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A TASTY TREAT THAT'S ALSO GOOD FOR YOUR CAT'S HEALTH!
HAIRBALLS ARE NOT FUNNY IN REAL LIFE!
I'm here today to talk about a subject no one wants to talk about.
No, wait! Come back!
Just hear me out. This won't be too gross. I will not post any pictures of hairballs, I promise!
So....hairballs. Sure, they might be funny in cartoons. But they're anything but in real life!
Nothing's nicer than walking into a room and being greeted by a cute, happy, meowing cat. Nothing's worse than walking into a room and stepping smack dab into a yucky, wet, slimy hairball. (Okay, that was a little gross, but bear with me).
I'll admit. Its happened to me more than once. And it is NOT a pleasant experience. However, as unpleasant as it is for me, it sounds twice as unpleasant for my cat. Imagine having a big wad of fur lodged in your throat that needs to be coughed up. It is truly one of the most horrendous sounds. You can't help but feel bad for your poor cat.
So what exactly is a hairball?
When your cat grooms himself, he ingests all of the loose fur his rough tongue licks up. When the fur builds up too much in his digestive tract, voila...a hairball is born.
Certain times of the year when your cat is shedding more (stress can also cause excess shedding....just like stress can cause people's hair to fall out!) or if your cat isn't groomed on a regular basis, or if he doesn't get enough fiber in his diet to move the fur through properly, hairballs can become a big problem.
Naturally, hairballs also present more of a hassle for long hair cats (and their owners)!
While you probably can't prevent ALL hairballs from happening, there are ways to decrease the odds of them forming - while also lessening your chances of stepping on one barefoot. YUCK! All you have to do, is follow these 7 steps, for a more happy, more hair-ball free life.
1). GROOM YOUR CAT...
Be sure to groom your cat on a regular basis. This should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience for both of you. You can use any brush or comb, or buy an inexpensive one made just for this purpose.
I personally find the Zoom Groom to be the most effective way to remove loose fur from my cat's body. It might look weird, but I find that it's rubber nubbies really do the trick!
As you brush your cat, you will probably pick up huge wads of loose fur. Now think of all that fur being ingested and forming a possible hair-ball - and be glad you got it off your cat, so you can just toss it in the trash!
2). MAKE SURE YOUR CAT GETS ENOUGH EXERCISE
The more your cat moves around, the more likely the fur will not just collect in his digestive tract. Just like with people, exercise will make everything move through your cat in more effective way.
3). BUY SOME CAT GRASS....
Growing special grass for your cat to eat indoors is a safe and effective way to add fiber to your cat's diet. All cats have a natural instinct to eat grass, for this reason. When you grow special cat grass indoors, you can be sure the grass is clean and chemical free. Organic grass often includes oats, wheat, rye, and barley, and starts growing in 4 to 6 days.
4). TRY SOME HAIR-BALL GEL....
Usually sold in tubes (such as Petromalt) these medicines can be offered to your cat on your finger....or rubbed onto your cat's paw. Chances are, your cat won't mind licking this gooey malt flavored goo off, since these medicines are made to be appealing to your cat. (Our cats have always enjoyed them. They definitely don't see this stuff as "medicine")!
5). OR, GO A MORE NATURAL ROUTE...
If you prefer, you can offer your cat butter on your finger, or mix some olive oil or canned pumpkin in with his food.
6). MAKE SURE YOUR CAT GETS ENOUGH FIBER IN HIS DIET....
You can purchase cat food with extra fiber made just for hairball control. Iams has just such a dry cat food, as does Science Diet.
7). TRY A SPECIAL HAIRBALL TREAT!
You can also buy special hair-ball treats, made with barley and flax to move those annoying hair-balls right on through! Friskies and Whiskas have pouches of hairball treats available, so your cat does not even realize he's getting a "treatment".....he'll just see it as a "treat"!
8). DON'T FORGET TO REMOVE ALL THE LOOSE HAIR OFF YOUR CAT AFTER YOU PET HIM!
Does this happen to you? You scratch and pet your cat, telling him what a good kitty he is, and suddenly, there are tufts of loose fur flying everywhere? Don't forget to remove the fur you have loosened up on your cat's body that has NOT flown off into the wind, so he doesn't ingest it and end up forming a brand new hairball!
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to both you and your cat. However, if your cat has a hairball he cannot pass, or if he is experiencing loss of appetite, vomiting, or diahrreah, be sure to take him to see the vet. A large hairball that a cat cannot pass can be a very serious situation!