How To Prevent Hairballs
Every cat owner has sprung awake in the middle of the night upon hearing their cat start to gag.
Nobody wants to receive this “gift” that their cat is leaving them, most likely on a carpet, but the frequency of hairballs can be reduced. Here are some tips and tricks on how to prevent hairballs from The Refined Feline.
Groom Your Cat Frequently to Prevent Hairballs
Cats groom themselves often since this is their only way to keep themselves clean. This frequent cleaning helps to prevent oils and debris from collecting on their skin and fur. About sixty percent of a cat’s day is spent on grooming which means they can ingest a lot of hair! For most cats, getting rid of a hairball is natural and often fairly easy for them. However, there may be times when your cat struggles with getting out a hairball. Hairballs can get pretty big and could obstruct or block their digestive tract or stomach. A swollen or hard belly, dry heaving, excessive coughing, or difficulty in defecating are clear signs of trouble. If you see any of these signs with your cat, call an emergency veterinary number right away.
To prevent hairballs, especially large ones, you can help them groom themselves. There are many kinds of cat brushes available nowadays and you can brush them as frequently as they’ll let you. You won’t believe how much hair you’ll collect with just a few strokes and every hair you collect stays out of their belly.
Many Cats are Hesitant to Be Groomed at First
If your cat is not a fan of being brushed, try to at least sneak a few brushes in when they’re in a good mood. Every little bit helps! Many cats are scared of the scary-looking brushes at first but if you go slowly and let them sniff them they’ll likely get used to it. With every brushing, try to increase the number of strokes that you can get in. If your cat still hates being brushed, try placing some treats on the ground to distract them for a minute while you sneak some brushes in. There are all different types of brushes available so you should be able to find one that your cat tolerates!
If your cat will not tolerate brushing, there’s still a chance for you to remove some excess hair. You can try wetting your hand with water and simply running it down your cat’s back and sides. This will pull up the stray hairs off of your cat and then you can just rinse your hand. This will feel the most like regular petting so any cat that is used to being pet shouldn’t mind it. You can use a washcloth or a paper towel instead of your hand, but your cat may notice the difference. Even just running your damp hand over their coat every day can work wonders to prevent hairballs and reduce the amount of hair they ingest overall.
Change Your Cat’s Diet
If your cat isn’t getting a proper diet, this can lead to difficulties with passing hairballs. Ensuring your cat is hydrated is one way to help ease through all the hairballs they’re dealing with. Make sure fresh water is available 24/7 either in a traditional water bowl or by using a cat water fountain. A water fountain may entice your cat to drink more since it mimics a running faucet. Keep an eye on the water levels and make sure you see your cat touch their water every day. Most cats don’t drink enough water to keep themselves properly hydrated.
Feeding your cat wet food can also help increase the amount of water they ingest, which can prevent hairballs. You can even try mixing the wet food with additional water. If your cat only eats dry food, they may have a tough time staying hydrated which can lead to issues down the road.
Help Your Cats Pass Hairballs More Easily
There are many types of oily pastes that you can give your cat to help them pass hairballs more easily. Some cats will eat the paste right from the tube but others are more finicky. In this case, you can put the paste on a small plate and cover it with your cat’s favorite wet treat or wet food.
You can also try adding a small amount of oil to their food as well but you should consult with your veterinarian first. It’s important to make sure you’re picking the right kind of oil. If your cat is experiencing more digestive issues, your vet can also give you advice on how to up the dosage. On the other hand, using too much oil may cause diarrhea and other stomach issues. So, make sure to follow the instructions of a veterinarian when using your own remedy to prevent hairballs.
Follow These Tips to Prevent Hairballs
Knowing how to reduce hairballs will make you, your cat, and your carpet happy. If your cat’s diet is optimal, then tackling their coat should be your priority. If you’re already brushing them weekly and are still seeing them struggle with hairballs, then it may be time to revisit their diet. Hopefully, these tips will help keep the hairballs under control.