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Cat Hairballs - How to Prevent Them and Treat Them

Most cats suffer from cat hairballs. What causes hairballs? Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits. They lick themselves constantly, and in the process, they ingest a lot of fur. This fur builds up, creating a hairball. Cat hairballs are not only uncomfortable for you cat, but they can also lead to other problems such as constipation, so it is a good idea to prevent, or at least reduce, hair buildup.

So if you already own a cat, or if you just adopted a cat, and need information on cat hairballs, here is some information on the symptoms and prevention of hairballs.

Hairball Symptoms

A hairball problem is relatively easy to spot. Your cat will start hacking and coughing, followed by vomiting. These episodes might occur frequently, especially if you have a long-haired cat.

Even if you don't see your cat going through what I call a "hairball episode", you can still see the evidence: a ball of hair on the floor, or the carpet, or wherever the cat chose to spit out the ball. Usually, a hairball is an elongated mass of fur, similar to a cigar in shape. It is definitely not a pretty sight.

Hairball Prevention and Treatment

The easiest preventive step you may take is brushing your cat on a regularly basis, preferably every day. Even if brushing does not completely eliminate hairballs, it will reduce the amount ingested, thus reducing the frequency of the problem. In addition, brushing your cat will help your cat stay in great shape. And remember that a grooming session is always a great bonding opportunity.

But what if your cat continues to have a hairball problem, even if you brush him or her regularly? Well, you may also try hairball remedies. Take your cat to the vet, and the doctor will suggest the best treatment for cat hairballs. Some common remedies include petroleum-based gels, which are given orally. You may also give your cat a fiber-rich diet. And finally, you may also try home treatments, like giving your cat a little bit of butter once or twice a week. Canned pumpkin is another known home remedy used to treat hairballs. You can mix a bit of pumpkin with your cat's food. Again, always consult your vet before using any of these treatments.

© Claudia Escobar, an avid cat lover, loves anything cat-related. For more information about cat hairballs and gift ideas for cat lovers visit her site at

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