How to Prevent Hairballs in Cats

Are you tired of having to clean up hairballs? Sick of those little surprises your cat leaves you on your bed, on your new carpet or on your lovely white couch? Find out how to lessen the frequency of such events.

Hairballs and vomiting are natural to cats and normally they throw up a hairball a few times a month. Cats are said to spend about 10% of their day cleaning; while cleaning they ingest a lot of their own hair, most of it passes through but sometimes is settles in their stomach and forms a hairball. If  your cat throws up more often than 4 times a month it is definitely time to take him to the vet for a check-up so that you can rule out serious health problems.

There are ways in which you can prevent hairballs from occurring often. There are three major ways to help prevent hairballs and I have discussed them all below:

  1. Diet. Higher fibre foods are a natural way of helping your cat to digest the hair that he ingests while cleaning himself. Dry food is usually higher in fibre than wet. Adding some canned pumpkin to your cat’s diet is also an easy way to add extra fibre to the diet.
  2. Brushing. Brushing your cat daily will help to prevent too many hairballs. A flea comb, a comb especially made to get rid of fleas, is the best brush for a short haired cat as it gets deep down to the skin. You can also use a slicker brush as well as a specially designed glove with rubber nubs to remove excess hair. For a long-haired cat a wire slicker brush is helpful in removing as much dead hair as possible. Brushing is also a good way of spending some quality time with your cat. Most cats will be very pleased to have your undivided attention for that period of time.
  3. Lubricants. Give the cat a half teaspoon of Vaseline or other petroleum jelly product once or twice a week to prevent hairballs. If he is having a real problem with hairballs, give the cat the half-teaspoon daily until the worst of the problem disappears. While it is rumoured that giving your cat Vaseline internally will harm him, this is not true. Many vets and breeders swear by it. The petroleum jelly molecules are too large to be absorbed by a cat’s body and will pass through his system unchanged.  In addition, there are many petroleum jelly based treatments on the market, with malt, tuna, and chicken flavours. Mineral oil is not recommended as it can be inhaled by the cat and can cause pneumonia. 

Another way to help lessen the chances of your cat developing a bad hairball problem is to insure that he has access to lots of clean water daily. If you follow the above tips, hairballs, while probably not becoming a thing of the past, will occur less often. This will make both you and your cat very happy.

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User Comments
  1. Deanna Lynn Sletten

    On July 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Good tips. I clean up a lot of cat goo! :)

  2. K Kristie

    On August 10, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Nice useful tips.

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