Cats are very good at grooming and have a habit of licking their coats to keep it clean and tick free. Whilst doing this, they tend to swallow a lot of their own hair which gets accumulated in their stomach, and ultimately forms a hairball. Eventually, the cats will vomit it out or pass it out through their poop. However, sometimes if the wad becomes too big, it can get stuck in the alimentary tract and this can be life-threatening for the cat.
Veterinarians say that a cat will vomit a wad, at least once in a week. If, your cat vomits more than that, you must get medical advice immediately. As an owner of a pet, you need to look out for the following symptoms, in your feline to detect any obstruction in the stomach, or throat. Vomiting, lack of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing and torpor are all signs which indicate that your cat needs immediate attention of a veterinarian.
To prevent your cat from coughing out these disgusting chunks, you can take some preventive methods before it becomes too late.
Home Remedies to Prevent Hairball
1. Grooming or Brushing
Get into a habit of brushing your cat’s fur every day. It is a great way of bonding with the animal and dumping all the unwanted hair that could end up in your cat’s belly. Many pet owners prefer to comb the fur first with a fine tooth comb and then follow-up with a soft brush. That’s a good way of getting your cat accustomed to this daily routine.
2. Hair Cuts
This is especially good for cats with long hair. Pamper your feline regularly; take your pet to professional groomers for a haircut. This is especially good for cats with long hair, as they need a haircut every 6 months. Cats shed most of their hair in the summer because that is when they over-groom themselves.
3. Hair Conditioners
Using a non-toxic and natural conditioner can, not only prevent hairball, but also keeps the hair free from static electricity.
4. Fiber rich foods
Many cat owners do not know this, but most of the cat food products available in the market are dry and do not have enough moisture and protein. You need to feed your cat food enrich in fiber, so that, its digestive system does not have to work extra hard. Formula cat food that is rich in fruit and vegetable pulp as well as carbohydrates is ideal for cats, as the fiber helps absorb other nutrients and keeps hairball under control.
- Hairball control pet food is very rich in fiber and one must start with small portions to avoid blotting and gas which can cause discomfort to the cat.
- Keep in mind that too much fiber can cause harm to the cat. Hence, you need to give it lots of water, so that, they do not get an infection in the urinary-tract.
Sardines are cats favorite and very good for them. You can also give cod liver oil to your pet with its meal. They prevent hairball, and in case, any hairball already present in the stomach, the oil will help it glide through the digestive system.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil acts as a lubricant and will help in the extraction of the hairball through the digestive system. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s wet food and mix well, repeat this for at least 3 consecutive days. You can give your cat olive oil, on a daily basis to prevent the hair from accumulating in the cat’s stomach. Reduce the dose from 1 teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon.
7. Corn Oil
Corn oil is very light on the stomach and rich in vitamins which help prevent constipation.
8. Non-Petroleum Jelly
Non-petroleum jelly is cheap and easily available in the market. Although it is very difficult to get a cat to swallow it, but a bit of perseverance can do miracles. Apply petroleum jelly on the cats shoulder, as this is where they lick the most. This will lubricate the digestive tract and allow the hair ball to come out easily. Continue doing this for four days.
Fresh pumpkin purée is the perfect home remedy for hairball, as it is rich in fiber. If fresh pumpkin is not available you can use canned pumpkin as well. Puree the pumpkin and add 1 teaspoon per day to your cat’s food and check its stool regularly, if the hairball has come out. Once the situation is under control, use pumpkin purée for one or two times in a week.
10. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil aids improve digestion and helps the body to absorb the nutrients necessary for the body to work properly. At the same time, it helps in the removal of hairball. Add ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil to your cat’s food and gradually increase the dose to 1 teaspoon per day.
11. Herbal Formula
Many of the herbal formulas available at the pet store are made from peppermint, rosemary, yarrow plant extracts, oregano and vegetable glycerin. All these ingredients are good for pets suffering from constipation and gas. Add 2-4 drops to your feline’s meal on a daily basis.
12. Fat Free Butter
Fat free butter helps lubricate the digestive tract making it easier for the cat to pass out the hairball. Add ½ tsp to your cat’s food everyday for a week. Consequently, the hairball would come out with the stool.
13. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Many of the different commercially packed pet foods do not contain enough omega-3; instead they are rich in omega-6. Fatty acids and omega-3 are essential for pets as they strengthen the immune system. Particularly, in cats, omega-3 also improves their fur as well the digestive system.
14. Psyllium Seed Husk Powder
Psyllium seed powder is made from the seeds of Plantago ovate plant. Mix the powder with some water and make small capsules. Add the capsules to your cat’s food, it will help push out all the hair in the stomach.
- After brushing your cat’s fur, always wipe it off with a baby wipe, which is fragrance free.
- Give your cat plenty of water, especially when you give them high fiber food.
- Add to your kitty’s meal some digestive enzymes.
- Like humans, animals are also allergic to certain foods. Therefore, you must know what they are allergic to, before you try any of the above remedies.
- Keep your house clean. Throw away any string or thread that you see lying around. If your cat swallows these, it will be dangerous for your pet.
- Although they may not like it, but you should give your cat a bath and use a mild animal shampoo to wash its fur.
- Take your cat to the veterinarian, on a regular basis.
- If you have a basket, where the cat goes to sleep make sure you wash it, at least once a week to get rid of any unwanted hair, before it goes into your pet’s belly.
- Avoid butter and oil, if your cat is obese.
- Do not disturb the cat when it is resting.
- Do not apply non-petroleum jelly to your cat’s paws, as they will shake it off or it will stick to the floor whenever they walk.
Alice grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in California, though she likes to visit home frequently. She graduated from a marketing specialist degree and worked at the core of outreach teams for more than 5 years.