How to Treat Hairballs in Cats

Treat Hairballs in Cats
Treat Hairballs in Cats

Hairballs are a fact of life for cat owners. Every time your feline friend fastidiously grooms his fur, his tongue is picking up hair. Cats often leave these disgusting little presents on the floor for their owners to clean up. It’s a nasty chore despite the actions of the cat being a wholly natural body response to an accumulation of hair in the stomach. Since hair itself isn’t digestible, the cat’s stomach reacts by emitting digestive juices that cause the cat to expel the hairball. There are many remedies, all of them relatively simple and inexpensive. Sometimes, your cat just might need a little help. Read on to treat hairballs in cats.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat hairbrush and comb
  • Petroleum based cat laxatives
  • Hairball remedy cat chow or treats

Grab a pet hairbrush and brush your cat’s fur. This is a ritual that so many cats love. Regular brushing helps remove loose fur and reduce the incidence of hairballs. Once or twice a week if sufficient for short-haired animals. Long-haired cats should be brushed daily to prevent excessive hairballs.

Some cat food manufacturers sell chow and treats to help keep things moving in kitty’s digestive tract. These foods include a lubricant and fiber to aid your cat’s passing of any offensive hairballs. Some cats just love the food while others have increased vomiting or other reactions. There are many other choices to alleviate excessive hairballs rather than switching the animal’s entire diet.

Paste-like hairball remedies are available at your grocery story or vet. These are basically laxatives that help the cat expel the hairball in their litter box, rather than on your carpet. These products should be given regularly, preferably once a week. Most cats will lick the paste right off your finger. If your cat is reluctant to taste the remedy, mix a small portion into the cat’s wet food on a regular basis.

Some cat owners swear by home remedies to decrease the frequency of hairballs. A dab of butter in the food dish, a 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil, or a little treat of baby food sometimes keeps kitty’s plumbing clean. Any home remedy should be discussed with your vet. Remember that people foods are for people, not pets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hairballs can clog kitty’s plumbing to the point where you’ll need the assistance of the vet. Sometimes, a hairball can reach such a size that your cat cannot expel it or pass it in their stool. Symptoms of a real problem are vomiting, loose stools, swollen tummy, lethargy, or inability to defecate. Your cat needs immediate medical attention.

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