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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

What do I do about cat hairballs?

Dear Anita,

My Persian cat seems to throw up a hairball about every-other day. They are so disgusting. Is there a way that I can get her to stop this gross behavior?

Joyce,
Jacksonville, FL

P.S. - The hairball's are staining my carpet. I think it is from the dye in the food I am feeding her, how can I remove these spots?

Answer:
Hi Joyce,

Hairballs are one of the most common complaints for people that own cats. A hairball is a bunch of hair that your cat has ingested while cleaning itself. The hair is not very easy for them to digest and collects in your cats digestive tract.

There are only two ways for your cat to get rid of the hair;

throw the hairball up along with food material, or
loosen and breakdown the hairball until it passes out in the feces.
Symptoms of hairballs are vomiting and gagging soon after eating, coughing and gagging until the hairball comes out (it may take several attempts for it to come out). To ease your cats symptoms and the mess it can make, there are several products and tips that I recommend below:

At your local pet store, you can purchase hairball remedies. These are ointments that you can give to your cat once per week. They help to break-up the hairball so that it is easier to pass. These products have a taste that most cats will like, however, the first try may not go to well. I suggest that you put a small dab on your cats paw or nose. Your cat will lick it off, but soon they will lick it off your finger.
If your cat seems to have a constant problem with hairballs, I suggest you try the new hairball cat food and treats available that help relieve hairballs.
Keeping your cat brushed, especially if they have long hair, is one of the best ways to prevent hairballs.
If your cat is vomiting frequently for more than a day, this may be a sign of a serious illness. Please take your cat to see the vet to seek a proper diagnosis.
If your cat's hairball/vomit is leaving a stain on your carpet, I recommend checking out this great book Cat Urine Alertit tells you everything you want to know about removing stubborn stains that cat food can leave on your carpet. and is worth it's weight in gold!
Sharing in your love of animals,

Anita Hampton,

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