You might have noticed your cat making disturbing sounds trying to expel a hairball. These gagging, vomiting noises can disrupt your peaceful night rest or ruin your lunch. Yeah, because you tend to get up and run for the cleaning sprays and paper towels as your cat struggles to rid themselves of the alien product.
Causes of hairballs in cats
Hairballs are formed as a result of your cat trying to groom themselves. As they lick on their coat, they sometimes swallow hairs that get delivered to the stomach forming balls. When it becomes uncomfortable, your cat tends to vomit up the wad.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the affectionate tongue bath from your cat, you’ll notice the rough texture of our furry friend’s tongues. The tiny barbs covering cats’ tongue are good for removing dirt and different forms of debris from their coat. Their tongue also grabs excessive, which most times they end up swallowing.
Most times, the fur and dirt swallowed pass through the stomach and intestine and get excreted out with no trouble. However, when a large amount of fur gets trapped in your cat’s stomach, it goes on to form a hairball or a cat furball. This is quite disturbing in cats.
But the good news is that you can actually stop these occurrences using some easy treatment options for hairballs in cats.
However, you need to always seek advice from your veterinarian before trying out any of these techniques highlighted below, especially if your cat is suffering from a chronic condition or they are elderly.
Easy treatment options for hairballs in cats
Whenever you notice your cat struggling to expel hairballs, you can try the following easy treatment options:
Have it in mind that the best way to treat hairballs is to prevent it. So by brushing your cat regularly, you can get rid of excess fur that would be normally swallowed or regurgitated. The interesting part is that as you brush your cat’s hair, you tend to create a strong bond with your kitty.
However, some cats may not be so enthusiastic about being brushed, though there are some that love it. It is important to introduce grooming time to give your cat enough room to adjust with as little pain as possible.
You can start with one or two strokes using a grooming glove. A good way to make the transition easier is to follow up with special treats as you brush.
Slowly, you can increase the grooming time as your furry friend learns to tolerate, and hopefully enjoy the time spent together.
But you don’t have to spend so much time brushing. Just a few minutes every day is enough for long-haired cats, and a few times each week may work well for short-haired cats.
After grooming/brushing your cat, you can use a baby wipe or a wet paper towel to wipe down your cat. This helps to pick up the remaining loose hair.
However, if you choose to use wipes, ensure it is a fragrance-free brand that is hypoallergenic.
You can add a teaspoon of safflower, fish, or flax oil to your cat’s food. This helps to coat a hairball, thereby allowing it to be extracted out freely out of your kitty’s system.
However, never force oil into your cat’s mouth to avoid sending it into their lungs. Just allow your cat to lick the oil up by themselves.
You can add a teaspoon of these oils to your cat’s food every week. As the oil moves through your cat’s digestive system, it helps them eliminate hairs in its stool. This cuts down on stomach aches tied with hairballs.
Some other oil options include corn oil, mineral oils, or saffron oils.
We all know fiber is good for our digestive functions, but only a few people know that fiber is also needed by our kitties.
When you increase the fiber in your cat’s diet, it helps to push the swallowed fur through their digestive tract instead of causing discomfort and forcing your cat to try vomiting them back up.
Some fiber-rich sources you can consider include canned pumpkin, hairball control cat foods, or small bites of fruits and veggies, such as carrots, apples, or sweet potatoes. You can add a few teaspoons of cereals rich in fiber to your cat’s food to help clear out those hairballs.
However, always ensure you talk to your veterinarian before increasing your cat’s fiber intake. This is important because excessive fiber intake can lead to some uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects.
More so, some diets are formulated to suit the cat’s metabolic needs. There are many diets for hairball control and prevention. Some features fresh chicken to make it appealing as well as beneficial to your cat’s digestive tract.
The hairballs may become more problematic if your cat’s diet isn’t providing enough moisture. This slows down the function of your digestive system, hence, allowing the hairballs to stay longer.
The best thing to do is to always keep your cat well-hydrated. You may provide constant access to a nice bowl of water, but sometimes cats prefer to drink moving, running water. One smart way to handle this to provide a water fountain for your kitty. This entices them to drink more!
However, you also provide good hydration for your cat through their food. When you gradually introduce canned food to your cat, it increases their water intake. This is better than a diet composed mainly of dry kibble.
As your cat feeds on a diet containing a good amount of moisture, it helps their digestive system to move all that hair and debris out of their system instead of sending it back up where it came from.
You can mix one-half teaspoon of Metamucil with water and add it to your cat’s food twice a day. This helps to accelerate the passage of hairballs through their system.
When the psyllium seed husks present in this laxative absorb enough water into the stool, it helps to support the easy passage of the hairballs through the intestine.
You can apply a bit of petroleum jelly to a paw to relieve their hairball problems. Your cat tends to lick the jelly you rub on them, and this helps to lubricate the digestive tract, hence making hairballs elimination more comfortable. Try this once a week or so to prevent hairballs in your cat’s system.
Although hairballs are harmless, there are still a few signs of danger you should be on the lookout for. If your kitty is vomiting undigested food, has abdominal swelling, stops passing stool, or loses appetite, it is important to check with your veterinarian right away.
But note that these easy treatment options for hairballs in cats which are highlighted above are very effective for making a big difference.