Hairballs are the bane of a cats existence. Chances are at some point in your life, you’ve seen one of these furry wet balls (or even unfortunately stepped on one!). We’d much rather be cuddling our cats rather than worrying about stepping on a slimy trap, so if you’re wondering what is the best hairball remedy for cats or what to give cats for hairballs, then we’ve got the remedies for you!
What Causes Hairballs In Cats?
Whilst hairballs are rather unpleasant, they come about because our beautifully clean cats are incredible groomers. Their daily routine will very much consist of self-grooming and they use their tongues and paws to do so. If you’re lucky enough to have been licked by a cat, then we’re sure you’ve had the chance to enjoy the wonderful sandy texture of their tongues. This sandy texture is due to your cat’s tongue containing tiny barbs that latch onto dirt and fur when they clean themselves. This fur that latches on is then generally swallowed by your cat.
Usually, the fur that is swallowed by your cat harmlessly passes through their digestive system and leaves no trace. Unfortunately, there are occasions where this fur will lie in the stomach and not pass through. As this fur develops, your cat will vomit out the hairball in a tubular shape and it’s shaped this way because it has to pass through an extremely narrow oesophagus!
Symptoms of Hairballs in Cats
Generally, hairballs aren’t anything to worry about! It’s completely natural for a cat to have hairballs as eventually, fur is going to end up sticking in their stomach! Long-haired cats are more prone to hairballs than those with short fur, as the additional length of the fur offers additional chances for the hair to latch onto the stomach.
Whilst having to watch a cat hack and gag away trying to remove a hairball isn’t exactly a pleasant process, there are a few other more severe symptoms you should keep an eye out for. These include:
- Vomiting/Wretching/Gagging without producing a furball
- Missing appetite
- Lethargic or Tired
What is the Best Hairball Remedy for Cats: 4 Simple Solutions!
1. Grooming your Cat!
Not all cats enjoy grooming though, so it can be necessary to build their tolerance up one step at a time. This can be done by starting slowly and brushing them once or twice so they can gain a feeling of trust, and over time, they may come to love the feeling a brush gives. It also greatly improves the bond between the owner and the cat. You can go one step further by giving your cat a treat every time you brush them. As time progresses, they’ll become used to it and you won’t need to provide as many treats.
2. Improve your Cat’s Diet with Hairball Specific Foods!
Foods designed to reduce cat’s hairballs are incredibly useful and work by providing more generous amounts of fibre over regular food! It’s not only humans that need fibre, you know! The high fibre content of the food has multiple uses. Hairball control cat food is designed to enhance the condition and health of their coat which in turn, minimises the amount of shedding.
We actually reviewed a whole list of foods for shedding to help specifically as a natural hairball remedy. This is one of our favourite home remedies for hairballs as you can feed your cats and treat their hairballs at the same time! Score! Our number one pick in the article was James Wellbeloved Hairball Control which is pictured on the right. This is one of the best cat food for hairballs and we’d recommend it every time.
3. Lube the hairballs!
Sounds ridiculous, but adding some lubricant or laxative into your Cat’s dinner can naturally improve the flow of hair through their digestive system. This relates to earlier when we explained that hair can effectively latch onto the stomach of your cat, requiring them to vomit in order to remove the hair. The laxative will allow for the opposite, unlatching the hair and allowing it to pass through the other end.
There are both medical and natural remedies that can be used for this. Fish and Flax oil are both great examples of this, effectively lubing the hair as it passes through their system which in turn allows the hair to pass. However, not all cats like the taste of oils, so actual medicines for this can come in a variety of flavours that may be more enticing to your cat.
Coconut oil is also a good natural remedy! It’s generally considered a superfood for humans and it certainly reproduces some of those effects on your cats too! A noticeable effect of coconut oil will be that it helps to keep your cat’s coat shiny and healthy whilst preventing dry, irritated skin. This immediately reduces shedding!
If you add a small amount of coconut oil to their foods as well, this will add moisture to their stomach allowing hair to pass more easily. Not only this, but it also reduces inflammation, doubling up on its effectiveness as a hairball remedy. We recommend Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as pictured on the right.
Please be cautious feeding too much coconut oil to your cat however Adding to much coconut oil to their diet may end up increasing weight gain due to the higher fat contents of their meal. Always seek out some advice from your a professional veterinarian when trying out new remedies for your cat! We think adding some lubrication to your cat’s food is the best hairball remedy for cats by naturally improving their digestive system to handle the fur.
4. Improve your Cat’s Water Intake!
Sounds silly, but actually it’s really important! A lack of moisture in the cats digestive system will mean the cat needs to work much harder in order to pass hair.
Cat’s generally get enough moisture when they eat wet cat food. However, if your Cat’s diet consists solely of dry cat food or some combination thereof, they may not be receiving enough water to maintain high moisture levels internally.
If you often find your cat doesn’t want to drink water in a bowl that isn’t fresh, we highly suggest looking into purchasing a water fountain for your cat. This allows oxygen to be continuously pumped into the water, keeping it fresh for your cat to enjoy. So, not only does it benefit your cat, but they look great too!
What to Give Cats for Hairballs: The Conclusion
By now, you should know what to give cats for hairballs and how to prevent them. Whilst they are mostly harmless, it’s still not nice to watch and it’s not a pleasant experience for your cat either. Keep an eye out for any of the more severe symptoms we mentioned above and ensure you contact a vet if you think there is a serious issue with your Cat’s hairballs. Otherwise, a combination of the few remedies above should put your Cat back on track to being perfectly healthy again.
We don’t like ads at PortaKitty, so we don’t show them. Instead, we are a participant in the Amazon affiliate program. As an Amazon Associate, we may earn from qualifying purchases. This helps us to keep the site running. Thank you for reading!