Shedding of your cat’s Winter undercoat, along with excessive grooming, can only result in one thing, HAIRBALLS! Cats can spend up to 10 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves by licking their fur. They have an amazing built-in barbed, self-grooming tool -their tongue- which can result in a whole ‘lotta’ hairballs.
No matter how hard we try to prevent hairballs, our cat, Smoki, still has problems; especially during the Summer months. It breaks my heart when I see her coughing and hacking as her little body heaves and struggles. It is even upsetting to Baylie, as she’ll rush to me as if to say “can’t you do something to help Smoki”? Even though we feed Smoki special hairball formula food & treats and brush her daily with her FURminator™ De-shedding Tool, we still have to supplement with other remedies.
Nothing is more disgusting than discovering a hairball deposited somewhere in the house. I rank it right up there with cleaning hair out of the bathroom drain. My mind has to go to my happy place on a beach somewhere far away when I’m cleaning up either of these or bad things will ensue.
I’ll spare you pictures and gory details of the anatomy of a hairball. If you have a cat, YOU KNOW! If you have seen one, you will never forget it! Hairballs are not just a nuisance, they can cause serious health concerns for your cat. In rare cases, hairballs can get stuck in the esophagus or cause intestinal blockages which may require surgery to correct. These symptoms can also be signs of a more serious condition so it’s always a good idea to consult with your vet if you see any of these abnormal clinical signs.
How can I prevent hairballs?
Grooming. Brush your cat daily. The FURminator™ De-Shedding Tool is great for eliminating hair.
Diet. Feed your cat a Special Hairball Formula Food. There are several on the market along with hairball prevention treats.
Supplements. Administer hairball preventative tube-dispensed gels or granules to your cat’s food; such as, Laxatone and Laxa-Stat by Tomlyn™. They provide assistance in passing hairballs through lubricating action.
Water. Nothing is better for your cat’s digestive health than drinking plenty of water.
Distraction. If you catch your cat in the act of grooming excessively, distract her/him with playtime.
Introduce more fiber into your cats diet. A teaspoon of mashed or pureed sweet potato or pumpkin (non-flavored) or baby food squash will make your cat think he/she is getting a special treat.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to your cats diet a couple of times a week to act as a lubricant to keep things moving.The opinions expressed in this article are our own. As always, please consult your veterinarian for treatment or before making any dietary changes.