Cat Hairball Control: How You Can Help
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Hairball Control
Digestion in cats is often complicated by the ingestion of large amounts of hair during grooming. To keep your cat healthy, here are the trouble signs to watch for, plus the options you can use to control hairballs and minimize the problems they can cause.

WHY CATS HAVE BAD HAIR DAYS

Your cat grooms herself frequently, licking her fur right down to the tip of her tail. While this fastidious cleaning improves her appearance, it creates yet another problem... disposal of the wet, ingested hair, commonly referred to as a hairball.

Your cat's hair does not pass easily through her gastrointestinal tract, nor can her stomach and pancreatic enzymes digest it. Normally, most of the hair she swallows is expelled in her stool. Problems occur, however, when her hair doesn't get excreted, and instead forms into a dense hairball, or mat, in her stomach. Cats often expel hairballs by vomiting them up.

PREVENTIVE AND MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

We do not suggest you use homemade products containing butter or oils, because they can bring about other digestive problems, or be absorbed by the cat's system before they have a chance to work. There are a number of more effective ways to help your cat deal with hairballs. Used routinely, they can help keep hairballs from forming:

GROOMING - Regular brushing is the fastest and easiest way to remove loose hair. Brushing also helps keep hair off your furniture. There are many specialized cat grooming tools:

The Dual Sided Brush teases out snarls and tangles with the pin brush side, and uses the bristle side to bring out the shine of your cat's coat.

The Love Glove is a one-size-fits-all cat grooming glove that gently lifts dirt, dust, and dead hair from your pet's coat while offering special bonding time for you and your pet.

FIBER - Other hairball remedies are available to add bulk and moisture to your cat's stool, making it easier to pass:

Drs. Foster & Smith Adult Cat Food Advanced Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice contains natural vegetable fiber to help move hair gently through your cat's digestive tract.

Cat grass grows fast and is easy to care for.

LAXATIVES - Petroleum-based laxatives and hairball remedies, flavored to make them palatable for your pet, coat the swallowed hair allowing it to pass more easily through your cat's digestive system.

Sentry Hairball Relief is a petroleum-free product that helps support the body's normal elimination of hairballs.

WATER - Nothing is more important to your cat's digestion than fresh, clean water. To optimize water intake, provide water in the fashion your cat prefers:

Many are attracted to running water; the Drinkwell Fountain is the perfect solution. It continuously recirculates water at the flow rate you set.