When your cat grooms herself, she ingests the loose hair from her coat. This hair builds up in her tummy to form balls of hair that she'll then vomit up, usually on your favorite rug. To prevent these unpleasant surprises, give your cat some natural, homeopathic hairball remedies.
A kitty keeps herself clean by licking her fur, but in doing so, her sandpaper-textured tongue picks up not only dirt, but the hair she regularly sheds from her coat. In doing so, this hair will either pass through her system or wind up collecting in her tummy or small intestines. Hair that collects in the tummy must be expelled, usually through vomiting. This is why you'll sometimes find your kitty coughing and retching to rid herself of this uncomfortable ball of hair sitting in the pit of her stomach.
Preventing the Furball
The best natural way to cure hairballs is to prevent them in the first place. Brush your furry friend daily, removing any excess loose hair from her coat. Without loose hair on her coat, when she grooms, there won't be any matter to ingest. Plus, your kitty will appreciate the quality time spent with you and the help with her grooming. Perhaps not as pleasant for your kitty is the occasional bath, which can help remove the excess hair naturally from her coat while keeping her coat nice and clean.
Moving Things Along
Add fiber to your furry friend's diet to help move the excess hairballs that are stuck in her tummy through her system and into her feces. Canned pumpkin provides an excellent source of fiber and many kitties enjoy the taste of it. The pumpkin can be mixed into your little one's food or placed on a dish for her to eat. One teaspoon of canned pumpkin given daily can help provide some relief for your kitty if she's dealing with a furball she can't expel.
Fruits and Veggies
Give your kitty some little pieces of fruits or vegetables daily, like apples, sweet potatos or carrots if she'll eat them, recommends PetMD. They provide sources of healthy, all-natural fiber to move hairballs through your kitty's system. Consult with your vet about which types of fruit or vegetables are appropriate for kitties because some, like grapes, onions, raisins or fruits with seeds and pits can be harmful to your furry friend. In addition, providing some barley grass to your furbaby gives her some healthy fiber and helps her vomit up the hairball in her stomach.
Adding some natural vegetable or fish oil to your kitty's diet not only helps to move a hairball along in her system, but will also add some shine to her coat. If you notice your kitty trying to vomit up a hairball, mix a teaspoon of fish, flax or safflower oil into her canned kitty food daily. The oil makes the furry mass in your kitty's tummy slippery, allowing it to pass into her stool. Another way to help with hairballs is the use of the homeopathic herbal medication made from tree bark called slippery elm. Adding 1/8 teaspoon of slippery elm to your furry friend's food daily can also provide your kitty with some hairball relief by helping the furball slip through the system, recommends Cat Channel. Once the hairball passes, add half the amount of oil or slippery elm to your kitty's food weekly or every two weeks to help prevent them.
While most hairballs are harmless, if you notice your kitty retching repeatedly and if she stops eating for more than a day, it's time to visit the vet. Sometimes the fur can become lodged in your kitty's intestines and may need surgical removal. After an exam, your vet can give you some tips on hairball prevention for your kitty. You can also consult with a homeopathic vet for natural means of hairball control. Check your local health food store for commercially available homeopathic hairball remedies for your kitty as well.
- Earth Clinic: Hairball Remedies
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Hairballs
- VetInfo: Natural Cat Hairball Remedy Options
- PetPlace: Dealing with Hairballs
- Cat Channel: Quick Tips: Hairballs
- VetInfo: What Is the Best Coat Supplement for Cats?
- WebMD: Slideshow: Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat
- PetMD: Healthy Snack Ideas: 'People' Food for Dogs and Cats
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.