What is a hairball?
A hairball is a collection of dead hair and digestive juices that have formed in your cat’s stomach. Contrary to their name, hairballs are cylindrical in shape, not round. They are vomited by your cat as a way of getting rid of unwanted substances (one reason why cats eat grass).
Hairballs are more common in long haired older cats.
What causes hairballs in cats?
How hairballs are formed
Hairballs are the unsavory by-product of a good, clean habit. As your cat grooms herself, she swallows a lot of the dead hair that has come loose. This is because tiny backward-slanted projections (papillae) on the surface of her rough tongue propel the indigestible hair down her throat and into her stomach. While most of this hair eventually passes through the animal’s digestive tract and is excreted intact in the feces, some of it remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a wet clump – the hairball.
How can you help prevent hairballs in cats?
Hairballs can cause intestinal blockages, which can be a serious health problem for your cat. It’s a given that your cat is going to groom herself, so what can you do to keep hairballs to a minimum?
- Brush your cat’s fur daily. Regularly grooming your cat rids it of loose and shed hairs. When your cat grooms itself, it will be less likely to swallow fur.
- Wet Wipes wipe down your cat with a wet paper towel or a baby wipe. This will help pick up remaining loose hair after grooming.
- Keep your cat hydrated. Make sure that your furry friend drinks enough water to hydrate its intestinal tract. The liquid hydration will keep it lubricated and running smoothly.
- Feed your cat a good diet. Felines are carnivores. Their bodies are not designed to process carbohydrate-rich foods. Give your cat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, grain-free diet. Poor nutrition will cause digestion issues and increase the likelihood of hairballs.
- Provide digestive supplements. Feed your pet supplements that will improve digestion. It will encourage your cat’s digestive tract to pass the hairball instead of regurgitating it.
Home remedies for cat hairballs
- Olive Oil
- Adding olive oil to your cat’s food can ease digestion and help her pass the hair naturally. If you see your cat struggling with hairballs, consider adding a bit of olive oil to his or her food. Never force oil into the mouth, though, as you could send it into the lungs. Allow your cat to lick it up. A teaspoon of olive oil every week or so should do the trick. Other oils, such as mineral oil, corn oil or saffron oil can also help.
- A teaspoon of butter will work like the oil. Melt it in the microwave and drizzle over your cat’s food once a week.
- Give your cat cat grass. This treat can provide extra fiber for your feline which helps them expel the hairball.