Hairballs are a common issue for many cat owners. They can be uncomfortable for your cat, and can even lead to serious health problems if not treated properly.
As a cat owner myself, I know how frustrating it can be cleaning up cat vomit from your carpet every couple of days, and this is often our main motivation for solving our cat’s hairball problem! Fortunately, there are many effective home remedies that can help prevent and treat hairballs in cats.
Below, I’m going to cover 9 of the most proven home remedies for cat hairballs. Whether your cat is suffering from occasional hairballs or has a chronic problem, these remedies can help.
Top 9 Home Remedies for Cat Hairballs
1. More Fiber in Your Cat’s Diet
Fiber is vital for the well being of both animals and humans. It aids in proper digestion and also helps to shift hairballs through your cat’s digestive system.
Add a few tablespoons of high-fiber cereal to your cat’s diet, fiber products like a quarter teaspoon of Metamucil, or one to three tablespoons of Post grape-nuts flakes a couple of times a day.
How to Give Your Cat Metamucil
Combine one-half teaspoon of Metamucil with water, and add the mixture to your cat food twice daily. This approach will speed up the elimination of hairballs from their digestive system.
The psyllium seed husks in the laxative absorb water, creating a moist and smooth consistency in the stool, promoting easier passage of hairballs through the intestinal tract.
Alternatively, transition to a high fiber cat food to ease digestion.
2. Regular Grooming
Regular grooming is key to preventing hairballs.
Brush your cat frequently to remove loose hair and reduce the amount that they swallow. This is especially important for long-haired cats, who are more prone to hairballs. Consider investing in a high-quality brush that can reach deep into your cat’s fur to remove tangles and mats.
Brushing is very important especially if you are a parent to an elderly cat or if your cats have long fur. These grooming sessions can also be relaxing to both you and your cat.
The 5-Minute Water Grooming Trick
I find an extremely effective method is to make your hands damp with a few drops (or a spray) of water. Then use your hands to rough up your cat’s coat, followed by rubbing their coat in the normal direction from head to tail.
As your hands slowly dry they start to drag at your cats fur, much like when they lick themselves. As their fur builds up on your hands, just rub your hand together to remove the excess.
You will be amazed at how much loose fur you can remove this way, and your cat will grow to love this style of grooming session.
3. Encourage Your Cat to Drink More
Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water on their own, which can lead to dehydration. When cats are dehydrated, their digestive system slows down and their body can’t flush out hairballs effectively.
This leads to an increased risk of hairballs becoming lodged in their digestive tract. Maintaining hydration is essential for the overall health and well-being of your cat, and it’s an easy way to reduce the risk of hairballs.
Tips for Hydrating Your Cat
- Offer fresh water at all times: Make sure that your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. This could mean having several water bowls in different areas of your home or investing in a water fountain that encourages your cat to drink more.
- Add moisture to their food: Wet food or adding water to your cat’s dry food can help increase their hydration levels. This is especially important for cats that don’t drink enough water on their own.
- Try flavored water: If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, try adding a small amount of chicken or fish broth to their water. This can make it more enticing for them to drink.
4. Add A Little Oil to Their Diet
Presence of oil in your cat’s digestive system can help move hairballs through, preventing blockages which cause your cat to vomit the hairballs back up.
You can add a small amount of lubricant to your cat’s food, or administer it directly using a syringe. A teaspoon of olive oil, coconut oil, corn oil or saffron oil every week will do the trick.
If you do not have access to oil, a teaspoon of unsalted butter will work as a substitute. All you need to do is melt it and add it to your cat’s food once a week.
Be sure to only use small amounts, as overuse of lubricants can lead to digestive upset.
5. Use Cat Laxatives
Laxatives can be helpful for cats who suffer from chronic hairballs. There are many over-the-counter laxatives available for cats, and your veterinarian can recommend one that is appropriate for your cat’s needs.
A Few Cat Laxative Tips
- Gradually introduce the laxative: Gradually introducing the laxative to your cat’s diet over a period of a few days can help them get used to the new supplement and reduce the risk of stomach upset.
- Monitor your cat’s health: If your cat experiences any adverse reactions or digestive issues after starting a laxative, it’s important to discontinue use and seek veterinary advice.
- Consult with a vet: If your cat has a history of digestive problems or is taking any medications, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before starting a laxative. They can help determine the best course of action for your cat’s individual needs.
Remember, it is important to use laxatives only as directed as overuse can cause digestive problems, and overdosing on laxatives can be dangerous for your cat.
6. Change Your Cat’s Diet
A change in diet can have a significant impact on hairball formation. Consider switching to a high-quality, grain-free cat food, as grain-based foods can lead to digestive issues, including hairballs.
If your cat has a tendency of getting hairballs, you might want to switch to a hairball formula diet. This diet works like fiber-rich foods. It helps pass hairballs with stools, while reducing shedding and generally improving your cat’s skin and hair health.
Treat your cat with chicken of the sea sardines or tuna occasionally. These canned fishes contain natural oils that help dispel hairballs out of the cat’s system.
Give Your Cat More Wet Food
Wet food is a great option for cats who suffer from hairballs as it contains a higher moisture content than dry food, helping to keep your cat hydrated. This can help keep hair moving through your cat’s digestive system, reducing the risk of blockages.
7. Add Cooked Pumpkin to Your Cat’s Diet
The natural fiber found in pumpkin helps to pass the hairballs out of your cat’s system comfortably. Add one or two tablespoons of canned pumpkin to the cat’s food every day or a couple of days a week.
A Few Cat Diet Pumpkin Tips
- Use Canned Pumpkin, Not Pie Filling: Make sure to use 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling contains added spices and sugar that can be harmful to your cat.
- Start Small: Introduce pumpkin gradually to your cat’s diet, starting with just a teaspoon or two. This will help prevent digestive upset and allow you to see how your cat reacts to the new ingredient.
- Mix It In: To ensure that your cat is getting enough fiber from the pumpkin, mix it in well with their food.
- Monitor Your Cat’s Digestion: As with any new food, keep an eye on your cat’s digestion after adding pumpkin to their diet. If you notice any signs of digestive upset, such as diarrhea or vomiting, discontinue use and consult with your vet.
Adding pumpkin into your cat’s diet is an easy and effective way to help prevent hairballs and promote overall digestive health.
8. Massage Your Cat’s Belly
Massaging your cat’s belly can help move hairballs through their digestive system and reduce the risk of blockages.
Use the pads of your fingers to gently massage your cat’s belly in a circular motion, working from their ribcage down to their hind legs. Be gentle, and stop if your cat becomes uncomfortable.
9. Increase Your Cat’s Daily Exercise
Increasing your cat’s physical activity can help reduce the amount of loose fur they ingest during self-grooming. Playing with your cat and providing interactive toys can keep them active, as well as provide mental stimulation. Consider investing in a scratching post or a cat tree to encourage physical activity.
Increase Your Cat’s Playtime – Quick Tips
- Invest in interactive toys: There is a wide range of interactive toys available specifically designed for cats, including scratching posts, cat trees, and feather wands. These toys can provide both physical and mental stimulation for your cat, helping to keep them active and reduce the risk of hairballs.
- Encourage exercise: Try to encourage your cat to chase and play with toys. This can include using toys on strings, lasers, or other interactive toys that they can chase and play with. Get yourself a cheap laser pointer and spend a few minutes each day laughing as your kitty chases the laser dot around the room!
- Provide plenty of scratching options: Scratching is an essential part of a cat’s routine, and it can also help keep them physically active. By providing your cat with plenty of scratching options, such as scratching posts and cat trees, you can encourage them to stay active and reduce the risk of hairballs.
Your Cat’s Hairball Problems Solved
With all the tips above you’re sure to reduce the amount of times your innocent-looking kitty vomits up hairballs, and help make them healthier too.
Usually a combination of small changes using these tips will work best, and you can choose the ones that work best to suit your cat’s individual personality and your needs too!
To finish up, here’s the quick list again:
- More Fiber in Your Cat’s Diet.
- Regular Grooming.
- Encourage Your Cat to Drink More.
- Add A Little Oil to Their Diet.
- Use Cat Laxatives.
- Change Your Cat’s Diet.
- Add Cooked Pumpkin to Your Cat’s Diet.
- Massage Your Cat’s Belly.
- Increase Your Cat’s Daily Exercise.