Hairballs are a common thing for almost all cat owners. Though they may be disgusting to humans, a hairball is a normal and natural way for cats to rid their system of unwanted hair. Hairballs are also a way to get rid of irritating hair that gathers in the cat’s intestinal tract.
As we all know, cats clean themselves by licking their hair. Some cats can be compulsive groomers and every time they lick their fur to groom themselves, loose hair is picked up on the tongue, swallowed, and makes it way down to the stomach. Some cats are especially prone to producing more hairballs or hairballs on a more regular basis. This includes cats that are heavy shedders or ones the groom excessively. While a hairball is a normal thing, it is still uncomfortable for the cat. When a hairball is not eliminated they can cause a blockage in the intestinal track which requires immediate and often costly medical attention.
There are many ways to reduce hairballs which will make your life and the life of your cat easier and more fun. Not every option may be viable for every person and cat, so make sure to try as many as you can.
The best thing you can do to reduce hairballs is to give your cat a good daily groom. There really is no substitute for a good brushing. A good brushing will remove loose hair and keeps the cat’s coat clean and shiny. All the hair that ends up in the brush is hair that does not end up in the cat’s stomach. A good cat brush is one item that should be bought when buying all other essential cat supplies. Another benefit of brushing your cat is that it is a great bonding time.
Lubricants are another option to help move excess hair through your cat’s system. Petroleum-based lubricants are used. As many cat owners know, cats can be very picky about they eat. The good thing is that most of these lubricants are an oral paste and are available in many different flavors such as chicken and beef. Sometimes they are even combined with catnip to make them more appealing to cats. Another way to get your cat to digest these lubricants is to put them on the cat’s paw or nose which will your cat will then lick off and it forces the cat to ingest the lubricant.
Most specialty diets for hairball reduction are highly effective and quite popular. They are available at many of your local pet food stores. These diets are high in fiber and low in calories. They have been researched and scientifically formulated to provide the best nutrition possible for your cat. When your cat receives great nutrition it improves their skin and coat condition, which in turn reduces the shedding your cat does. In addition, the higher fiber content helps move the hair through the intestinal tract and eliminate potential blockages would could be deadly.
Besides lubricants and specialty diets, food supplements can be used to help reduce shedding and improve the coat condition. Fish oils, B-vitamins, pumpkin, and brewer’s yeast help with a healthy skin and shiny coat. This in turn will help control the formation of hairballs. Additional omega-3 and -6 fatty acids which are generally found in a liquid form can also help with shed control and a shiny coat. Lastly, there are cat treats that are given as an additive for improving skin and coat conditions. Many of these treats have the fish oils included in them.
Besides brushing your cat, there are other grooming products that will help reduce your cat’s hairballs. Shampoo and conditioners that are specially formulated to control excessive shedding are a good place to start. There are also shampoos and conditioners that are fortified with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids to moisturize the coat and leave it shiny and healthy. This option works great for those people that already give their cat a bath.
Lastly, toys and cat scratching posts are often not talked about when it comes to reducing hairballs. Cat Toys increase activity which aids in getting a cat’s system moving, this helps eliminate excessive hair build-up in the intestines.