question ‘what is a cat hairball’ here. What’s more, we’ve given you a load of tricks and tips to boot! As you can see, there are many ways in which you can treat cat hairballs. Remember, your cat’s health relies on you so you need to do all you can to protect them. Good luck, cat lovers!

Skinny Kitty? Here Are The Top Reasons For Cat Weight Loss

Nobody likes the thought of their cat being too thin but what are the reasons for cat weight loss? We look at some of the most common causes.

cat weight loss
Jim Ratliff / Flickr

Of course, none of us like to think of our kitties being ill in any way. When you notice that your pet starts to slim down in a rather dramatic way, it’s nothing short of troubling. You may start to worry yourself with all the terrible possibilities here. You should know that there are a great many reasons for cat weight loss — some troublesome and others not so much so. Here’s just a quick and easy rundown of some of the most likely causes for the problem.

1. Cat anxiety or stress

Yes, you might not believe it, but cats can suffer from stress and anxiety just as we can. What’s more, when your pet is suffering with this problem, they are likely to encounter some serious cat weight loss too. Much of the time, this is down to the fact that they stop eating as much as they used to before they were stressed out.

So, what causes this anxiety and how can you fix it? Well, changes in your kitty’s environment are likely to blame. If you’ve moved the place around or introduced a new animal, these could be behind the issue. Keep an eye on the situation and consult your local vet if it happens to continue.

2. The eating area is dirty

Make no mistakes, cats are seriously fussy eaters. Some pet owners are just plain lazy when it comes to cleaning up their cat’s eating area. If the bowls and area in general are unclean, your cat may not like to eat there. It really is that simple. If your cat has suddenly stopped chowing down, this could be the reason.

Check out your pet’s eating station. If it looks something of a mess, you need to take action. It will help to clean the mat beneath the bowls as well as the eating stuff itself. You should realistically do this at least once every couple of weeks to keep your cat healthy and happy.

3. Feline parasites or worms

Here’s a not-so-nice your pet may be experiencing cat weight loss. Felines can often host parasites inside them that feed on their nutrients. What that means is that it doesn’t matter how much they eat, their weight will continue to drop at a rather sharp rate. If your pet still has a seemingly healthy appetite but is slimming down, this is likely the reason.

One of the most common parasites happens to be roundworm. There’s an easy (yet disgusting!) way to check for this problem. Take a look at your cat’s feces. If there are little white worms in them, you will know just what the issue is. A trip to the vets and a course of worming tablets should do the trick!

4. Infections and viruses

If worms aren’t to blame, there may be something else affecting your cat and their weight. Viruses and infections often contribute to and even cause cat weight loss. Again, the signs of this will be that your cat is eating but still losing a whole load of weight on a weekly basis. It can be very troubling for any cat owner once they realize that this is the case.

If you worry that your kitty may be struggling with an infection, you need to get them some medical help as soon as possible. Take them to your vet and explain the situation. They should be able to advise you on what you need to do next.

5. Dental problems

Let’s face it, if your cat’s teeth are causing them pain, it’s only natural that they would lose their appetite. In fact, this is one of the leading reasons that many cats tend to start to lose weight and get thinner and thinner. You need to check your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some of the major signs of dental issues include discoloration and browning. When you find out that there is an issue, the best thing you can do is consult with your vet.

6. Just old age

Finally, here’s one of the most natural causes for cat weight loss. The truth of the matter is that cats tend to get smaller as they age. This is a normal part of them getting older, and should be of no major concern. If your cat is more than 15 years old, you needn’t worry too much about this problem.

Then again, if you believe that your pet is thinning down at a super fast rate, you may want to get some professional advice. Looking after your cat’s best interests should always be your top priority, and so it’s important that you keep an eye on them even as they age.

Is Your Pet Too Heavy? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Cat Obesity

If your cat’s a little on the heavy side, you may well worry about their health. Cat obesity is a huge problem! Here’s everything you need to know.

cat obesity
Dan Perry / Flickr

You may not realize it, but cat obesity has been a growing problem for many years. Back in 2011, the APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) conducted a study in which they found that a whopping 50% of domestic cats were either overweight or obese. The sorry truth of the matter is that many pet owners don’t know whether their cat is at a healthy weight or not. They just assume that their kitty is healthy and don’t bother to investigate any further than that.

In reality, a combination of overfeeding your cat and them failing to exercise as much as they should could mean that they are overweight. This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual condition that tends to develop over time. That’s why you may not recognize it immediately. Since your cat will become heavier little by little, there won’t be an obvious or even dramatic change.

When is a cat actually ‘obese’?

Many people struggle with cat obesity because they don’t know where the actual line is. Luckily, there’s a Body Condition Score (BCS) that you can use to determine whether your cat is at a healthy weight or not. The table takes into consideration things like whether you can see your cat’s ribs, their muscle tone, and their general weight.

cat obesity score chart

As you may imagine, there are many different things that contribute to your kitty’s general health. It’s worth taking the time to look at the scale and understand it. Of course, if you worry that your cat is obese, it’s probably best to take them to the vets. They will be able to do a full consultation with your pet and let you know what you have to do next.

Health issues related to cat obesity

As you may well imagine, there are a whole load of health concerns related to cat obesity. When your pet is carrying too much weight, they can quickly become ill in all manner of ways. That’s why you absolutely need to make sure that you look after your cat well and take care of their weight too. Here are some of the issues that your cat may suffer from:

  • Joint pain and stress

  • Tiredness

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Low energy

  • Breathing problems

Of course, all of the above are just the start of your cat’s issues when they have excess weight. The more weight that they gain over time, the more likely they are to be stricken with some type of illness. For that reason, you 100% have to do something about this issue as soon as you notice it!

How to treat the problem

So, if you have identified that your pet is suffering from cat obesity, what on earth should you do? Well, the first step is to take them to the vet and get an expert’s opinion. Your specialist will be able to tell you what you need to do next. In the meantime, there are a few ways that you can pinpoint and help to solve the problem. Here are some of the things you could try for yourself:

  • Monitor your cat’s food

Of course, the crux of this issue is the fact that your cat is eating more than they need to be. So, what you should do is monitor how much your cat eats on a daily basis. Rather than simply feeding your cat in a haphazard way, check out how much they need. Feeding them small servings at regular intervals is the best way forward.

  • Avoid treating your cat too much

If your kitty has a penchant for treats, you might find yourself giving them to them more and more. Do you ever think about the health impact that this has? It’s a major cause of cat obesity and it needs to stop. Try to keep treats to a minimum and only give small portions.

  • Play with your cat!

This one should be obvious and yet so many people overlook it all the time. What your kitty needs the most right now is some exercise. If you have a house cat, be sure to play games with them. Make them chase balls and lasers. That way, they will use some of their energy on a day to day basis.

  • Opt for quality cat food

Many mainstream cat food brands fill their products with rubbish. That means that your cat could put on weight even if they only eat a little. The best thing you can do is research the various brand before you opt for one.

If you follow the above advice, you should find that the weight starts to drop off your cat in no time at all. Genius! Even so, getting professional advice to boot is sure to help so go ahead and visit the vets too.

How To Choose Healthy Dry Cat Food For Your Pet!

Every pet lover wants to make sure that their kitty to have the best diet and lifestyle. Let’s look at how you can get the best healthy dry cat food.

healthy dry cat food
goodfreephotos

If you’re a cat owner, there are a whole load of duties you have to take care of. It’s your job to make sure that your kitty stays safe and is as healthy as possible. Of course, it will come as no great shock that your cat’s diet has a grand impact on their health and well-being. If you want to be sure that they have all the nutrients and vitamins that they need, you should be sure to get them healthy dry cat food each and every time you shop.

The sorry truth of the matter is that this is something that a whole load of cat owners overlook. They get used to buying the same old brand time and time again. Whether it’s because of the decent price tag or just brand familiarity, few people are willing to make a change. If that sounds like you, it’s time for a serious wake-up call right now.

Choosing a healthy dry cat food is one of the smartest things that you can do for your pet. When you go above and beyond to make sure that they are eating the very best products on the market, this will reflect in their health. So, where on earth should you start? Well, luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here is just about everything you could need to know about choosing the right product for your cat.

Can dry cat food really be healthy?

First of all, let’s talk about one of the real issues that people tend to have with dry cat food. Many people question whether this stuff is healthy at all. After all, cats need a mixture of things in their diet to be as fit as possible. Simply giving them dry biscuits all the time does not seem like a viable way to give them what they need.

While the above is true, you need to understand that it’s all about moderation. Feeding your kitty both healthy dry cat food and some meat now and then is certain to keep them healthy and active. Just like us, these animals need a varied diet to get everything that they need. If they fail to get that, they will become tired and even unwell.

So, what should you do? Well, here are a few rules that will help you ensure that your kitty gets everything that they need on a daily basis:

  • Make sure that they have clean water each day

  • Feed them a diet of healthy dry cat food

  • Mix things up with some fresh cooked meat

  • Include wet food now and then for variety

As you can see from the rules above, it’s all about variation. The wider the array of food you give your cat, the healthier they will be. If you simply remember that golden rule, you should have no problem when it comes to looking after your pet.

Warning: Ingredients you need to avoid!

Of course, choosing healthy dry cat food when there are just so many options out there is anything but easy. One of the easiest things that you can do is look for ingredients that you will need to avoid if at all possible. If the following things appear in the top five (five largest quantities, that is!) ingredients of a cat food, it’s not the brand for you or your cat:

  • Rye

Although many pet food brands include rye as standard, most cats find this substance tricky to digest. Avoid it if you can.

  • Potatoes

Potatoes are very glycemic, which means that they will make your cat’s blood sugar levels surge. This is not healthy for cats at all.

  • Soy-based proteins

While these may sound healthy, they don’t sit too well with cats’ digestive systems. Some brands contain high levels of soy, and so you ought to avoid them.

  • Wheat or rice

Food producers often use grains, such as rice or wheat, to bulk out their products. The problems is that, unlike humans, cats tend to have trouble digesting these things.

  • Corn-based products

Similarly to grains, corn is just no good for your kitty at all. You should avoid foods which have high levels of corn in them whenever possible.

If you avoid the above ingredients, you should find healthy dry cat food, rather than an inferior product. Remember, the more attention you pay to the ingredients breakdown, the better it will be for your cat. On the flipside, you need to make sure that you look out for foods which are high in protein and meat. These foods may be a little more costly than average products, but they are worth the money.

Look out for specialist brands

Finally, when you’re searching for the right brand for you, there’s one thing that you absolutely need to keep in mind. You will want to avoid buying your cat food from large suppliers who make an array of other products for both animals and humans. Instead, look for a manufacturer that specializes in healthy dry cat food. There are actually many smaller retailers out there that have emphasis on cat health. They are the brands you should trust. Good luck and happy shopping!

What Causes Cat Diarrhea And How Can You Treat It?

So, your little pet is suffering from the dreaded cat diarrhea. It’s not the nicest subject in the world, but here’s what you need to know.

Causes Cat Diarrhea And How Can You Treat It
Natasia Causse / Flickr

It’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare, but when this issue starts to affect your little kitty, you need to know what to do. Cat diarrhea is nothing to smirk at; it’s just not a laughing matter. It’s something rather awful that can happen to your kitty at any given time. When it strikes, you need to take action sooner rather than later. After all, the very last thing you want is for your cat to get more and more sick over time. If you’ve seen the signs, here’s what you need to do next.

First of all, you need to clean the area where your cat has had an accident. As horrible as this job will surely be, it’s crucial that you make sure that you disinfect the area sooner rather than later. If you don’t clean up the cat diarrhea properly, you could find that your kitty picks up even more germs from the area. In time, that will mean that they get ill once again and, honestly, there will not be all that much you can do about it.

Once you’ve cleaned up, it’s time to address some rather pressing questions. You will need to figure out what caused the problem in the first place and how you can stop it happening again. As you may already realize, there are many, many reasons that this can happen to your pet. After all, just like us humans, there are a variety of ways in which your kitty can get sick every single day. Here, we will take a look at some of the major causes of cat diarrhea, how you can treat it, and how you can stop it ever happening again.

Major causes of Cat Diarrhea

So, what are the causes of cat diarrhea? Well, there are a number of things that could affect your cat’s bowel and digestive system. It’s worth taking the time to consider the many things that could have hurt your kitty before you take any action. After all, the sooner you know what the problem is, the sooner you can do something about it. Here are some of the possible causes:

  • A change in their diet

If you’ve started feeding your cat new things (such as a new brand of cat food), you may find that it doesn’t agree with them. This could be down to them having a weak stomach or even some allergies to certain ingredients! Try changing back to the old brand of food you used to see what happens next.

  • Viral infections

Cats can pick up viral infections from pretty much everywhere. Don’t forget that kitties tend to be particularly inquisitive. That means that they are more than happy to go sniffing and licking things in a bid to see what they are. The downside to this is that not everything is as clean as it perhaps could be. That means that they can easily pick up a nasty stomach bug.

  • Spoiled food

If the food your cat eats is somehow bad, you will find that it upsets your cat’s stomach. This could happen for a variety of reasons. For example, the cat food could have been slightly past its sell by date or the like. You need to pay attention to this kind of thing if you want to keep your cat healthy.

  • Kidney or liver disease

On very rare occasions, you will find that cat diarrhea is a symptom of kidney or liver disease. If that’s the case, you will find that the problem returns time and time again. It’s one of the scariest things, but the sooner you catch it, the better. Refer to your vet as soon as possible. They will be able to tell you what to do next.

How to Treat the Problem

If this is a one-off problem, you can likely treat it at home. There are, of course, a few ways in which you can treat the cat diarrhea safely and quickly in the comfort of your own home. So, what should you do? Well, the first thing to remember is that you must never panic. Here are a few tips that should help you along the way:

  • Don’t give your cat food for 24 hours

You need to let your cat’s stomach settle as much as possible. The best way to do that is to have them fast for 24 hours. Just avoid giving your cat any food for the next day. Make sure that they have plenty of water so that they can flush the problem out of their system!

  • Then, give them only dry food

The next day, you should not feed your cat any wet food. Instead, you will need to start them on something much less strong. You might want to give your cat some plain dry food (or even kitten food!) for the time being.

  • Keep an eye on your cat!

Finally, while you’re treating the problem, you should keep a close eye on your cat. Make sure that you feed them small portions regularly. Doing so will mean that your cat has a chance to digest their food slowly and easily!

Note: If your kitty keeps suffering from cat diarrhea, you will need to take them to the vets. This could be a sign of a serious medical condition, and so you need to get them the help they deserve as soon as you can. Good luck, cat lovers!

Revealed: 7 Signs of Cat Anxiety, Is Your Kitty Stressed Out?

If your kitty is acting a little odd, watch out for these telltale signs of cat anxiety

signs of cat anxiety
greyloch / flickr

No pet owner likes to think of their cat being stressed out or anxious. Typically, we tend to think of these as solely human traits, but that is not the case at all. Knowing the signs of cat anxiety is the best way that you can help your kitty! But wait, what if you don’t even know where to begin?

The truth of the matter is that many things can affect and show signs of cat anxiety in ways that we simply just don’t understand. For example, if you move something in their home or start feeding them a new brand of cat food, they may start to feel anxious. Of course, some cats are more susceptible to this emotion than others. If you want to keep your kitty content and happy, look out for these telltale signs of cat anxiety:

1. Digestive issues

Think about it. When humans are anxious, they often tend to suffer with stomach aches and digestive problems. Spoiler: Cats are no different. When your kitty starts to feel anxious, one of the major signs is that they will have either diarrhea or some other problem. It’s never a nice symptom to notice, but you have to keep an eye out for this one.

2. Constant grooming

We all know that cats love nothing more than to lick and groom themselves, but what about when this act becomes a little obsessive? If your pet is constantly grooming themselves all day and all night, it’s likely a sign of cat anxiety. Why? Well, you see, they are using the grooming ritual as a way to comfort themselves!

3. Appetite loss

Again, cats share many of the same traits as people do. When they feel nervous, they may lose their appetite or even stop eating altogether. Needless to say, if your cat won’t eat the food you give them, you should really take them to the vets sooner rather than later.

4. OTT meowing

Some cats are simply more vocal than others. If your kitty has always had a thing for meowing loudly, that is likely nothing to worry about. However, if your cat becomes more vocal overnight, there could be a dark reason. When cats are stressed, they tend to vocalize their woes. Don’t ignore this sign as it’s sure to get worse and worse.

5. Hiding away

It’s easy to see when a cat is healthy and happy. If your kitty is comfortable around you, they will sit near you and relax in your presence. That’s a seriously good sign. However, if your cat hides away from you all the time, it’s a cause for concern. This is a symptom of an animal that fears their environment.

6. Oversleeping

This next one is quite tricky since our lovely little kitties like to sleep much of the time anyway. Still, if you notice that your cat starts to sleep more and more, it could quite easily be a sign of cat anxiety. Be sure to keep an eye on them to see if their condition improves.

7. Aggression!

Finally, this is perhaps the most common sign of cat anxiety. When your pet starts to feel uncomfortable or stressed, they may lash out at you. They could become angrier and angrier for no real reason. Aggression is always a troubling sign and it’s honestly one that you must not ignore. Contact your vet and talk to them about what you should do next.