Caring for Your Cat: Reducing Hairballs

One of the less attractive aspects of owning a cat is cleaning up hairballs. However, the occasional hairball is completely normal and simply part of how cats function. While grooming, they lick their fur to remove dirt or dander as well as loose hairs. At the same time, they end up swallowing this fur and debris. It will naturally pass through their digestive tract and be excreted in their litter box, but sometimes it gets caught and they vomit it up instead.

While you can’t prevent your cat from ever getting a hairball, there are ways that you can reduce them and help the fur pass through their system more easily.

Stay on top of brushing. Regularly brushing your cat’s fur can keep loose hairs and shedding to a minimum because you are helping to remove them and keep them from accumulating. Many cats enjoy the sensation of being brushed and will happily sit for a few minutes while you work. You may also break it up and do small sections at a time.

If your cat is not a fan of brushing, try to tackle this task when they’re calm and tired, rather than when they are ready to play. Entertain them for a few minutes with an interactive toy or game to tire them out. Then slowly approach brushing, letting them smell and investigate the brush on their own first. You may also want to try different types of tools, such as grooming gloves rather than a brush or comb, and gently wiping them with a baby wipe after brushing to pick up any remaining loose fur or dander.

Keep them hydrated. Encouraging your cat to drink more can help as well. Have water available in more than one spot in your home. If your cat likes running water, let them drink at the sink when you’re in the kitchen or bathroom, or consider getting a water fountain. If your tap water isn’t very palatable, offer filtered or spring water instead. They can benefit from eating a bit of wet cat food as well.

Change up their diet. If hairballs are an issue, your veterinarian may recommend a special cat food designed to add more fiber to their diet and lubricate their digestive tract, allowing hairballs to pass through more easily. Adding a small drizzle of olive oil to their food once a week can help as well.

Interrupt their grooming. All cats groom themselves periodically throughout the day, but if your cat is spending an excessive amount of time grooming, disrupt this habit. Distract them with a toy or laser pointer. Start petting or brushing them yourself. Find ways to stimulate them and break their focus on continuous licking.

Regular grooming keeps your cat’s coat healthy, shiny, and mat-free. While they are pretty good at doing this themselves, sometimes they benefit from a thorough brushing from you. Let our team know if your cat gets brushed every day, and make sure you pack individual servings of their food when you board them so we can help them continue to look and feel their best. If you’re dropping off your dog as well, schedule them for a grooming appointment during their stay. Contact Lake Wylie Pet Resort to learn more and book their spot today!