Though almost all cats experience hairballs at a time in their life, long-haired cats are more prone to hairballs as they shed their coat year-round, as such, they tend to swallow too much hair.
In this article, we will examine the meaning of hairball in cats, causes of hairball, symptoms, treatment of hairballs, both clinical and home remedies. We will conclude by reviewing the best foods to feed your cat with when it’s suffering from hairballs.
What are hairballs in cats?
A hairball is a collection of dead hair, food remnants, and digestive juices that are formed in the stomach of cats. By grooming themselves, cats use to swallow little hairs, which at the end will coagulate to form a ball.
We all know that cats are very good at keeping themselves cleans; they lick their fur to shed excess hair and clean away dirt. Naturally, their tongue has tiny barbs that grab the hair as they lick their fur; these barbs are facing backward as such, they easily snag any loose hair on the body of cats. However, during this process, cats tend to swallow the hair they shed. The little hair they swallow will accumulate with time, combine with food remnants and digestive juices, and turned into a hairball.
All adult cats get hairballs from time to time, and it doesn’t usually form actions except in a few cases. But you might have been wondering what causes hairballs, how will you know if your cat has developed them and how to treat them. Well, worry no more as this article got you covered.
Causes of hairballs
The main cause of hairball is self-grooming. As earlier stated, cats are cleaning themselves as such; they don’t even need bathing. However, during that process of cleaning themselves, they tend to swallow loose and dead hair. As time goes on, this hair will keep increasing, and it will be coagulating with remnants of foods eaten by the cat and some digestive enzymes till it forms a ball-like structure which is known as a hairball.
Symptoms of hairball
It’s really disturbing to watch your feline friend struggling to eliminate a hairball from its stomach. Mostly before vomiting, hair falls, cats gag, hack and retch. Some keep stretching themselves and turning their heads, after that the cat will vomit out the hairball. This is a normal condition that doesn’t call for alarm.
However, in situations where you notice your cat is suffering to eliminate hairballs for a long time and it can’t, this indicates that the hairball has grown big and has likely caused a blockage that can threaten the life of your pet. In such cases, quickly contact your veterinarian for a proper check-up. The symptoms include;
- Vomiting: If you notice that your feline friend is vomiting or trying to vomit in vain, it might be that a hairball has caused a blockage in its intestine, and it’s trying hard to bring it out.
- Hard stool: If you notice that your cat doesn’t have normal bowel movements, or it’s excreting dry hard stools and straining itself, then it’s probably a hairball that caused a blockage in its intestine
- Lethargy: If you notice that your cat is experiencing fever, low energy, drowsiness, and lack of sensitivity to the environment, then your cat is probably suffering from a hairball that refuses to be eliminated
- Diarrhea: Though diarrhea might be caused by other health complications, it is one of the early symptoms of hairballs in cats.
Other symptoms of hairballs in cats include straining, lying down in a hunched posture, loss of appetite, and sleepiness. If you notice any of these symptoms, quickly take your little friend to a veterinarian.
Should I be worried about cats’ hairballs?
A question I’m sure is popping your head right now is whether cat hairballs are normal cat hairballs don’t call for much alarm. Just take the sight of your little friend retching and gagging; trying to get rid of a hairball can be disturbing, you will begin to wonder if anything is going to happen to your cat. This is a result of self-grooming, which every cat does to keep itself clean.
The hairs swallowed during self-grooming are usually digested, the few stubborn ones keep accumulating till they form a ball, to avoid blockage, and your cat will be struggling to get rid of that hair. It’s in that process that you will see it stretching itself, gagging, and vomiting sometimes. After a few minutes, the cat will relatively vomit a hairball and walk away. It’s quite disturbing seeing your cat gagging, but it’s a normal thing; a part of their nature.
Do cats have hairballs every day?
No, most pet owners think their costs eliminate a hairball every day the way it eats and grooms every day. This is quite wrong, cats usually have hairballs once in a Blue Moon. Most of the hair they swallow use to get digested and is passed out simply in feces. It’s only a few of that hair that will be sticking together till it forms a ball. Usually, cats don’t use to have more than two hairballs in a month, though this has a lot to do with the kind of hair a cat has.
However, if your feline friend experiences hairball frequently, it’s good you take it to a professional as it might be a symptom of over-grooming. Overgrooming mostly occurs when a cat is stressed, it will keep licking its fur all day round. This will lead to the accumulation of too much hair. Another reason for frequent hairballs is gastrointestinal tract problems. These two things can lead to serious health problems if not tackled on time. So it’s best to rush your cat to a vet if you notice that it’s having frequent hairballs.
What Type of Cat Produce More Hairballs
The amount of hairballs produced by a cat depends on how old it is and how hairy it is.
Young cats and kittens hardly produce any hairballs as they aren’t fast in grooming, so the little hair that enters their stomach during grooming will easily be digested and passed out in feces. Elderly cats, however, produce hairballs frequently as they have grown a puffier coat and they tend to lose more hair through grooming. So don’t fret if your cat’s hairballs are increasing as it’s getting older.
Long-haired cats like the Persian and Maine Coons breed also produce more hairballs as their long fur easily accumulates and forms a ball. Fluffy cats are also known to shed more hair during grooming than the less fluffy ones as such, they produce more hairballs.
What to do when your cat is struggling to eliminate a hairball
As I’ve earlier said, hairballs are normal, and they happen at one time or the other in cats’ life so it doesn’t call for much worry. But we all know that it’s disturbing to watch your little friend gagging and stretching trying to eject a hairball out of its stomach, so if you see your cat in such a situation, what should you do?
Well, the best thing is to give them space, just allow it to gag and stretch the way it likes so as it will be able to vomit the ball. Don’t try to stop it, shout or hold it. Just keep an eye to see if it will stop gagging immediately if it ejects the hairball or not.
Can hairballs become Dangerous?
Yes, a hairball can become dangerous. Though naturally, they are 100% harmless. But if you see your feline friend spending the whole day gagging, stretching itself, and giving out painful cries, do fast and take it to a vet as it might be that the hairball has moved to its intestine and caused a blockage.
If such a case happens, you will notice that your cat has lost its appetite, it’s drowsy, and it is uncomfortable. Other symptoms highlighting that hairballs have become dangerous include; lethargy, prolonged gagging, and stretching, prolonged vomiting, a swollen stomach, diarrhea, hard stool, and fever at times.
How do hairballs get diagnosed?
Veterinarians have many ways of diagnosing hairballs in cats, mostly they do so by physical examination, at times an X-ray is required, and in extreme cases, surgery might be needed to remove the hairball if it’s too big.
It’s good to take your cat to the vet if you notice any changes in its habit, as some symptoms of hairball can be symptoms of other medical conditions, for example; lethargy and too much stretching are also signed of asthma so to avoid mistaking it as a hairball.
It’s normal to see a cat throwing up and reaching to remove hairballs once in a while; you only have to be worried if your cat keeps vomiting and gagging for more than 48 hours.
How to Treat Hairballs in Cats
As we all know, hairballs are natural conditions that happen to every cat, and we can’t escape them. What we can only do is take care to prevent too many hairballs.
Here are some ways you can follow to reduce the hairballs your cat produces. They include:
Be brushing your cat
Brushing your cat means helping it to groom and shed a lot of loose and dead hair in a short period. If you are regularly brushing your cat. It will have little or no hair to swallow when it grooms itself. And we all know that the fewer the hair swallowed, the lesser the hairball a cat can have. If your cat doesn’t like being brushed, you might want to take it to a professional groomer, if not it will be grooming itself , and too much hair will be accumulating in its stomach, leading to frequent hairballs.
To know more about brushing your cat, why you should, how to do it, how frequent and some best brushes to use, check out our previous articleBest Cat Brushes In 2021
Be cutting its hair short from time to time
Another good way of preventing excess hairballs in cats is by cutting short their fur. This, however, works better for long-haired and fluffy cats than short-haired cats. This also, you can meet a professional groomer to help you do it to avoid mistakes. Keeping the hair of your feline friend well-trimmed not only means it will look fine, but it also means it will not swallow much hair as such, it will not have many hairballs.
Be giving your catfish oil
Fish oil plays a great role in fighting hairballs in cats. Whether tuna oil, sardine oil, or pollock oil, fish oil generally helps cats by nourishing their skin to reduce shedding and pushing swallowed hair to the digestive tract for ejection.
Fish oil also contains Omega 3 fatty acids that help to keep well-nourished skin and a fine coat in cats with less shedding. Feel free to add some fish oil to your friend’s daily meal.
Feed your cat with foods that help in eliminating hairballs
Just as you need a well-balanced and nutritious diet, your cat too needs it. Giving your cat a well-balanced meal will help it a great in eliminating hairballs. Foods that are good in helping with hairballs are usually high in fiber, the high amount of fiber stops the hairballs from growing. These nutritious foods also help your feline friend in maintaining healthy skin, a fine and strong coat that doesn’t shed easily.
Wondering where you can get those foods? Worry not, we got you covered. Below we shall review some of the best cat foods for hairballs that you can ever find on Amazon. Leggo
The 5 Best Cat Foods For Hairballs Are Reviewed Below
Here we shall take a look at some of the best foods to feed your cat with when it’s having a hard time passing stool. As I know after seeing proper diet in the ways to treat hairballs in cats, you will start thinking about how to get good cat food for hard stool. Well, there are hundreds of brands producing and selling cat’s food for a hairball, choosing the right brand is the problem as you might be too overwhelming. To save you from making the wrong choice, we have decided to review the five best cat’s food for hard stool on Amazon.
Note: These Foods are reviewed in no order.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High protein grain-free Hairball and weight control cat food
Purina ONE Natural Dry Cat Food Hairball Formula
One of the best food to control hairballs in your cat is the Purins ONE natural dry cat food hairball formula. This hairball control formula is well balanced with natural fibers that help to control and minimize the formation of hairballs. With chicken as the chief ingredient, the Purina One Natural Dry cat food has an approximate amount of 38% of protein per cup served. It is 100% digestible and contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the correct proportion. The Purina One natural also has antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system of the cat. If you want your adult feline friend to meet its dietary requirement by 100 percent every day, then feed it with the Purina ONE natural Dry Cat food for Hairball control.
- A 16 lb. Bag of one Purina ONE Natural Dry Cat Food hairball control formula
- The chief ingredient is real chicken
- 38% of the formula is a protein
- The hairball control food contains natural fiber that’s good for the skin
- It is 100% digestible
- It has antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system of the cat.
- Brand: Purina ONE
- Manufacturer: Purina One
- Nature: Hairball Formula
- Size: 16 lb
- Included components: One (1) 16 lb. Bag – Purina ONE Natural Cat Food for Hairball Control, +PLUS Hairball Formula
- Package quantity per item: 1
- Weight of item: 15.62 pounds
- Dimension of product: 23.5 x 13 x 3 inches [L × W × H]
- Targeted audience: Adult cats
- Warranty Description: Within 60 days
- Ingredient: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Brewers Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Caramel Color, Wheat Flour, Fish Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Animal Liver Flavor, Soybean Hulls, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Phosphoric acid, Zinc Sulfate e.t.c
- It has a high protein content of about 38%
- It contains natural fibers that help keep the skin healthy
- It helps control hairballs
- It is to be eaten by adult costs only
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High protein grain-free Hairball and weight control cat food
The Blue Buffalo cat food is a high protein grain food containing a meaty flavor that cats love. The Blue Buffalo company are known to produce high quality and nutritious pet food that features real meat, fish and vegetable, this one too isn’t an exception as it is highly proteinous, grain-free.
It has a high amount of chicken which I bet your feline friend will love the flavor. Other natural ingredients present in this hairball control include deboned chicken, sweet potatoes that provide carbs, it also contains cranberries, blueberries, and carrots that serve as antioxidants.
A unique feature of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein grain-free hairball control and weight control food is 100% natural, no artificial preservatives, no soy, no wheat, no corn, no chicken by-products.
- Chicken is the number one ingredient that helps your kitty to maintain lean muscle mass
- This grain-free food contains a unique blend of natural fibers that help control hairballs
- It also has a balanced amount of calorie and fat that will help your feline friend to maintain a normal weight
- It is made with 100% natural ingredients without any artificial preservative and additives
- It doesn’t contain chicken by-product, wheat, soy, and other things that your kitty might not like
- Brand: Blue Buffalo
- Manufacturer: Blue Buffalo company
- Department: Cat Dry Food
- Model name: Blue Wilderness
- Nature: Dry Cat Food
- Recommended breed: All kinds of breeds
- Uses of product: control of hairball, control of weight, improves the health of the heart
- Color: weight control and Indoor hairball
- Target audience: House cats
- The age range of audience: Adult cats
- Size: 11 lb
- Weight of item: 11 pounds
- Dimension of item: 18.5 x 13 x 3 inches [L × W × H]
- Dimension of package: 17.64 x 12.7 x 3.25 inches [L × W × H]
- It is 100% natural, no artificial preservatives
- The chief ingredient is chicken which means there will be a supple amount of protein
- It is 100% grain-free
- It doesn’t contain meat and chicken by-products
- It doesn’t have a warranty
Purina Beyond Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
The Purina Beyond grain dry cat food is a 100% nutritional food for your kitty friend. The main ingredient of this food is real salmon which makes the food highly rich in protein. This dry cat food contains a minimum amount of fat and it’s devoid of antioxidants and artificial preservatives. Purina Beyond dry food is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. If you’re looking for the perfect food to provide a well-balanced meal for your cat, choose the Purina Beyond Grain dry cat food.
- A 5 lb bag contains Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat food, simply indoor egg, chicken, and salmon
- The chief ingredient is Salmon which makes the food highly proteinous
- It contains natural probiotics that help improve the digestive health of your kitten
- It contains natural fiber that helps alleviate hairballs
- It is devoid of artificial colors, preservatives, and by-products
- Brand: Purina Beyond
- Manufacturer: Nestle Purina PetCare Company
- Model name: BEYOND GRNFRINDR Cat Smn Egg
- Included components: Beyond Grain-Free Indoor Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe 5lb
- Uses of products: Hairball control
- Targeted audience: Cats
- Age of targeted audience: Adult cats
- Size: 5 lb
- Weight of item: 5.15 pounds
- Item dimension: 4 x 7.75 x 9.25 inches [L × W × H]
- Dimension of package: 11.6 x 8.2 x 3.8 inches [L × W × H]
- It is highly protenious
- It contains natural probiotics that help improve the digestive health of kittens
- It contains natural fibers that help in controlling hairball
- It comes with a warranty
Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food
Looking for the perfect food to keep your cat healthy and sound? Go for the Meow Mix Original choice dey cat food. This perfect mix ensures your cat is kept on the safe side. The food keeps your cat in proper shape and normal weight. The Meow original cat food contains a supple amount of protein and fatty acids that help your cat to develop good muscles and maintain a healthy coat.
Having a mixed flavor of chicken, salmon, and turkey, the Meow dry food serves as the right food that provides the 100% needed nutrition for adult cats and helps them overcome hairballs easily.
- A 22-pound bag of Meow Dry Cat food
- Provides the nutrients needed by adult cats
- Contains a supple amount of protein that helps your cat to develop strong muscles
- It Helps cats overcome hairballs
- Manufactured in the United States
- Brand: Meow Mix
- Manufacturer: DEHM9
- Model name: FBA_829274520348
- Included components: A 22-pound bag of Meow Dry Cat Food
- Uses of product: Meets the nutritional needs of your cats
- Targeted audience: House Cats
- Age of targeted audience: All ages
- Recommended breed: All kinds of breed
- Weight of item: 22 pounds
- Dimension of item: 24 x 16 x 4.25 inches [L × W × H]
- Dimension of package: 23.86 x 14.96 x 5.35 inches [L × W × H]
- It contains all the nutrients needed by your cat
- It has a high amount of protein that helps your cat grow strong muscles
- It can be eaten by cats of all ages
- It doesn’t come with a warranty
Purina Pro Plan Indoor care adult Dry and Wet cat food
If you are experiencing hairballs frequently, then try the Purina Pro Plan Indoor dry food for it. The formula is highly rich in protein and helps your cat maintain the desired weight while fighting complications like hard stool and hairballs.
- A 7 lb bag of Purina Pro Plan Focus dry cat food
- Salmon is the chief ingredient
- It contains natural fiber that helps fight hairballs
- It has natural prebiotic fiber that helps accelerates digestion
- Brand: Purina Pro Plan
- Manufacturer: Pro plan
- Target audience: House cats
- The age range of audience: Adults
- Size: 7 lb
- Dimension of package: 12.87 x 8.9 x 4.96 inches
- Dimension of item: 23 x 8.75 x 13 inches
- It helps improve digestive health
- It helps control hairballs
- It can be eaten by cats of all ages
Buying Guide Questions
Let’s take a look at some questions that are frequently asked by cat owners about hairballs in cats.
What Cat Food Help with Hairballs?
Cat foods that contain protein and probiotic fiber are always known to be good in treating hairballs. The above-reviewed cat foods are very good in helping cats to get rid of accumulated hairballs and help improve their digestive health.
What is the Best Cat Food for cats that throw up?
If your cat is throwing up, it’s advisable to switch to easily digestible foods. You can try giving it meat flavored foods or chicken that’s boiled without garlic and seasonings. However, if your cat is throwing up, it’s advisable to rush it to a doctor.
Can Cat Food Cause Hairballs?
No, cat food cannot cause hairballs. The main cause of hairballs is self-grooming. As cats groom themselves by licking their fur, they swallow the hair. Most of the hair will be digested and passed out, the little hair that isn’t digested will be accumulated will combine with food remnants and digestive juices then form a hairball.
What is the natural remedy of hairballs for cats?
The best natural remedy for hairballs in cats is brushing and a good diet. As I’ve earlier said, we can’t escape hairballs in cats. We can only manage them. By brushing your cat frequently and giving it a healthy diet, you will help reduce the number of hairballs formed. Proper hydration all helps in alleviating hairballs
Can I give my cat olive oil for hairball?
Yes, Olive oil is known to affect curing hairballs and hard stool. It’s adviser you puta teaspoon full into your cat’s meal for three days.
How much olive oil should I give my cat for hairballs?
Your cat doesn’t need much olive oil, a teaspoon full mixed with its daily meal for three to four days is enough to cure hairballs.
Does Coconut oil help cats with hairballs
Yes, Just like Olive oil, Coconut oil helps in curing hairballs in cats. Mix a teaspoon of the oil with your cat’s meal.
Hairballs are a normal condition that every cat uses to experience, so it doesn’t call for worry. However, if you notice your cat used to have hairballs frequently, you might want to trim its hair, brush it frequently, and feed it with a nutritious diet that helps in controlling hairballs.
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