How to prevent hairballs in cats
Be diligent about grooming
Decrease the amount of hair the cat ingests by using a grooming tool like the FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool, which can reduce shedding by 90%. Proactive grooming removes the excess hair that causes hairballs and is a more holistic preventive measure than giving your cat a laxative or allowing him to cough up the blockage.
Kitties need fibre, too
Add a little canned pumpkin to the cat's meals once or twice a week. The fibre in the pumpkin can help move any hair clumps through the system, and your cat will love the tasty treat. Butter can have the same effect, but is high in calories.
Keep your cat hydrated
Encourage the cat to drink plenty of water by placing bowls throughout the house, as the water will help flush out the hair before it has time to clump in the stomach. It is also a great general practice to keep water bowls separate from food bowls to encourage the cat to drink more water.
Make over the cat's menu
Several specially-formulated cat foods aid in the fight against hairballs. Always consult with a vet before making any drastic changes to your cat's diet. Sudden food changes can sometimes upset the stomach.
Know the warning signs
If a hairball problem persists, ask a veterinarian to recommend a supplement to help prevent ingested hairs from clumping. Here are a few signals a cat may have an excessive hairball problem:
- Frequent dry hacking
- Cylindrical (cigar-shaped) masses on the floor or furniture
- Lethargy or lack of interest in playing or eating
- Swollen abdomen
- An overly-matted coat
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