Natural Remedy for a Cat Hairball
Hairballs happen when your cat grooms himself and swallows some of the shedded hair. That hair enters the digestive tract and your cat must either regurgitate the hair (the classic hairball) or pass the hair in his stool. Hairball problems can create more serious medical problems, including life-threatening bowel obstructions. The good news is that hairballs are easily treated and prevented naturally.
Regularly grooming your cat not only makes him look great, it prevents hairballs too. Be sure to brush long-haired cats daily, and brush short-haired cats at least weekly. Brushing your cat on a regular basis aids in removal of shedded hair. If you remove the hair for your cat it will decrease the amount of hair your cat can ingest, which in turn will aid in prevention of hairballs. Remember, hairballs may be an indication that you are not grooming your cat often enough, so pick up that brush and start a grooming routine today.
Your cat’s diet can also play a role in hairball treatment and prevention. Some dry cat foods are formulated especially to prevent hairballs. These foods can be purchased in stores or from your veterinarian. Or try adding 1 tsp. of bran, or 1/8 tsp. of psyllium seed or unflavored fiber powder to your cat’s food each day. Fiber helps move the hair through the digestive tract and gets those hairballs out before they can cause trouble. Another way to add fiber to your cat’s diet is to add 1 tsp. of plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to your cat’s wet food each day.
Laxatives work in the same way that fiber does, moving hairballs out of the body before they can become a problematic. Most feline laxatives also add an element of lubrication to the hair so that it is passed more easily. Be sure to only use feline laxatives for your cat, as laxatives formulated for humans can be very harmful to a cat. Your veterinarian can provide you with a good laxative to use, but if you would rather make your own, try giving your cat a pat of butter or a small amount of milk to drink. Cats are lactose intolerant, so the dairy in the butter or milk will make them pass the hairball. Or try giving your cat a teaspoon of mineral oil as a laxative to help pass the hairball.