If you want to know how to prevent cat hairballs, there a myriad of methods of course you may avail yourself of. It takes a great deal of trial and error, as well as a lot of patience (on both your part as well as on your cat’s). There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. What works for one cat may not work for another cat. What works for one pet owner may not be practical, feasible, or even a realistic option for another pet owner. Or you may find that combining one or more methods may be the sweet spot that cures your feline friend’s hairball regurgitation woes.
They say that prevention is the best cure, and that is specially true when it comes to figuring out the best way how to prevent cat hairballs. There is no “cure” for hairballs getting stuck in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract. It is not a medical “condition” per se. It is something that just happens as a natural outcome of nature taking its course: Cats are hardwired instinctively to groom themselves. In the process of grooming themselves, any loose fur on their skin will shed and get stuck to the cat’s tongue, and will subsequently be swallowed. If enough cat hair accumulates internally within the cat’s digestive tract, it accumulates into a huge ball or coil of fur, which then becomes impossible to digest. As a result, it is expelled from your cat’s stomach through vomiting.
So having said that, here are 5 simple rules you can follow, to help prevent cat hairballs.
How To Prevent Cat Hairballs Through Proper Diet
It may almost sound cliche, but it is true: A proper, balanced diet can help minimize your cat’s tendency to shed hairballs and subsequently to regurgitate what it has ingested. If you feed your cat a diet rich in fiber, then it will facilitate with pushing the hairballs through its gastrointestinal tract. This is the desired outcome (pun intended), isn’t it? You want your cat’s hairballs to come out through fecal excretions as opposed to through vomit.
Not only is it important to feed your cat a diet rich in fiber and healthy nutrients that aid in digestion, but also foods that are rich with the vitamins and nutrients to promote healthy fur growth. While shedding is a natural biological process for all mammal (including humans: we shed our hair and our skin as well, albeit it is barely noticeable as compared to that of other animals), a proper diet can help to slow down and minimize the quantity and frequency of shedding.
How To Prevent Cat Hairballs Through Brushing
If your have tried giving your cat a proper diet, to no avail, then fret not. There other alternative methods to helping to prevent hairballs. Have you tried brushing?
Brushing your cat regular intervals, with the appropriate type of brush, can work wonders in your efforts to prevent or minimize hairball shedding and the consequent vomiting due to the accumulation thereof.
You may wonder what is the point of brushing your cat, if your cat is going to shed anyway. And that is very true. But brushing your cat will essentially be a proactive way of dealing with your cat’s hairball problem: By brushing any loose, excess fur on your cat’s body, that is less fur that will come off and stick to your cat’s tongue the next time it intends to groom itself through licking.
Brushing of course can be a time-consuming activity, that must be performed on a regular and frequent basis, in order for you to observe any long-term benefits. (How often you should brush your cat, and for how long varies, depending on how much your cat can tolerate, how much free time you can spare, and how much patience your cat can demonstrate.) However, in a one-time session of thorough brushing, can help manifest short-term improvements in terms of reducing your cat’s proclivity toward vomiting hairballs.
How To Prevent Cat Hairballs Through Regular Bathing
The corollary to brushing is bathing. If you just got home from a haircut, what do you find all over yourself? That’s right! You’ve got tons of loose hair all over your head, your neck and shoulders, and even on your clothes. So what do you have to do it on order to get rid of all of that? That’s right again! You have to take a shower / bath. Water is the best agent for cleaning yourself and washing away all of that loose hair.
In a similar vein, cats also have lots of excess / loose fur on their bodies at any time. And that is especially try after you have brushed them. Therefore, it is imperative that you give your cat a bath every once in a while, at regular intervals. By doing so, it will help to get rid of all of that excess fur, which might otherwise be lapped up the next time your cat decides to groom itself.
Not only that, but you will have a much cleaner, happier, and healthier cat!
How often you bathe your cat depends on your and your cat’s schedule and inclination. For some cats, once a month might be sufficient. For others, once a week might be necessary. It also depends on whether your cat is an indoor cat versus and outdoor cat. Since an outdoor at is exposed to a lot more of the elements, it might make sense and be more prudent to bathe it more frequently, then a domesticated cat that never goes outside.
How To Prevent Cat Hairballs With The Use Of Medication
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, brushing, bathing, and proper diet may not be enough to rid your cat of hairballs. If that is the case, then that might be an indication of a veritable problem. It may very well be that your cat has a severe case of hairballs lodged in its digestive tract. You can tell if this is the case, if your cat is constantly vomiting up hairballs. It could also be the case, if it is experiencing a loss of appetite and an aversion to food.
If that is the case, then you may wish to try some sort of over-the-counter medicated supplements for your cat. At your local pet store, you should be able to find food labeled “hairball control” or “hairball treatment”. For example, there are numerous cat treats or vitamins that are designed to act as agents that help cleanse the digestive tract and thus facilitate in the proper removal of hairballs.
How To Prevent Cat Hairballs By Visiting The Vet
When all else fails, and you have exhausted each of the aforementioned solutions, and your cat’s hairball problem just does not seem to be letting up, then it may simply be time to take your cat to see a veterinarian. A vet can work with you on a plan to help cure your cat once and for all. This could involve medicated treatment. It could involve putting your cat on a specifically monitored and controlled diet, which may require one or more follow-ups. And only in the most extreme of circumstances, it could involve medical intervention.
Hairball Prevention As A Lifestyle Change
Hairballs are not a “medical condition” that “happens” to your cat. Your cat will never stop shedding its fur. Your cat will never stop grooming itself. If you were to let nature take its course, then vomiting up hairballs is just what cats do. That’s what they do in the wild.
But as concerned pet owners, we can do whatever we can to help our cats live healthier, more comfortable lives. And we can do whatever is necessary to mitigate the nuisance of having to clean up after them.
The bottom line is that hairball prevention involves a series of lifestyle changes for both you and for your cat. There is no one right or wrong way how to prevent cat hairballs. But we can certainly do everything in our power to make our lives and our cats’ lives happier.