If you're a cat lover like I am, there's little that's a whole lot more fundamental than the continued good health of your beloved feline. It goes without saying that a part of being a cat lover is accepting responsibility for your cat's health. That means finding and building a good relationship with a nearby veterinarian in the event of a health emergency. It also means researching enough about typical health problems to be able to identify them and undertake the required action to assure your cat's good health.
All cat owners are familiar with hairballs and it goes without saying that the hairball is one of the most commonplace health conditions in cats. Cats are renowned groomers and hairballs are the accidental result of a cat's passion for personal hygiene. Whenever a cat grooms itself by licking its own fur, it will invariably swallow some of its own hair. Almost all of the hair a cat swallows moves safely through the cat's stomach and remaining gastrointestinal tract. However, hair occasionally gets entwined like a ball of string and a hairball forms.
In most cases, cats can deal with a hairball on their own by simply throwing up. Hairballs, however, can grow to a size that your cat can't pass or vomit. When this occurs, a hairball can cause a serious and even life-threatening blockage of the intestinal tract. Common symptoms include unproductive retching or heaving, a change in eating habits or digestion, or possibly a swollen abdominal area. If you see warning signs like these, take your cat to the vet without delay.
About one-fourth of all digestive obstructions in cats are caused by hairballs that can't be passed. Fortunately, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to your cat's good health. A prophylactic conversation with your animal medical practitioner is definitely in order if your cat is prone to an abnormally high amount of hairballs. Your vet may well recommend a high fiber diet or order a flavored prescription medication that includes a lubricant to keep hair travelling freely through your cat's digestive tract. Taken on a regular basis, drugs like these can stop hairballs from ever forming at all.
A great relationship with a qualified veterinarian is very important should your cat ever require expert care for hairballs or other ailments. Regular visits to the vet, even if there isn't any emergency situation, can add many, many years to the life of your favorite feline. Locating a good veterinarian in your area is often as easy as asking a fellow cat owner for a recommendation. If you've fairly recently moved or are not familiar with another cat owner, check your online yellow pages for a directory of qualified vets in your area.
Hope you enjoyed and were able to use this information. I'm David (a.k.a. DaveJac) and I've created hundreds of on-line articles or blog posts over the last five years on topics as diverse as house cats, tonsil stones and natural relief of chronic pain using a tens unit. Go through more of my materials by clicking on the above links.