Cat Wellness TipsPublished April 25, 2010
There are 93.6 million cats in more than 38.2 million U.S. households according to the 2009-2010 American Pet Products Manufacturing Association Guide. With this many cats around, the fur is bound to fly. In observation of National Hairball Awareness Day (April 30), FURminator, Inc. is providing tips on how to practice healthy grooming habits for cats - which may ultimately affect their overall health.
- When a cat coughs up a hairball, it is actually choking. This hacking can be very dangerous and can cause death in some cases. Cats will over groom themselves, especially in the spring during peak shedding season. To reduce the hair and the hack, many veterinarians recommend proactive grooming with the FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool for cats to help lessen the amount of hair ingested. Using a deShedding Tool is a more holistic approach for reducing hairballs rather than altering a cat's diet with specially formulated food or giving it a harsh laxative to flush out the hair in its digestive system. An additional way of alleviating hairballs is to add a little canned pumpkin to a cat's meal once or twice a week. The fiber in the pumpkin can help move any hair clods through its system. Specially formulated hairball control foods and treats have a similar affect.
- Cats have primal instincts and the location of their water bowl can prove it. In the wild, a cat would never drag its kill to a watering hole to eat and drink at the same time. House cats have inherited this same instinct. Owners should keep a cat's water bowl in a separate location than its food bowl. The cat will drink more water and this increase will help its system clean itself of ingested hair.
- A cat's age can affect how they shed. As a kitten matures its coat changes in several ways: texture, thickness, curl and coloring. This transition may take up to two years depending on the breed. Once a kitten's coat has matured, it will begin to shed more by dropping its "kitten coat". Consult with a veterinarian or groomer on the cat's changing grooming needs.
- Keep cats active to stay healthy; they're athletes at heart. A healthy cat can jump as much as seven times its height. Unfortunately, 21 percent of cats are considered obese or overweight by their veterinarians. Play and interactive toys with feathers on the end encourage cats to leap, stretch and stay active. Keeping a cat active helps it maintain a healthy skin and coat, as well as increases balance and coordination.
- Ask your vet. Concerned about a cat's chronic hairball problem? Be sure to consult a veterinarian for the best course of action to help alleviate the problem. Simple measures can be taken to ensure a cat's overall health is in tiptop shape, but always consult with a veterinarian when it comes to major changes in health, diet and behavior.