Are Hairballs a Problem for Your Cat?
The answer may be yes! Many of you are acquainted with the lovely, gooey, cylindrical "hairballs" cats vomit up. Because it can be a regular or semi-regular occurrence, many cat guardians and even some vets claim that it's "normal." However, it can be a symptom of a problem, either a serious one (take him to the vet if he can't cough it up..) or one that may easily be remedied!
Hairballs are more common in indoor, medium to long-haired cats and elderly or overweight cats who can't groom themselves as often as they used to. If your ruled out a physical problem, here are some easy steps to take to minimize hairballs and keep your cat's GI working well.
1) Brush your cat. Regular brushing will help a great deal because you're removing excess hair, especially during shedding seasons. I try to brush Bodhi and Flora daily. Because I introduced them to the brush when they were kittens, they are usually happy to be brushed all over. It's especially important to get cats used to having their tummies brushed because when they are older, this area can become a magnet for painful hair mats.
2) Feed a diet that keeps them digesting, absorbing and lubricated. This means canned, raw or lightly cooked food. Dry food is NEVER a good idea and will make it much more difficult for hair to pass through, as well as lead to a myriad of other problems.
3) Omega 3's and fiber. Omega 3's are essential for healthy heart, brains, joints and help keep coats soft and silky. They also help hair move correctly down the GI tract. My favorite Omega 3 supplement is Moxxor, the green lipped mussel sustainably grown in New Zealand. There are 18 Omega 3's in Moxxor compared to only 2 in fish oil. Dr. Jean Hofve and Celeste Yarnall introduced me to it years ago, and I haven't found any better, purer Omega 3 for humans and animals. Check it out.
Fiber in the form of a pinch of coconut fiber or a teaspoon of organic canned or fresh cooked pumpkin will also help. A little coconut oil on a paw that's licked can aid in moving hair through as well. I recommend this over any petroleum based commercial hairball "remedy."
4) Digestive enzymes. These can help improve digestion and absorption, improving the bio-availability of any food your feed. Helping cats digest hair is just one benefit. One of my favorites for cats AND dogs is Optagest.
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,