I looked down and saw that I had perfectly placed my tired, un-caffeinated right foot down onto a hairball. A few feet away was my cat, Molly, waiting for her breakfast. She looked completely innocent. As if she had no part in creating that patch of wet fur on my floor.
I’m sure I’m not the only cat owner who has had the honor of stepping on a hairball. It’s something that comes along with owning a cat. But, we can cut down or eliminate this unpleasantness with a few simple adjustments to how we care for our feline friends:
1: Brush your cat regularly: hairballs are formed when a cat grooms itself and swallows fur. Since hair is not easily digested, it can beome compacted with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. A blockage can result in either regurgitation or constipation. Take it from me, brush your cat on a regular basis.
2: Try mixing in foods formulated to prevent hairballs: by improving skin and fur, you can decrease shedding a little. Some of the foods have higher levels of fiber and oils added to alleviate blockages. If your cat is on prescription foods, then you should talk to your vet before changing your cat’s diet.
3: Use hairball remedy such as Petromalt: give your cat a 1-inch strip of the gel substance as directed. There are also other hairball treatments that can be mixed with food if your cat does not like the taste of Petromalt. These can be found at your local pet store.
4: Try butter! Yes, that’s right. Try butter. If you give you cat a teaspoon of soft butter two times a week it can help act as a lubricant and prevent hairball blockages. However, too much butter may also give them an upset stomach.
As always, if you’re unsure if your cat should have his or her diet altered, ask your vet. But brushing your cat makes a world of difference. In fact, I should go brush my cat right now!