Cat Hairball Treatment Options

Cat hairball formation is more common in longhaired cats, but any cat is susceptible. In most cases, hairballs are not serious and cause nothing worse of a short bout of vomiting. If, however, your cat seems to be regurgitating a large number of hairballs, some hairball control measures can be taken.

These methods will reduce the amount of hair your cat swallows and make the hair that she does consume pass more easily through her system.

Add Fiber To The Diet

Added fiber can improve motility and allow digested hair to pass more quickly through the digestive system. There are commercial cat foods available that contain special enzymes and added fiber. These products are sold as Digestive Health or Hairball Control formulas.

  • Hairball control diets may increase the amount of feces your cat passes.
  • Hairball control diets reduce shedding.
  • Easy way to add fiber: add two teaspoons of canned, unsweetened pumpkin to your cat's daily rations.

Provide An Internal Lubricant

Lubrication helps your cat pass hairballs in the feces. Hairballs form dense clumps in your cat's stomach, and they can be difficult to pass. Products that contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil-two slippery substances-let these masses pass more easily.

There are commercial products that can be added to your cat's food or fed directly from the tube. Most are flavored and readily accepted by cats.

You can use Vaseline right out of the medicine cabinet but be aware that your cat will not take it willingly. You will have to smear a bit on her paw and hope that she will lick it off-not swat it right back at you.

Groom Regularly

Grooming is the most reliable way to reduce hairballs in your cat. Regular brushing gives you the chance to inspect your cat's skin for abnormalities. Even minor cat skin irritations can lead to further hair loss and consumption as your cat tries to alleviate the itch and pain.

At least three times a week, gently brush or comb your pet, going with the direction of the cat fur. Coat and skin condition will continue to improve as your grooming regimen continues.

The more hair your remove, the less hair your cat will swallow and shed.

Reduce Stress and Boredom

In some cases, stress and boredom can cause obsessive grooming. If your cat seems to be licking and grooming more than necessary or healthy, improve her environment. To keep your cat busy and alert, try these tips:

  • Provide a window seat to allow her a view to the outside world. Install a scratching post or cat furniture to allow her to stretch, exercise and explore.
  • If your cat seems extremely anxious or is damaging her skin with excessive grooming, speak to your vet about a prescription anti-anxiety medication.
  • Hairballs are a fact of life for cat lovers. But some simple measures can keep them to a minimum-a big bonus for you and your cat.