When a cat grooms itself, it uses its tongue, teeth, paws and claws. The cat’s tongue has a rough surface, which, combined with saliva, helps to remove dirt from the fur. Cats are very flexible but there are some areas that they can’t reach with their tongue so the cat will lick its paws and use them as a flannel. As the coat dries, the cat nibbles the fur to put it back into place.
The back claws act like a comb and get out any larger objects from the coat. The front paws stimulate oily secretions from the glands around the head and transfer the to other parts of the body.
Naturally the cat sheds it coat once a year, in the spring. But this process depends on light and temperature. In heated homes, indoor cats will shed throughout the year. You will not notice your cat loosing its fur, but you may notice it on your clothes and furnishings.
When self-grooming, the cat dislodges loose fur, and some of it is swallowed. This builds up in to fur balls, which will solidify and form a pellet in the cats intestine. Most cats bring these up automatically every few days, but sometimes they can get stuck causing a loss in appetite and rundown behaviour. In extreme cases a vet will need to remove the fur ball. The occasional meal of oily fish may help to dislodge any fur balls that get stuck.