Are you watching the tumbleweeds of fur float around the house?
With the warmer weather, your cat will lose their thick winter coat and during spring and summer months is when the fur really starts to fly. Grooming is a great way to combat all the tumbleweeds of fur floating around the house. Taking time grooming your cat builds a trusting relationship. Brushing stimulates blood circulation giving your cat healthier skin and a shiny coat. It also reduces shedding and matting plus you will be helping to prevent hairballs by combing out the excess fur.
Furballs, hairballs or to use their proper scientific name trichobezoars are more common in long-haired cats but given how much attention cats’ pay to keeping their coats in tip top shape with lots of licks – most felines will, at times, experience hairballs. Hair isn’t digestible, and usually when cats groom, the loose fur collected by their tongues is swallowed, passes through the GI tract, and is then excreted. Sometimes though, a build-up of fur forms a mass – a trichobezoar – which might be vomited by the cat. Hairballs aren’t ball-shaped but cylindrical, due to being forced up through the oesophagus.
The occasional hairball isn’t necessarily cause for concern but that doesn’t mean hairballs are always harmless: in some rare cases, trichobezoars have been fatal.
Consult your vet if you notice any changes in your cat’s habits and behaviours, or if your cat is coughing/dry-retching or vomiting.
You can help to prevent hairballs by giving your cat regular parasite protection and regular brushing. It is really important to make grooming a positive experience; not all cats appreciate extended periods of brushing so be mindful that it might lead to overstimulation and watch for signs like tail flicking or swiping to tell you your cat has had enough. Most cats will have some sensitive areas (typically their tummies) that need to be brushed with care or simply left alone. Especially tough tangles or matted patches of fur are best left to the professionals; book your cat in with a pet groomer or talk to your vet about the best ways to remove these.
A quiet daily grooming session with your cat is good for their health and wellbeing, and because patting cats has been shown to reduce blood pressure, it’s probably good for you too!
Not sure which comb or brush is best for your cat?
Drop into the Cat Boutique, 85 Enmore Road Newtown, and have a chat with the Cat Protection Society’s friendly team about your feline friend’s grooming needs. They have a wonderful range of grooming products available and best of all by shopping at the Cat Boutique, you’ll also be supporting Cat Protection’s feline health and welfare programs.
For general advice on cat care and everything feline, call the Cat Protection Society of NSW on 02 9557 4818 or visit their website www.catprotection.org.au