In honor of National Hairball Awareness Day, Petco offers the following tips on reducing hairballs:
Most hair a cat swallows while grooming is passed naturally through the digestive tract, but when it gets caught in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Removing excess hair by brushing and grooming a cat regularly can help limit the amount of loose hair that can ultimately get caught inside the kitty. Using a deshedding tool such as a FURminator for cats to remove the loose, dead undercoat of cat hair can help remove this source of hairballs and shedding.
Proper nutrition is also vital in helping a pet’s physical health and preventing these wet hairballs from appearing on the floor. There are certain types of cat food that can reduce shedding and help hair move safely and naturally through the cat’s digestive track. For example, Hill’s Science Diet makes a hairball control cat food that contains natural vegetable fibers to help aid this process. If changing a pet’s food isn’t ideal, try a treat that prevents hairballs from forming, such as Petco’s Complete Pet Care Chicken Hairball Relief Cat Chews
Ensuring a cat has enough fiber in their diet and drinks plenty of water will also help their physical health and diminish hairballs. For cats with a more persistent problem, try a hairball lubricant that helps the cat pass the hairball more easily.
A veterinarian can recommend a supplement that can prevent hair from clumping. If a cat has an overly matted coat, is lethargic, has a swollen stomach or is constipated, these may all be signs it’s time to see the vet about the hairball problem.