If your cat frequently vomits up hairballs, then your cat may need to go on a cat hairball diet. After constantly ingesting its own fur follicles due to incessant grooming, something’s got to be done to address the problem. Unfortunately, getting your cat to stop grooming would be out of the question, as it would go against their nature. Therefore, our next option would realistically be to take dietary measures in order to help your cat eradicate its hairballs. Controlling your cat’s diet also has the added benefit of preventing your cat from developing hairballs again in the future.
When it comes to cat hairball diet management, there are a number of options to choose from. Which option you choose is dictated by the approach that you want to take in dealing with this problem. And which approach that you want to take depends on how severe your cat’s hairball problem is. It also depends on your cat’s own personality, behavior, and preferences. What may work for one cat may not work for another. What may be appropriate for one cat’s situation, may not be appropriate for another. And it may also be necessary to try multiple different approaches, to see which ones work best for your cat.
Here are a handful of recommended approaches to addressing the problem through cat hairball diet options:
Cat Hairball Diet Option #1: Restricted Food Intake
Has your cat has swallowed too much far to the point where your cat is frequently vomiting up furballs? Then think of it like a traffic jam in your cat’s stomach. Sometimes the best way to resolve a traffic jam is to simply wait it out. Let the backlog of cars pass through the constricted lanes of traffic. However, adding more traffic will only make the situation worse. It will create an even bigger traffic jam. Likewise, you may want to adopt a similar approach with your cat’s problem:
If your cat has too much fur already logged in its stomach, then you may want to give it a rest. This will allow your cat’s digestive system ample time to hopefully pass the hairballs through the normal excretory process. Otherwise, if you allow your cat to consume more food when its digestive tract is already blocked, then this could be what is triggering the vomiting reflex. Since there is nowhere else for ingested food to go, it is rejected by your cat’s body and expelled through vomiting.
How To Manage Your Cat’s Food Intake
After allowing some time to pass, you can feed your cat some more food. That too, you should also experiment with giving your cat less food at feeding time. Basically, if you were to put this into human terms, it might make more sense:
If your stomach is full, are you going to eat more? No! You are going to wait it out. In a similar vein, cats should wait it out, if they have hairballs lodged in their stomach, before eating more again. Unfortunately, your cat has no idea what is happening to it, so it may tend to go ahead and eat, if it is presented with food.
One way to combat this situation is to make sure not to leave food out all day for your cat to graze on. Feed it once in the morning and once in the evening. Take away the food bowl once your cat has finished eating at each meal time.
WIll this eliminate the hairball vomiting problem? It may or may not eliminate it outright. But it will definitely help to reduce the frequency and the likelihood of it occurring.
Cat Hairball Diet Option #2: Cat Treats
If reducing your cat’s food intake isn’t working in and of itself, another option would be try to feed it hairball control cat treats. Every cat loves to indulge in these savory, delectable snacks. I have yet to encounter a cat that is wont to partake of these. So what better way of killing two birds with one stone than to incorporate hairball treatment into these treats?
When they design hairball control cat treats, they try their best to mask the ingredients so that your cat does not suspect that it is eating something “medicated” or something that contains fibrous elements that promote or stimulate digestive health.
Your cat could be eating treats are specially formulated to facilitate the dislodging of stubborn hairballs and be none the wiser. Unbeknownst to your cat, you could be feeding it these different treats, and it would be a true win-win! Your cat gets to enjoy a tasty snack, whilst tackling the hairball problem.
The good news is that these are not “medicated” treats. They are available over-the-counter, just like any other cat food. It is not like you need to get a “prescription” from your local veterinarian in order to obtain these cat treats.
Cats are available in either semi-solid pellet format or in gel format.
Cat Hairball Diet Option #3: Hairball Cat Food
The thing about hairball cat treats is that it is possible to overfeed them to your cat. So you do need to be sure to exercise a little restraint when feeding them to your cat. There is “too much of a good thing”. At the end of the day, cat treats are, in essence, just that: treats. They are akin to junk food, and are not intended to be fed to your cats a complete meal or meal replacement, as it were. Too much of this can lead to other problems… Feline obesity is the most obvious one that comes to mind!
That’s why you might find that hairball cat food is a much more sensible alternative: Simply replace your cat’s regular cat food with specially formulated hairball cat food. You should see a decrease in your cat’s bouts with hairballs over the course of time.
Does Diet Control Work?
In and of itself, can your cat’s hairball vomiting episodes be controlled strictly through dietary measures alone? The answer is not exactly black and white. Every cat is different. Every cat’s circumstances are different. For some cats, this may be all you need. For other cats, you may need to combine this with other hairball control methods, such as brushing or bathing, or even taking measures to prevent your cat from being able to lick itself in the first place! And if the situation becomes too extreme (your cat experiences one or more of the following systems: loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, moodiness) you may even need to consider taking your cat to the vet.