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If you’re a Persian cat owner then you may have experienced the awful sound of your cat coughing up a hairball.
I remember the first time Milo coughed up a hairball, I was very worried as I wasn’t sure if he was choking on something that he had swallowed. I just felt helpless and I was panicking that something was seriously wrong with him.
Luckily after 10 seconds or so, the hairball was up and I realised what had happened. Milo seemed drained afterwards, then again who wouldn’t be after coughing up a torpedo of hair!
Most cats will get hairballs, not just Persians. Of course, a cat with fur as long as a Persian cat is more likely to endure them.
The good news is there are ways to prevent hairballs and reduce the chance of them happening. We will look at the best ways to reduce hairballs in this post.
Why Do Cats Get Hairballs?
Cats are meticulous about their fur and will often sit and groom themselves for hours. If you’ve ever seen your cats tongue then you will have seen the tiny bristles- their tongue is almost like a mini comb. They use their tongue to brush their fur and by doing this they scoop up lots of loose hairs.
These hairs are then ingested and they built up over time and create a hairball. The hairball sits in the stomach and once it gets too big your cat will cough it up, often with bile.
Contrary to popular belief hairballs aren’t usually “balls” they’re cylinder shaped.
Do Persian Cats Get Hairballs?
They certainly do and it’s not difficult to see why a Persian cat would get hairballs. The Persian cat has a long dense coat that sheds frequently. Unfortunately, these factors are all a recipe for hairballs. Most long-haired cats tend to suffer from hairballs but short-haired cats can get hairballs too but they’re less likely in general.
Are Hairballs Dangerous for Your Cat?
Your cat will normally pass a hairball by vomiting or they will pass it via their stool. If your cat tries to cough up a hairball but it isn’t coming out then this can be potentially dangerous, especially if it’s stuck and causing a blockage.
Generally speaking, hairballs aren’t dangerous and your cat should be able to cough them up without any issues. If you find your cat is trying to cough up a hairball but they are struggling then I would call a vet immediately and take them to get proper care.
Best Ways to Prevent Hairballs
In order to prevent hairballs, you need a three-pronged attack. The below suggestions are what I’ve used to prevent hairballs with my own Persian cat Milo.
I would say this is quite possibly the most important step of the three and I’ll explain why.
As mentioned above hairballs are formed when you cat ingests the hair it licks and this collects in the stomach and forms a hairball.
Persian cats tend to shed their coats a few times per year so there will be times when you notice more hair coming off them and this is a vital time to make sure you remove the loose hair.
If you brush your Persian cat on a daily basis then you will lower the chance of your cat developing hairballs. Brushing and using the Furminator will remove most of the loose hair thus preventing hairballs. I reviewed the best brushes for Persian cats.
Bathing your Persian cat is not only vital to keeping their coat in brilliant condition and healthy but it’s also an important aspect of reducing hairballs.
Bathing removes the loose hairs in a similar way to brushing your cat so this is a good preventative measure. I would say a bath at least once per month will be sufficient.
If you start by bathing when they’re kittens then they get used to this and it isn’t a scary thing for them. If your cat is older than you may need to ease them into this in order for them to adjust to regular baths.
I wrote a post on bathing your Persian cat this may help you get started.
It’s important to use a good quality cat shampoo in order to keep their coat shiny. You can read my review of the best shampoo for cats.
Anti-Hairball Cat Food
Tip number three is anti-hairball food or treats, these can be quite handy if you’ve followed the above steps and you’re still getting hairball issues.
There are many supplements on the market that are said to reduce hairballs in your cat and some of them I’ve tried and found them to be effective in addition to the above steps.
Purina ONE Hairball Formula Adult Dry Cat Food I have used this dry food for quite a while and found that it not only reduces hairballs but improves your cat’s coat. This is higher in fibre which helps your cat pass the hairball in their stool and keeps their stomach hairball-free. It’s a good product in my opinion.
Royal Canin Indoor Intense Hairball Dry Cat Food This is another great dry food for hairballs that is highly rated. Either of these products will be a good addition to your Persian cat’s diet and will aid with hairball control.
Whiskas Temptations Hairball Control If your cat is quite fussy and you don’t want to change your cat food for an anti-hairball food then these treats are a good addition to your cat’s diet. I always have a pack of these around the house and tend to give Milo a few once every few days. They work quite well in my experience but these won’t reduce hairballs on their own.
I’ve never used a pair of these gloves but I have heard that they’re quite useful and another way to remove loose hair from your Persian cat. I will be looking to purchase a pair and conduct a review on them. You can read some of the reviews on Amazon here.
If you follow the above steps you will definitely reduce hairballs but nothing will stop them 100% as cats will always groom themselves and manage to ingest some hair.
I haven’t had an issue with hairballs since I started to implement the above steps. It may be a coincidence but I doubt it.
Let me know how you control your cat’s hairballs in the comments section below, I’d love to know.