We all know hairballs can be a big pain, both for your cat and you.
Most of us realize that when our cat gets a hairball, it is simply an accumulation from grooming.
Whenever they groom, a little bit of fur will get stuck on their tongues or in their mouths, and they swallow it. Hairballs are especially common for fluffier cats or those with thicker fur.
When cats get too much hair in their stomach, they have no choice but to vomit it up so they can feel better. The good news is that there are some all-natural hairball remedies that may make your cat feel better and eliminate your need to clean up.
The best natural hairball remedy for a cat is to do your best to prevent them ever developing one in the first place.
This means making sure that she does not swallow as much fur — and brushing can help prevent this. If your cat gets hairballs fairly frequently, it is a good idea to make it a point to brush her each day to get rid of excess fur. If your cat doesn’t get hairballs as often, every couple of days or once a week may be enough. Even giving your cat a bath can remove excess hair.
Sometimes a hairball will get stuck in your cat’s stomach, and this can be annoying and even painful for her.
One way to prevent this from happening is to add a bit of fiber to the diet. You can either switch the food to one that is higher in fiber or add something with fiber to meals. Canned pumpkin, for example, has plenty of fiber and cats seem to enjoy the taste.
Fruits and Vegetables
If your cat isn’t picky, adding fruits and vegetables to the diet is another way to increase fiber and help your pet move the troublesome hairballs out of the digestive system.
It is important to talk with your veterinarian first as certain foods (such as onions, raisins and grapes) can be harmful. Some options that will help with the hairballs and won’t harm your cat include carrots, cooked or canned sweet potatoes, and apples. If your kitty doesn’t like the taste, try cutting the foods into smaller pieces and mixing them in with the regular meals.
Grease the Wheel
Another great way to help the hairball make its way through your feline’s digestive system quickly and harmlessly is to add a bit of oil to the diet.
As a bonus, oil will also help the coat shine. Some popular options include adding safflower, flax, fish or vegetable oil to the cat’s food. You might also consider giving 1/8 teaspoon of the herbal medication slippery elm, which is said to produce the same effect.
Fiber and certain products intended to “grease” the hairball and digestive tract can be helpful, but if your cat is hacking up hairballs more than usual, it could be a more serious problem.
For more, watch this video from Dr. Stacey Wallach, DVM, of Town & Country Veterinary Hospital, Missouri:
Change the Diet
If you are looking for simple remedies that won’t be hard to feed your cat, you can also try changing the diet. I’m talking first about too many snacks.
Also try opting for a natural cat food that claims to help reduce hairballs. If you aren’t sure which one to go with, ask your vet for advice. He or she will be able to help you find a natural option that doesn’t contain chemicals or ingredients that are harmful for cats.
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People need exercise, and of course the same is true for felines. In addition to promoting weight gain, a lack of exercise can lead to hairballs. That is because when your cat isn’t moving, her digestive system won’t move as fast because of lack of stimulation.
A simple way to fix this problem is to get your pet moving as much as possible (or at least more often), because this will help her digestive system flow, encouraging the hairballs to leave without having to be thrown up or worse, causing a blockage.
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Does your cat get hairballs a lot? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love Pets Adviser’s email newsletter. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll be among the first to get alerts about major pet food recalls. New subscribers also get instant access to our 40-page ebook — which has “secrets every cat and dog lover should know.” Learn more here.