There is nothing nice about a hairball! Not only are they unpleasant for the person who has the task of cleaning them up, but they are awful for your cat too. They can cause serious health problems for cats because they can lead to blockages in their intestine. This is why you need to make a conscious effort to keep hairballs to a minimum. But how do you go about it? Read on to discover nine effective home remedies for cat hairballs.

cat hairballs

What Causes a Hairball?

When it comes to hairballs, there are two main causes. The first, and most common, reason for hair intake is to do with hair shredding and grooming. While not grooming enough is clearly an issue, you also need to be mindful of excessive grooming. This can result in hairball formation. Of course, there are situations whereby increased grooming cannot be avoided – perhaps your cat has a behavioral issue, such as anxiety, or they are suffering from a skin problem, for example. Some cats, particularly long hair cats, will also shed additional hair during seasonal changes, and so this is another factor to consider when it comes to hairball formation. When hairballs become a problem is when they cause blockages. If your cat is no longer able to pass hair through their system, as they should, it could be because they are suffering from neoplasia, inflammatory bowel disease or a mobility disorder. In such a scenario, the best thing to do is visit the vet and they will be able to provide advice that is specific to your cat.

Signs That Your Cat Has A Hairball:

Before we reveal the nine home remedies you can use to help your cat eliminate a hairball, it is important to recognise the signs that they are suffering with this in the first place. Needless to say, witnessing and hearing your cat get rid of a hairball can be rather disturbing. They will usually retch, gag, and hack, and then after a short while they should vomit the hairball up. However, if you notice a number of other worrying symptoms, this could indicate that your cat has got a hairball stuck in their system, and this means you need to see a vet as soon as possible. Symptoms of a lift-threatening blockage include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Constant hacking, retching, gagging and vomiting, yet no hairball is being produced

If you notice any of these symptoms, there is no time to waste. Make sure you take your cat to see a vet as soon as possible so that the hairball can be removed.

cat grooming - hairballs

Nine Home Remedies To Eliminate Hairballs

1. Add More Fiber to Your Cat’s Diet

One effective way for you to combat hairballs is by adding more fiber to your cat’s diet. Fiber is good for anyone’s diet, and cats are no different. To help your cat process those pesky hairballs so they don’t cause any further problems, consider adding a couple of tablespoons of high-fiber cereal to the food that your cat eats. You can also have the same effective by adding a quarter teaspoon of Metamucil or a different fiber product like this.

food for cats against hairballs

2. Try Adding Some Canned Pumpkin to Your Cat’s Food

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. They are useful in preventing hairballs too. Pumpkin is not only loaded with fiber, but it also has bending qualities, which can assist in passing hairballs and feces. When adding pumpkin to your cat’s diet, make sure you choose pure pumpkin. You can’t use the type of filling that you would add to a pumpkin pie, as this is loaded with sugar. Also, if your cat has a sensitive stomach, it is a good idea to warm up the pumpkin before adding it to their food.

3. Treat Your Cat to a Bit of Sardine or Tuna Occasionally

Most cats love nothing more than a bit of sardine or tuna, and the good news is that this can assist with hairballs. This is because canned fish contains lots of natural oils, and they are usually packed in oil as well.

4. Melt Some Butter and Drizzle it Over Your Cat’s Food or Drizzle some Olive Oil over their Food

Both options have the same impact, as they ease digestion, helping the hairball to pass naturally. Adding around a teaspoon of olive oil or melted butter to your cat’s food around once a week should be enough to assist with their digestion. However, one thing you should never do is force olive oil into your cat’s mouth. You need to make sure your cat licks the oil naturally. If you don’t, you could send it into your cat’s lungs. Not only will this approach help your cat to pass the hairball, but it will also reduce any stomach pains they are experiencing because of the hair. You can use other oils, including saffron oil, corn oil, and mineral oil.

5. Finish Every Grooming Session with a Wipe

Once you have finished grooming your cat, it is a good idea to use a wipe or a wet paper towel so that you can pick up any loose hair that is remaining. If you decided to use wipes, make sure they are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.

6. Switch Cat Food to Something that Specifically Targets the Prevention of Hairball Formation

If your cat suffers from hairballs regularly, this is a solution that is well worth considering. Nowadays, there are so many different types of pet food to choose from, and there are a number of brands that have created pet food that is designed to stop hairballs from forming. This is one of the lowest maintenance ways to stop hairballs from occurring. These formulas will often contain a good quantity of fiber, which will aid with digestion, as well as a number of other oils and vitamins, which will keep your cat’s coat and skin healthy. This is beneficial because it will reduce shredding and, therefore, reduce the likelihood of hair getting stuck in your cat’s throat.

cat food for hairballs

7. Grow Indoor Pet Grass

If you are looking for a natural way to combat the problem, this is definitely an option to consider. Growing indoor pet grass is an effective and completely natural approach to encouraging your cat to consume more fiber. Grass also acts as a natural stomach soother. It will help hairballs move through the system with greater ease.

8. Pet Your Cat with Conditioner

Another easy and effective method for dealing with hairballs is to use a little bit of conditioner and pet your cat with it. You only need to use a tiny dab – around the size of a pea. When petting your cat with the conditioner, it will be absorbed by their hair, which will keep it moisturized. This has the purpose of boosting coat health and lowering any shredding. Again, if there is less hair being shred, there is less chance of hairballs forming. When looking for a conditioner, make sure you choose a product that is non-toxic and 100 per cent natural.

9. Put some Vaseline on Your Cat’s Paw

If you take a look at the commercial products that are available for dealing with hairballs, you will see that the vast majority of them contain petroleum jelly. This is what you will find in Vaseline, making it a good solution if you do not have time to pop to the pet store or you want something to deal with the problem immediately. All you need to do is put a very small amount of Vaseline on your cat’s paw. Your cat should voluntarily lick this off, and this will help to prevent hairballs in the future.

cat hairball

Aside from the suggestions that have been mentioned, grooming your cat regularly can go a long way to prevent hairballs / reducing the frequency of them. After all, the more fur you get rid of, the less fur that is likely to end up in your cat’s stomach. Not only this, but you can also get specific hairball laxatives and products on the market today. Therefore, if you have tried the home remedies that have been mentioned and your cat is still experiencing a large number of hairballs, you may want to look into purchasing a specialist product that targets this issue.

So there you have it: nine effective home remedies for cat hairballs. If you follow one of the suggestions that have been mentioned above, you should be able to get rid of the hairball with ease. Not only is this vital for your own sake, but more importantly, it is a necessity for your cat’s health. The last thing you want to do is run the risk of them suffering an intestinal blockage.

Sources

  1. What to Do About Hairballs in Cats, WebMD
  2. Hairballs in Cats, Cat Health
  3. Hairballs and Cats: What Should I Know?, Vet Babble
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!

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