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Old May 3rd, 2008, 07:39 PM
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cat hairballs - advice please

hi y'all.

just wondering if there is an alternative to giving my long-haired beauty, punkin, tonic lax every day. a few weeks ago, she had miserable diarrhea, which we eventually discovered was caused by an impacted hairball that she finally managed to throw up at the vet's (she reacted so strongly to being pilled for the first time that she hacked it up as a result - her diarrhea improved almost immediately after that, so thankfully i didn't have to medicate her for loose stools).

anyway, i was told giving her the tonic lax the odd time wasn't enough (which is what i had been doing), i should give it daily, plus i also bought her some cat grass (she doesn't seem too interested in it, but i will give that some more time). i was just wondering if there is something i can mix in with her food on a daily basis that will ensure she eliminates hairballs. she gets merrick's canned at breakfast and supper, and purina EN dry at lunchtime - i would like to find something i can mix in with her canned.

i appreciate the advice!!

tracy (mom) jimmy (dad) cline patsy and punkin
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 07:49 PM
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I was recently educated by one of the members here that canned squash is a fiber source that cats will eat if mixed with their food. (For dogs, I usually recommend canned pumpkin but my feline patients won't eat it). The mechanism of action for commercial 'hair ball' formulas is just additional fiber. The fiber helps move the hair down instead of clumping up into a ball. The other option are the laxative medications like laxatone, Vedalax, and Tonic Lax. Some cats find some formulas more tasty than others and there are usually a couple of flavors available such as malt or tuna.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 07:54 PM
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Sorry, I almost forgot! The Furminator brush at www.furminator.com is also a great method to help reduce hairballs. The teeth of the brush cut and thin the hair coat. So while the hair coat looks the same, there is substantially less hair in the coat. Result? ...less hair to be ingested and later turned into a hairball. I also have had some clients have their cats shaved regularly although I suspect some cats may like this and some cats may take great offense to this decision. Many of my clients rave about the furminator.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 08:15 PM
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I used to put a small amount of butter on my cat's front feet a long time ago. He had to lick it off. The oil in the butter seemed to do the trick for him. Old wives tale? Maybe, but it worked for him. I don't know if it is vet approved or not either.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 09:52 PM
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thanks dr. lee and 14+kitties. i appreciate you taking the time to respond.

dr. lee, i was wondering - is the heinz organic butternut squash baby food okay instead of canned squash? please advise, as i want to get the right thing. i will definitely check out that furminator product, too - thanks for the tip.

also, what about the butter on the paw that 14+kitties suggested? she said in her post that she didn't know if that is vet approved or not, so what is the verdict?

i'll do anything that will help the situation with punkin. she is my first
indoor cat, so i'm not very experienced at managing hairballs.

thanks again
tracy
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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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As Rainbow had told me, "Growler (one of the cat gurus here) always recommends Heinz Organics or Earth Organics Butternut Squash." (I want to give Growler and Rainbow the credit for this wonderful info!)
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