What Are the Best Treatment Options for Hairballs in Cats?

List: Posted: 03/09/11

All cats are likely to suffer from hairballs at some point in their life.  They can be messy, and they can be harmful to your cat.  Large hairballs that block the intestines can actually require surgery to remove them.  What are your treatment options if your cat has hairballs?  


One of the best things that you can do for your cat is to groom it regularly.  Brushing your cat, even if only for a few minutes every couple of days, will help to eliminate the hair that your cat ingests, reducing the frequency and the size of hairballs.


You can also help your cat ease the passing of hairballs through the digestive tract.  To do this, you can use a little bit of melted butter, or even a bit of petroleum jelly.  Of course, you have to get your cat to swallow whatever it is that you decide to use, so butter might be the more palatable option here.  There are also commercial intestinal lubricants that you can buy, but make sure that you follow the directions very carefully.


Another way that you can help your cat pass hairballs is to make sure that it is getting enough fiber in the diet.  Reduce the number of snacks, and increase the amount of fiber your pet ingests with a high-fiber food formulation. This will increase the bowel activity of your cat, helping to pass more hair from its system.


If all else fails, let your cat outdoors to chew on long, fresh grass, or if it is an indoor kitty, visit a health food store or pet supply store and buy some potted wheat grass. Often marketed as 'kitty grass', this is the low cost option. You may find your cat rushes straight for the plant and starts chewing it, and minutes later it will bring up the hairball. The indigestible grass will bind to the hair when swallowed, and make it much bulkier and easier to bring up. This is the most natural and most cost-effective way to rid your cat of a hairball.

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