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hairballs in cat

lqvicki
May 22nd, 2008, 08:50 PM
my cat is throwing up hairballs, and nothings seems to help prevent it. he's eating the 'hairball prevention' dry food, but it doesn't work, and i try to brush him constantly, but he still makes hairballs. has anyone else had this problem, and what else can be done to prevent it??:confused:

LavenderRott
May 22nd, 2008, 09:13 PM
I'll bet that your hairball prevention food has just enough hairball prevention stuff in it so that they can put it on the label.

There is a tube of stuff you can buy at the pet store - I forget what it is called. You put a little bit of it on your cat's paw so that he/she will lick it off and it helps the hair go through the system without coming back up in a stinky mess on the carpet.

Dr Lee
May 22nd, 2008, 09:22 PM
Hairball formula works but adding fiber to the food. For serious hairball makers, this food alone often is not enough.

As some people on the forum have taught me that heinz organic squash is a palatable form of fiber for cats. Any form of fiber can help out.

I like hairball medication which you can purchase over the counter very inexpensively. The medication is a laxative and safe for long term use. It is also flavored - for some reason the cats that don't need it seem to love it and the cats that need it seem to not like the taste! Go figure. For cats that do not like it, you can squirt it on their paws and then they eat it as they clean their paws. This method usually works well, although you can get a dirty look or two from your cat.

There is a brush called the furminator (www.furminator.com) which works really well. It thins the hair coat as you brush. So the hair coat looks the same but the hair coat has much less hair.

Many people will employ all three methods to help control hair balls.

In some cases, where the fiber and hairball medication do not work, I have had clients have their pets shaved down. Then there is not much hair to turn into hairballs.

Good luck. :pawprint:

bendyfoot
May 23rd, 2008, 10:03 AM
Our longhaired cat used to have hairballs and just generally vomit a fair bit (probably a few times a week), despite using hairball treatment or hairball food...until we switched all the cats to a really high quality food: Orijen. I can't remember the last time Boo vomited or had a hairball, it's honestly been months. We saw a difference within weeks of switching her food.

RUSTYcat
May 23rd, 2008, 01:26 PM
...I like hairball medication which you can purchase over the counter very inexpensively. The medication is a laxative and safe for long term use... It is also flavored - for some reason the cats that don't need it seem to love it...

Actually, these hairball remedies would not appear to be appropriate for long-term use...

"Lubricant Laxatives (http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/190308.htm):
These act by coating the surface of the feces with a water-immiscible film and by increasing the water content of the feces to provide a lubricant action. Lubricant laxatives usually contain mineral oil or white petroleum. Chronic use may reduce intestinal absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and cause a granulomatous enteritis".

I have found that Slippery Elm Bark (http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=slipperyelm) powder works well with two of my long hair cats who were chronic hairball-chuckers. It naturally lubricates and allows everything to slide right through! It's available at health food stores and online. (Also in capsules, although those seem to also include preservatives, which I avoid.) I mix about 1/4 teaspoonful in an ounce of "stinky" wet food for a once-a-day/every 2nd day dose.

There is a brush called the furminator (www.furminator.com) which works really well.

Many people report great results from this tool. From my own experience, purchasing the Furminator was a huge disappointment. And...it wasn't cheap.

All of its advertising speaks to removing the undercoat...this seems to be the opposite of what a simple observation of its use would indicate. The Furminator glides along the surface of the coat (fur) and, unlike a normal brush, does not appear to disturb the undercoat whatsoever.

On the advice of a professional groomer, I bought a simple metal comb (actually, a small tool intended for small dogs and found at a pet supply store). It works better, by far, than any other brush I have used on my long and medium hair cats. I also use a small slicker brush on the medium and short hair cats.

I also found that my cats disliked the Furminator...but, they come running for a combing!:thumbs up

Dr Lee
May 23rd, 2008, 02:45 PM
Actually, these hairball remedies would not appear to be appropriate for long-term use... Lubricant laxatives usually contain mineral oil or white petroleum. Chronic use may reduce intestinal absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and cause a granulomatous enteritis".

The granulomatous reactions occur, according to Plumb's Drug Handbook, when, "significant quantities of mineral oil are absorbed from the gut." I have found that too much of anything is not a good idea. "Everything in Moderation" in the medical world often means following the labeled use and communication with your doctor if there are any problems. Lubricant laxatives are safe medications. Furthermore there are also many ways to solve a problem and the solution can be individual to the patient. :pawprint:

want4rain
May 23rd, 2008, 04:21 PM
while ive heard great things about the furminator (inlaws use it ontheir golden) i am personally too thrifty to spend that much money!! we use a flea comb to pull the hair out from under.

we had two really bad hairball cats. at 3yo they were ralfing them up daily. we switched to raw feeding and have not had a single hair ball barfing since. we also dont have the 'recreational' barfing anymore either.

i would *STRONGLY* suggest switching to a high quality wet food(not just for hairballs but for your cats overall health), adding the aforementioned squash and using either the furminator or the combs before medicating.

-ashley

sugarcatmom
May 23rd, 2008, 05:46 PM
i would *STRONGLY* suggest switching to a high quality wet food(not just for hairballs but for your cats overall health),

I second that! A good species-appropriate (ie meat-based) diet can go a long way towards improving a cat's coat and minimizing shedding (which will in turn minimize hairballs), and frankly, there is no hairball-prevention kibble that is appropriate for cats. They just have way too many carbohydrates, combined with the fact that they're dry (cat's need moisture *with* their food). http://www.catinfo.org/

Along with changing to a wet food diet, there are 2 good commercial hairball remedies that don't contain any petroleum products. One is Vetbasis Hairball Gel (http://www.vetbasis.com/), which uses the lubrication method of helping hairballs slide on out (but using vegetable-type oils instead of mineral oil), and then there is Vet's Best Cat Lube (http://store.vetsbest.com/shopcats.html), a chewable tablet containing soluble fiber (such as Slippery Elm Bark and Papya) to balance water in the gut, which makes it easier to poop out said hairball.

Love4himies
May 26th, 2008, 09:38 AM
Since switching my himalayan to a high quality diet, Wellness grain free and Fromm's four star, grain free, her furballs have become almost nonexistant. She rarely vomits now and she doesn't shed nearly as much as she did on her grocery store food.