How to Stop Your Cat from Vomiting Hairballs

There are some simple methods to prevent your cat from vomiting a hairball. They include frequent brushing to reduce the amount of hair your cat can lick and consume, and methods to help alleviate digestion problems.

Cats enjoy grooming themselves. They'll spend hours licking their fur and swallowing loose hairs. Because cat fur is not digested, they gather in the stomach. Very small hairballs travel through the intestines becoming fecal matter. More often, the fur gathers into a clump too big for the intestines causing irritation in the stomach. This irritation forces the cat to throw up the hairball.

Daily Grooming Reduces Cat Vomiting

The first tip for helping a cat vomiting from hairballs is to make sure you are brushing your cat daily. If you brush away the loose fur, the cat cannot swallow large amounts of fur.

With any cat, brushing the fur backwards helps loosen as much fur as possible. Remember some cats dislike hair being brushed in the opposite direction of hair growth, so be prepared to offer treats while brushing. Keep brushing into your brush isn't picking up any additional hair.

If your cat struggles with a hairbrush, purchase a grooming glove. The gloves have small nubs that act as a brush to remove hair, but your cat feels your hand petting it. Cats enjoy their owner's attention and happily sit through extended grooming sessions.

Using Cat Laxatives for Easier Bowel Movements

Sometimes, hairballs in the intestines lead to constipation. Once any underlying disease or problem that might lead to frequent cat vomiting is ruled out, veterinarians suggest using a cat laxative to help hairballs slip easily through the intestines.

Products like Laxatone use petroleum jelly to aid a cat's passing of fecal matter; other products, such as Petromalt, mix malt syrup and mineral oil. Find hairball relief products in pet stores and in your veterinarian's office.

Change Your Cat's Diet

Switching to hairball diets are other options at relieving cat vomiting hairballs. Hairball diets include foods specially formulated with plenty of fiber to help fecal matter pass through the intestines.

Avoid grocery store offerings, they are full of by-products and gluten meals that provide little nutritional benefit. Look for formulas where the first ingredient is a pure source of protein (chicken, chicken meal, fish, etc.) and no by-products are listed. Check the ingredients for a source of fiber, usually beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls, rice hulls or soybean hulls.

Outdoor cats eat grass to aid their digestion. Indoor cats benefit from pots filled with cat grass. Cat grass is a combination of barley, oat and wheat grasses and cats love it. Keeping a planter of cat grass is a safe and effective way to aid the passing of cat hairballs.

In addition to hairball diets, make sure your cat has fresh water available throughout the day. Many cats dislike drinking from a bowl. They prefer running water. If this is the case a Drinkwell Fountain is a great way to get a cat interested in drinking plenty of water throughout the day.