©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 3

Cats are fastidious, and this often causes a hairball problem. Cats groom themselves by licking their fur. The cat's tongue feels like sandpaper to the touch because of its many small barbs. These barbs catch the hair as the cat licks itself, and the hair is swallowed. If enough cat hair collects in the stomach without passing into the intestinal tract, the cat will vomit in an effort to rid itself of it.

If you want to check on whether your cat is experiencing problems with hairballs, the signs to look for include the cat vomiting long cigar-shaped material full of hair, a cat vomiting food immediately after eating and attempting to eat again, passing hair in stool, and rarely, a lack of appetite and weight loss.

If your cat has problems vomiting hairballs, use the following cat care tips:

Step 1: Remove all of the cat's food and water immediately.

Step 2: If vomited material is bloody or has a foul odor, contact the veterinarian immediately. If not, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Treat the cat by placing one or two teaspoons of white petroleum jelly on the cat's mouth and paws so it can lick it off. Do not give the cat mineral oil.

Step 4: Repeat the petroleum jelly treatment once a day while the cat is having difficulty. If the problem lasts more than two or three days, contact the veterinarian as soon as possible.

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