Hairballs are one of the most common reasons why cats vomit.
The easiest way for owners to identify hairballs is through the “hacking” sound that cats make when trying to bring it up.
The digestive system of cats can really be affected by hairballs. Tell-tale signs include a loss of appetite, constipation and a swollen abdomen, in which case they will need to see a veterinarian immediately.
Hairballs develop through the cat grooming themselves and can occur equally in long-hair and short-hair breeds. Normally the hair that is swallowed will pass through the cat’s digestive system and into their stools.
Those that don’t can accumulate in the cat’s stomach or small intestine, forming a hard ball or matt which the cat can’t pass, so they then usually vomit it up.
Homemade products containing butter or oils are often suggested as possible solutions for hairballs. The problem with these is that they can cause other digestive problems, or be absorbed by the cat's system before they have a chance to work.
If hairballs are a chronic issue for your cat, sometimes a change in diet can help. A cat food specifically formulated to control hairballs can assist with their condition, providing high dietary fibre to help move the excess hair through the cat's digestive system and into the litter box, while ensuring your cat still gets the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy.
PURINA ONE Hairball Formula has been developed by Purina Veterinarians and Nutritionists and is scientifically proven to help minimise hairballs.
Back in 2003, the Purina Research Centre studied hairballs, identifying that about 30% of the hairball is made up of protein, and devising a way to dissolve that fat and help the hairball pass through the cat’s system easier.
Purina holds the exclusive rights to this technology, which means we can make hairball formulas that are lower in fibre than others so the cat retains more of the nutrients from the food.
To get the best out of a hairball formula it’s important to feed it as a sole diet rather than switching around –and remember it’s a preventative if you have a cat prone to hairballs to stop them from forming, rather than a cure if your cat already has them.