As a long-haired cat, Maude is prone to hairballs.
Your cat may spend all morning retching and convulsing before producing a cigarlike wad of fur. This is the fur she could not pass through her digestive system as she should have. To help your cat and to keep hairballs from appearing on your carpet, take preventative actions and cure her of her hairballs.
Hairballs happen when cats ingest their own hair while grooming. While a cat’s digestive system is made to take care of ingested hair, cats with longer hair or a sensitive stomach may have difficulty passing the hair through their systems. Instead of passing the hair out in his feces, the cat will vomit up the hairballs, or, worst-case scenario, the hairball will become trapped in his digestive tract and he will need medical attention.
The best way of curing your cat of troublesome hairballs is to comb him out with a good shedding comb to keep the hair he ingests to a minimum. Ideally, you should comb your cat once a day. Another option is to trim his coat to a shorter length. Generally, shorter hair does not build up in the digestive tract the way the longer hair does.
Another approach to curing hairballs is to give your cat a lubricant. Petroleum jelly is a common way to grease your cat’s digestive tract and send the hairball on through to her litter box. You can smear a dab on your cat’s arm once a day and when she licks it off, she will ingest it. You can buy a variety of petroleum jelly-based hairball remedies if you want something more appealing to your cat. MyHealthyCat.com warns that petroleum jelly can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, and Animal World Network warns that too much can lead to soft stools. However, CatsofAustralia.com insists that petroleum jelly molecules are too large for absorption and pass through your cat without any harm.
Mineral oil is found in hairball remedy treats, but do not give your cat straight mineral oil because of the danger of it entering her airway and causing health problems.
A high-fiber diet is also used to help cats with hairballs. You could feed your cat a cat food that boasts higher fiber. You could also feed your cat up to 1 tbsp. of canned pumpkin twice a day mixed in with his food. Fiber should push the contents of your cat’s digestive system on through to the litter box, hairballs included. Be careful with increasing your cat’s fiber intake, however, as it could cause digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Other side effects of the high-fiber diet are bloating, cramping and gas, as well as an increased risk of urinary tract infection caused by excessive fiber’s effect of holding water in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract, making urine more concentrated.
An herbal cure for hairballs is to add at least half a capsule of egg-based lecithin–best found online, according to LuvMyCritters.com–to your cat’s food twice a week. In addition to this, give your cat slippery elm bark twice a week. LuvMyCritters.com instructs you to dissolve two capsules of slippery elm bark in 1 tbsp. of boiling-hot water and then add it to something tasty such as tuna. The lecithin should break up hairballs, while the slippery elm bark helps them slide on through your cat.
Additionally, you can improve your cat’s diet, even choosing to feed her a raw diet of meat, fat, organs and vegetables. A healthier diet will give her a better digestive system as well as a healthier coat, thereby lessening the incidence of hairballs.