How Do I Stop Cat Hairballs?

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The following is an excerpt from the Petfinder Blog.

Dr. Arnold Plotnick is the founder of Manhattan Cat Specialists, a cats-only veterinary hospital in New York City; he also writes a pet blog, Cat Man Do.

I recently teamed up with FURminator and online pet-rescue advocate RomeoTheCat to help educate the more than 38 million cat-owning households across the United States on the unpleasant topic of hairballs. As a feline-only practitioner, I’ve seen my share of hairball problems, and I’m constantly asked for advice and solutions. However, when it comes to hindering hairballs, simple steps and a little feline know-how are key.

How Do I Stop Cat Hairballs?

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The following tips can help reduce the yucky little surprises many cat parents face on a regular basis:

  • Stop the Shed: During peak shedding season, cats tend to over-groom themselves. That increased excess of hair isn’t just found on clothes and furniture — much of it is ingested by the cat. Proactive grooming removes the loose hair before it is ingested and can reduce hairballs dramatically. The FURminator deLuxe deShedding Tool for cats is a great option and can reduce shedding by up to 90 percent.
  • Home Remedies: Try adding a little canned pumpkin to a cat’s meals once or twice a week. If hair has been ingested, the fiber in the pumpkin can help move any hair clods through the cat’s system.
  • The Watering Hole: Cats have primal instincts and the location of their water bowl can prove it. In the wild, a cat would never drag its kill to a watering hole to eat and drink at the same time. House cats have inherited this same instinct. Owners should keep a cat’s water bowl in a separate location than her food bowl. Cats will drink more water and this increase will help their system clean itself of ingested hair.
  • A New Menu: There are several specially formulated cat foods and treats with increased fiber that aid in the fight against hairballs. Each pet is different, so always consult the cat’s vet first before making any drastic diet changes.
  • Stay Active, Stay Healthy: Twenty-one percent of cats are considered obese or overweight by their veterinarians. Play and interactive toys encourage cats to leap, stretch and stay active. Keeping a cat active helps him maintain a healthy skin and coat and increases balance and coordination.
  • Ask Your Vet: Concerned about a cat’s chronic hairball problem? Be sure to consult a veterinarian for the best course of action to help alleviate the problem. Simple measures can be taken to ensure your cat’s overall health is in tip-top shape, but always consult with a veterinarian when it comes to major changes in health, diet and behavior.

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