and cat fur balls are common in cats and can be caused by a variety of
conditions. Although cats of all age, sex and breed can be affected, it
is most commonly found in the older, indoor, long haired, overweight cat.
How do cat constipation
and fur balls occur?
Fur ball (Trichobezoar)
occurs in cats which either over groom, have excessive irritant coat loss
or have cat constipation or a 'lazy bowel syndrome'. The fur is ingested
and forms a matted ball in the stomach or upper intestine causing a partial
or complete obstruction.
it prevents the passage of food material and may produce a localized bowel
condition which can lead to infection and other bowel conditions.
for fur being ingested in large amounts can be due to.
Fleas are the
main cause but other ectoparasites such as lice, harvest mites and ticks
can be involved. Other skin disease may also cause excess hair loss and
skin inflammation which stimulates the cat to lick, groom and ingest hair
producing fur balls.
These are often
overweight cats which are either kept in the house for 24 hours a day or
are reluctant to go outside and exercise. Cats should if possible be encouraged
to take exercise, although this can be very difficult to achieve! These
cats are often bored and or stressed. Psychogenic dermatitis is a term
coined to represent a 'stress condition' where cats will excessively lick
their skin, pulling out hair and causing bald, inflamed areas. These cats
often swallow large amounts of hair in relatively short periods of time
and often develop fur balls. Treatment for this consists of trying to identify
the cause of the stress and controlling it.
tend to be sedentary. This group of cats often have little better to do
than to sit on the couch and groom themselves. Because of their sedentary
nature their bowel motility is poor ('lazy bowel') and passage of faecal
material and fur slows, leading to constipation.
of cat constipation and furballs
Cats with fur
balls and constipation are often dull and lethargic with reduced appetite.
Cat owners are often unaware what their cat's faeces are like, but if seen
they may appear normal to dry and reduced in quantity. In mild and early
stages the cat may cough and/or retch. In the next phase the cat may well
vomit, sometimes just bilious fluid. If they have recently eaten, food
will often be regurgitated undigested. The vomiting is normally intermittent
and if seen by the owner, will often appear to be severe and very forceful.
The cat usually
manages to vomit the fur ball which is regurgitated as a small plug of
matted moist fur about the size of a cigar. Occasionally they are passed
in the faeces usually unobserved.
cat constipation and furballs
* Treating the
fur ball using a lubricating, bowel laxative by mouth such as Katalax
This product can be used intermittently (every 3rd day) or on a long term
basis, a bowel regulating preparation such as Peridale in either capsule
or granule form.
control can be aided by using a high fibre diet such as Hills Feline w/d
in the young to middle aged, normal weight cat, or Hills Feline r/d in
the older, overweight cat.
If your cat
has vomited several times a day, dehydration may set in. Fluid therapy
using Lectade powder is essential. If vomiting is severe you should consult
underlying reason for the hair loss.
If you can keep your cat well groomed then you will reduce the ammount
of dead hair likely to be ingested.
It is essential to ensure that your pet is free of external parasites.
Fleas are extremely common and many cats develop a condition known as FAD
(flea allergic dermatitis) which apart from leading to other skin diseases,
is extremely uncomfortable and will lead to excess hair loss.
have to get them up and moving. They are often extremely bored creatures
and toys, games, feeding upstairs etc. are examples of methods required
to get them motivated.
may be stressed cats and they often feel threatened outside the house and
occasionally inside the house as well. Do you have a cat flap and feline
intruders? Do you have a large bullying male cat in the house? Your cat
may not be sedentary but still stressed. Does your cat urinate in the house
or hide in cupboards or have strange behavioural mood swings? New children
in the house? A pheromone spray called Feliway may well relax your cat.
are sedentary. They often have 'lazy bowels' and although they look calm,
they are often bored and sad. They will also be prone to constipation,
fur balls and diabetes. Lose weight from your cat by correct dieting. Hills
Feline r/d is a high fibre low calorie diet to help reduce weight whilst
helping to maintain bowel function.
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