Hairballs: What Causes Them and How to Prevent Them

Preventing HairballsThere's nothing that you can do to totally prevent your cat from suffering from hairballs, but you can take some measures to help prevent them having as many. 

Here are a few ideas on how to reduce your cat's hairballs:

1. Brush your cat regularly. By removing more of your cat's hair through brushing and grooming, you are reducing the amount of hair they would consume themselves through grooming.

Some cats like to be brushed by their owner and look forward to it. Others don't.

If your cat does not like to be groomed, be sure to train them to look forward to it by giving them treats before, after, and throughout the brushing process.

If this still doesn't work, consider taking them to a professional groomer.

Depending on your cat, your groomer should be able to tell you how frequently you need to make grooming appointments to make a significant difference in hairballs.

2. Use hairball formula cat food. Most major manufacturers produce a hairball control version of their food.

Foods that are high in fiber and protein (and lower in carbohydrates) help improve your cat's coat and minimize shedding.

These specially formulated foods also make it easier for food to pass through your cat's digestive track without as many problems.

3. Try hairball pastes and gels.

These lubricate any ingested hair so that the hair can pass easily through the cat's digestive tract. Proper elimination of the ingested hair means less hairballs.

4. Give your cat coconut oil. Some veterinarians suggest giving your cat coconut helps lubricate the cat's digestive tract. Start by giving your cat 1/4 of a teaspoon of coconut oil 3 times a week.

5. Feed your cat special treats formulated for hairball prevention. This method will be the easiest first step to hairball prevention because it's easy and cats love treats!

6. Try growing cat grass for your cat to chew on. Cats like chewing on grass for many reasons, but one reason is that it's high in fiber and it offers some digestive benefits.

However, cat grass alone won't do the job. Try pairing cat grass with hairball prevention cat food, cat treats, or supplements.

7. Hairball supplements with psyllium seed are excellent. Supplements with psyllium seed will help move any ingested hair down your cat's digestive track as opposed to regurgitating it.

8. Make sure your cat is well hydrated. Cats are very picky about their water. Keep multiple water bowls around your house to ensure that your cat has plenty of options.

Even though it's just water, make sure to clean the water bowls regularly. Bacteria and debris build up and make the water taste unpleasant for your cat.

Cats love running water. This is why you occasionally see videos of cats drinking water form the faucet. Consider purchasing a cat fountain with a filter so your cat can enjoy fresh, running water.

The best way to ensure your cat stays hydrated is to feed them wet food. In the past, cats were desert animals and their main source of water came from their prey.

Because of how cats developed, wet food is a more natural source of water for them.

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