By Dawn Forster
Is your cat a tad vain in that he or she is always primping and grooming, making sure they look their best no matter what the occasion or time of day? If so, the fact that your cat wants to look great is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean as a cat owner we certainly love having the most beautiful cat on the block and don't hesitate for a moment to take all the credit when everyone at the vet's office or pet store comments on our lovely kitty. The problem arises when as a result of all that personal grooming, our kitty begins to have problems with hairballs.
As the animal grooms itself, small amounts of hair are ingested which normally would be passed through the digestive system and out through the feces. However, sometimes with longer haired cats or those who tend to shed excessively, the amount of hair becomes too much to pass naturally and accumulates in the cat's stomach. A mass of hair that rubs against the stomach lining will lead to irritation and cause the cat to vomit.
The type of solution that you want is one, which will help to naturally lubricate and coat the stomach, aiding in the animals ability to pass the excess hair rather than allowing it to build up. There are a few easy tricks that you can try to prevent the problem from occurring.
Place a dot of non-petroleum jelly on the nose of your cat so that the animal can lick it off
Approximately one time per week, add a teaspoon of fish oil to your cat's food
Add some canned pumpkin or bran to each of your cat's meals (about a spoonful)
Any of these options should really help to solve the problem and will allow your cat to continue looking beautiful without the annoyance of hairballs.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 09/13/2007: Rebecca from Amburgey, Kentucky: "If you want to help a cat to cough up hair balls eaiser, let it lick butter. This has proved to work for me."Replies
07/20/2009: Wendy Mackey from Moorpark, Ca replies: "If I use butter or pumpkin...how often & how much (qty) once a week & tsp???? or more often"
10/14/2008: Elaine from Crested Butte, Colorado, USA: "I have a 12-yr.-old long-haired male cat who consistently exercises his appetite and eats many things, both normal and unusual, including Hungarian mushroom soup, any kind of cheese, and pretzels (but only seven sections!) - and throws hair balls the size of short, fat Cuban cigars. I've tried the commercial remedies and raw diet and even pumpkin. Surprise! He doesn't LIKE pumpkin, so that's been a non-viable option, and the commercial remedies and raw diet aren't making much of a dent.
Your website lists pumpkin as a remedy but doesn't specify whether it should be plain or enhanced. Do you think pumpkin PIE MIX could be an option? Or would it be too spicy??
(I've discussed this situation with the cat at length, but, despite my cautions, he continues to ingest hair. Also, he's a very MANLY cat with a great deal of pride. My long-haired girly-girl will come to me with hair in her mouth that she can't shake off, so I can remove it, but the "Major" cat apparently feels that it's his duty to make the hair disappear inside him.)
Nothing the vets have recommended has solved/cured the problem, and I believe that pumpkin could be the answer, but how can I make it palatable?"
04/23/2010: Julie from Truckee, Ca replies: "Use plain canned pumpkin. Pie filling has things in it that are not good for cats. I mix tuna with the pumpkin and my cats go crazy for it. "
11/13/2011: Paul from Chicago, Il replies: "Pumpkin yogurt, available @ Dominick's / Safeway Now ( Nov. 13 11 ) thru 12-31 every year. Can also be made from scratch ( soy, almond, coconut )
My cat loves it, other flavours too.
3 x a week 1 teaspoon"
01/19/2012: Jh from Yuma, Az replies: "I didn't want to buy a whole can of pumpkin to find that my kitties wouldn't eat it, so tried a little jar of winter squash organic baby food. Lewis likes it and has never had a hairball. Ivy does not like it, and does get hairballs, so there you go. However, I worry about the sugars and their teeth. Although no added sugar, the winter squash does have 5 (grams?) of sugar per serving.
Should I be concerned about the sugars and their dental health?"
[YEA] 11/07/2007: Sheila from Memramcook, New Brunswick: "After purchasing the commercial product to attempt to cure kitty of excessive fur in her digestive tract, and having her like it maybe twice, I decided to search for a natural way of helping her. Pumpkin to the rescue! My mother was a bit skeptical at first (its her kitty), but I am happy to report all is well in litter land. It works, and she doesn't even balk at it being added to her food, so why bother with the malt that isn't so attractive to them and quite a bit more expensive than pumpkin. Yeah for Earth Clinic and some wonderful NATURAL cures!!"
[YEA] 02/27/2007: Kim from Winnsboro, SC: "I've had cats all my life & have been dealing with their hairballs(yuck!) forever. Now I mix canned Pumpkin with a bit of canned Cat Food & feed both of my cats a spoonful every day, & no more hairballs! It works great & one of my cats has long fluffy fur! It also keeps them from getting worms."
[YEA] 02/08/2012: Ann from Carson, California Usa: "My cat seems to have been born with a massive coat of hair. And I could gently pull a little handful of hair off of her anytime - it fell out easily so she always lost an amazing amount of hair as if shedding for summer all the time. She grooms herself excessively too - so of course we've had lots of hairballs to clean up. I began giving her flaxseed that I got from Whole Foods and grind up myself in the blender. Not only has her coat become more shiny and beautiful - She sheds way less and has rarely ever thrown up any more hairballs.
There is a slippery agent in the flaxseed as well as oil (omega 3 and 6) that contribute to this remedy. I grind up about 1/3-1/2 cup at a time (I give it to 2 cats) - keep it refrigerated. (I keep the whole flaxseeds frozen). I give them about 1/4 tsp every other day - sprinkled on their food. And the best news----->Both Cats Like It :o)"
[YEA] 01/24/2012: Carmen from Ottawa, Ontario: "Using a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 5lbs every 10 minutes can help your pet bring up a hairball or any poison your pet has ingested."Replies
01/23/2013: Tan from Christchurch, New Zealand replies: "Hi What percentage h2o2 did you use? Thanks"
[YEA] 06/08/2009: Carol from Palm Springs, CA: "Our eight month old kitten started throwing up hairballs two months ago and we used the malt jam and dry hairball cat food. If we didn't find a hairball one day we would fine two the next day. We eat oatmeal most every morning so I started to give her one tablespoon every morning. You guess it. No more hairballs. I'm sure that the oatmeal has cured her hairball problem. Give me your feed back."
Prunes, Pumpkin, or Unsweetened Pineapple Juice
[YEA] 12/04/2008: Carla Jones from Homer, Mi: "I love this site. I have a few cats, chickens, dog and many rabbits so any home remedies are helpful when dealing with an ailment. Due to the large number of pets any money saved with home remedies is a plus.
I raise rabbits and worry about hairballs since rabbits can't throw up the hairballs like cats I read on the internet somewhere that prunes, pumpkin pie filling and also 100% pure unsweetened pineapple juice can help break up the hair and allow it to be digested.
I have used both prunes and pineapple juice with no problems. Every so often I either give my rabbit a prune, pineapple juice mixed in the water or even some pumpkin pie filling and have been fortunate enough not to have hairball problems."
[YEA] 01/20/2011: Kathe from Lyndhurst, New Jersey replies: "I stumbled onto this site -- which is now bookmarked for future reference! -- looking for a fix for constipation and will be picking up prunes and pumpkin on the way home tonight but wanted to comment on the furball remedy my kitty liked best. Bertoli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil! It was the only one she liked but it worked like a charm. I'd give her about a teaspoon every day in a separate bowl, she'd gobble it up and no more furballs! And I liked it for cooking!"
07/31/2011: Nala Jean from Alexandria, Va (usa) replies: "How does pumpkin help with hairballs? After reading this last night, I picked some up (certified organic canned pumpkin) and my cat actually lapped it up this morning (I honestly didn't think she would go for it; I tried a teaspoon of the EVOO in her food and she didn't go for that). I'm desperate at this point, so I'm trying anything before going to the vet. She has hairballs daily even though I brush her 1-2 times/day and give her the hairball prevention dry food. She (Nala) is almost 14 and she is a domestic medium hair. I was starting to think that maybe with her age her system just isn't going to digest the hair like it used to. I sure hope this pumpkin trick works, otherwise I'll be having to clean orange carpet stains which I'm really not looking forward too. So, how does pumpkin do it (hopefully)?
09/10/2011: Toots from Manassas, Va replies: "Hairballs have two routes out of the cat: barfed up, or pass on through their digestive system.
I think the pumpkin works because it provides roughage that helps the bowels move hairballs on through. The oils work because they provide a lubricant.
My old cat will be 20 soon and likes unscented salmon and anchovy oils (I get them from hare-today.com; pricey but lasts a long time); I also give her and the dog canned brisling (sardines) in EVOO, they split a little fishie on top of their food and LOVE it! Both are lubricants which help the blockages move on through.
I recently re-homed 2 lovely male ragdolls that are four-footed fur factories and VERY picky eaters who need help getting rid of their massive licked-off fur (yes, I do brush them but one has incredibly thick fur! ). I got one to eat a bit of the unscented oil over his dry food but not the other. I have lots of canned pumpkin on hand (do NOT use pumpkin pie filling! ) so will try that, thanks for the ideas!"
11/03/2011: Queenie1940 from Schaumburg, Illinois: "Yesterday, we took our 9-10 yr cat (Socrates) to the vet because he stopped eating and drinking.... Everything the vet did came back with good readings..... Now for the xray..... Which showed something strange- possibly a large hairball in the stomach or a tumor... My husband and I can't afford a barum test or surgery so we are trying to handle this the best way possible.. Which is baby food. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions to help us out through the rough patch?
thank you, queenie"Replies
11/15/2011: Shelly from Woodbury, Mn replies: "Have you tried pumpkin? Not pie filling though. I just started using it with my cats and it works great. No puke in 6 weeks."
11/20/2011: Jackie from San Ramon, Ca replies: "Most likely it is a hair ball and will need to be rehydrated. If the hair ball does not pass, you may want to take the cat to the Vet. It could be very serious."
03/13/2012: Jennifer from Jackson Heights, New York replies: "Many cats get hairballs. My cat had a bad one last year, He stopped eating and was sleeping all day. No pooping and drinking cups and cups of water. He was trying to cough up the hairball so badly that blood came out of his mouth. It was scary because he has asthma too. He was rushed to the animal hospital and had a huge hairball blockage. He almost died. Luckily he made it and now I put mineral oil in his food. But I mix it. Don't let them just lick it off because it can cause liquid pneumonia. I am thinking of trying olive oil from now on. Not only do hairballs get stuck in their stomach.... They get it stuck in the root of their mouth too and it can be very uncomfortable. Cats should not eat dry food. Only wet food."
04/16/2013: Melissa from Milwaukee, Wi replies: "Do NOT give your cat mineral oil! Yikes! I don't even buy make-up with that in it."
[YEA] 02/19/2013: Kathryn4 from Owings, Md.: "Got rid of hairball problem for my cat by rubbing a fingertipe amount of petrolum jelly on her leg every night. She licks it off and hairball problem and vomiting is gone. I went to a health food store and eveutally bought unpetroleum jelly as I thought it as better."Replies
02/25/2013: Jr from Coloma, Mi replies: "Thanks so much for that info. My cat throws up hairballs constantly. I give her the stuff from the vet, but it doesn't help. I'll try the un-petroleum jelly and see how that works. I sure would love to solve this problem."
03/03/2013: 4kathryn from Owings, Maryland replies: "You only really have to give this jelly every other night for it to be effective. Glad it has helped."