Are Fur Balls Normal?

We all know that terrible sound Mr Fluffy makes when coughing up a fur ball, its etched into our minds! The sight of your cat twerking in font of you, makes you break into a sprint in a race against time to get something under them, before the parcel of doom descends onto your cream carpet.   If you do make it back in time there is that very realistic chance that your cat is going to miss the fur ball catcher and time it exactly so he vomits onto your hand.  They also may do the backwards shuffle while vomiting ensuring they cover as much an area as possible.  Oh and don’t forget the times we’ve stood on one bare foot! Ye we sure do love those little cute monkeys!

Sorry folks a bit graphic, but just so you know what they look like.

So what is a Fur ball?  A fur ball is a clump of fur that your cat has either passed in its vomit or its poo (eww right?).  The fur ball is caused by your cat grooming, it is normal for them to swallow their fur whilst grooming.  Those little rough tongues have little barbs pointing backwards, so the fur can only go one way and that is down.  The fur collects in their stomachs, usually its small enough to pass through into their intestines and they just poop that fur right out.  Sometimes its a little bit to big for it to pass into the intestines so your charming little fluff ball will just vomit it up to get rid of it.  A fur ball is usually sausage shaped with a lovely shade of vomit.  It is normal for cats to have occasional fur balls, and in longer haired cats it might be slightly more frequent than shorter haired.  It is not normal for you cat to be bringing up fur balls on a regular basis.  If this happens you should pop over to your vets to get them checked out.

Reasons that Mr Fluffy may be having more fur balls than normal maybe:-

  • Over grooming – cats may over groom if they are feeling stressed out by something.  Have you changed anything recently, moved house, new fur baby, moved thing around a bit ( you know how they hate change)?  They also may over groom if they are painful in an area.  Are they an older cat? Do they have arthritis over some of their joints or back?  Are they over grooming their tummy area? Are they grooming over their lower abdomen and private parts, this may show they have cystitis.  Have you been treating them regularly for those horrible little hoppers (fleas), they could be itchy because of a little blood sucker present.  They may also be itchy because of skin problem.
  • Tummy troubles – Mr Fluffy’s intestines may not be moving as well as they should, have you noticed if they are having difficulty going to the toilet?  If you do notice this you should definitely get them checked out.
  • Arthritis – This is very common in the older cat, its something that can be treated to keep your cat comfortable as they move into their senior years.  With the pain of arthritis they may not want to groom themselves as regularly, and when they do they have a lot more loose fur as they have not been keeping on top of their coat as well as they should.  This build up of fur goes straight down the hatch.

What can you do?

There are a few things you can do to help lessen or prevent the fur balls:-

  • Firstly get them checked out by your vet to make sure they are fit and healthy
  • Groom Mr fluffy regularly, especially if they have long fur.  By grooming them
    You don’t need to go to this extent to remove the fur!

    you are removing the dead and loose fur, which will stop them swallowing them so much.

  • There are diets out there like Royal Canin Hairball Care.  They have a special fibre in them that will increase the motility of the intestinal tract, this may help the fur pass through before it builds up in the stomach.
  • Hair ball pastes can be useful.  They usually have malt, liquid paraffin and/or cod liver oil in them, this can help the fur balls pass more easily through the digestive tract.  Usually cats will love the taste of these and will just lick them of your finger or off their paws.
  • Exercise, especially if you have an indoor only cat.  By moving round more your cats digestion system will work better, and lessen the chance of a fur ball building up.

As always guys if your worried please get your cat checked out by your vet.

If you have any questions or comments let us know.  We would love to hear from you.

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