Any cat owner is more than aware of their pet’s propensity for hairballs, and hairball control is a topmost priority for the benefit of the cat as well as their human companions. It’s never pleasant to slip out of bed for a late night snack only to step on a cool, hairball cluster right next to the bed, and anyone who has watched their cat retch up a hairball feels the utmost sympathy for their condition. Dealing with hairballs is both reactionary and proactive, and taking a positive and productive approach to your cat’s overall health is a priority for cat owners world-wide. It’s impossible to prevent a cat from cleaning and grooming themselves. With that in mind, what can cat owners do to control or prevent hairballs as much as possible?
1) One of the simplest and effective tricks to hairball control should be obvious. The more often you groom your cat, the less loose hair they are able to swallow when they clean up behind you and groom themselves. Brushing your cat regularly can remove a lot of the fur that could be ingested by your feline companion, and it makes the possibility of a hairball less likely. Contrary to popular opinion, cats do love to be brushed regularly, and as an added benefit it can be a fun bonding experience between you and your feline. Expect them to nuzzle the brush and purr like crazy, but use caution. You don’t want to use a brush with sharp-ended bristles or you could cause irritation on your cat’s sensitive skin, and you don’t want them to see regular grooming as a painful or stressful process.
2) A lot of hairballs can also be prevented by a change in your cat’s regular diet. A lot of cat foods have adopted a special, indoor formula specifically designed to limit or reduce the likelihood of hairballs. These dietary formulas are high in fiber which encourages a strong, healthy digestive system which allows swallowed hair to pass safely through without accumulating in the stomach. They also serve to strengthen your cat’s healthy coat which minimizes shedding on the surface and leaves less loose hair to be swallowed initially.
If store-bought brands don’t seem to be effective with your cat (especially if you have a long-haired breed that is naturally prone to hairballs in the first place) special, holistic blends are available. A lot of vets are recommending pet owners to adopt a more natural approach and guiding their patients away from cat foods that contain grains like wheat, barley, rice, corn or gluten. These blends are a lot milder on your cat’s digestive system, and they still provide all of the essential nutrients to make sure they have a well-balanced, healthy diet free from fillers that aren’t really effective overall.
3) If your cat is already susceptible to hairballs, there are a lot of products on the market specifically designed for hairball control. Most of these products act as a mild laxative for your cat, and it encourages digested balls of fur to be passed through their systems rather than being vomited back up. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and use only as instructed to reduce the chance of dehydration and diarrhea. You don’t want to act so proactively that you give your cat an additional digestive system issue rather than preventing one completely.
If your cat seems to experience frequent hairballs regardless of your efforts to prevent or limit them, it can be a symptom of a more serious problem like IBD or intestinal lymphoma (which is a cancer) so you are certainly advised to take your pet to the vet for a full checkup. You want to make sure that there is not something more serious in play before trying a mix of alternate solutions, and the last thing that you want to do is to take a gamble with your favorite feline’s overall health.
While hairballs are typically harmless, they’re still unpleasant for both the cat and their owners. It may not be possible to prevent all hairballs initially, but these remedies and ideas can work to improve the overall health of your pet, in addition to providing them all of the essentials needed for a well-balanced diet and a healthy life. Hairballs can be a symptom of something worse, so don’t avoid a trip to the vet if their hairballs appear more frequent than normal.
Velita Livingston is the founder of the Cat Lover’s Diary blog which provides rich content with great advice on cat care tips and cat training, teaching pet owners how to protect, pamper and live peacefully with their pets. Visit the http://www.catloversdiary.com to watch the Cat Lover’s Diary Movie, it contains breathtaking images and heartwarming quotes… It will uplift and inspire you! You can also visit the Cat Lover’s Diary on Facebook and Twitter.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com