Categories: hairballs

Cat Hairball Blockage Home Treatment

Miralax hairball treatment for cats is something people suggest but Miralax is a treatment for human constipation and hairballs are not exactly constipation. As we know hairballs are often thrown up after eating grass or they are defecated. Miralax is not recommended by me or as far as I am aware by veterinarians.

It contains a chemical called Polyethylene Glycol 335 and this product works by hydrating, easing and softening so it does not act in the way that a fibre-based treatment would. If a visitor has first hand experience of using Miralax as a cat hairball home treatment please leave a comment if you have time.

Cat Hairball. An Ugly One! Photo by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

The easiest way to control hairballs is to groom your cat often and regularly so that she does not have too swallow too much hair. I think it makes sense to groom your cat daily. Make it a routine and something for both of you to enjoy. I groom my cat with a very fine comb but he has a single coat. It may be sensible to groom a long haired cat twice daily during shedding.

In addition, dietary supplements have also been used to control hairballs.  There are 2 types:

  1. lubricants which help slide the hair along the digestive tract;
  2. fiber which helps push their hair along.

Petroleum-based laxatives lubricate the hair moving it along through the intestinal tract. They’re often flavoured and can be placed onto the cat’s paw to encourage the cat to lick it off. Depending on the cat, she may like to lick the laxative off a cat owner’s fingers. It may be possible to squeeze some of the substance into the mouth of a cat.

Bezo-Pet for hairballs and other obstructions (a UK product. Not sure if it is available elsewhere.

However, petroleum-based laxatives can interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins;  vitamins A, D, E and K. There are a number of commercial products which deal with cat hairballs such as Laxatone or Johnsons Hairball Remedy and Katalax for Cats. Laxatone contains vitamins for the reasons stated above.  Apparently, it is also a good idea not to give your cat these products one hour before or after feeding your cat. Amazon have many of these products.

Hairball Remedies For Cats 

An alternative is to provide high-fiber bulk additives which help move the hair through the intestines. There are also special hairball control diet such as Science Diet Hairball Control Diet and Purina Pro Plan Hairball Management Formula. In addition there are tablets, powders and treats such as Lax-eze.

Prevention

Brushing your cat more often will help prevent hairballs especially at shedding time.  Cats shed when the ambient light improves.  Full-time indoor cats, however, shed fur year-round to the same degree.

Home Remedy

A home remedy which is both safe and effective for hairballs is white petroleum jelly.  It can be used once or twice a week, using about half a teaspoon. The petroleum jelly melts inside the cat’s stomach and lubricate the hairball allowing it to pass through intestines more easily.

Mineral oil is also effective, apparently.  It can be added to the cat’s food once or twice a week.  The dose is 1 teaspoon which is 5 mL per 5lbs of body weight. The average cat weighs about 10lbs.  Five pounds is 2.3 kg. It should not be given by mouth because the cat may inhale it, meaning that it might go into the cat’s lungs. Mineral oil and petroleum jelly may sometimes decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins as mentioned above.  This may occur if the cat is given large doses over a long period of time.

Suggestions

If you have tips and tricks I’d love for you to share them.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Hi, I was remiss in brushing my short hair cat, he never had hairballs, ten years, was fine. I regularly brush his brother, a long hair prone to hairballs, and was was perplexed when Toby, the short hair, stopped eating and the xrays showed a mass stuck in duodenum. $5000 surgery. Hairball. The vet did have me try miralax first. 1 tsp. dissolved in 2 tsp. of warm water, administered with l0 ml syringe. Didn't do the trick as too much, too far. Having time off from work I had more time to observe, I realized it wasn't his hair. Yep, he eats his brother's hairballs. So we've gone through times where it looks like something isn't working, he doesn't cough up, he gets a wider, hardened abdomen, show less interest in food, is lethargic. Miralax has worked everytime. I will try the anchovy oil recipe above as it seems more natural, but while I haven't read up on the chemistry, I'm told miralax just makes things slippery and is expelled not obsorbed. And while not a cat, I had to take an entire bottle with gatorade for a colonoscopy, so hoping not too toxic!

    • This is interesting Madison. Fascinating in fact. I think I'll make your comment an article. My cat is fascinated with his own fur. When I brush him and roll the brushed off fur into a ball and present it to him he licks it and wants to eat it. This is definitely a domestic cat characteristic.

  • Previously, I had two cats that loved raw green beans. The spayed smaller girl would eat about 2-3 daily - yes, daily! The larger neutered boy would keep eating as much as I gave him but I'd limit him to 4-6 depending on their size. Neither cat EVER had hairballs. I checked first to make sure green beans were safe for cats and they are. My boy considered them 'cat candy' and would root through my grocery shopping when I came home, looking for his presents!

    I now have a single spayed girl who'd once been feral but now's totally tame and gentle. She became an indoor cat only as we had coyotes around. She was used to eating grass outdoors so I'd go out to an unmown part of my backyard to pick her grass almost every day. I picked the newest tender blades only but quite a handful still. She'd eat it all and loved her grass. She became quite excited when I brought it in. The grass she ate was never vomited up. When I cleaned her litter box, I could see hair and grass mixed in her feces.

    For the 5 years she lived at that place, she never had a hairball. Now we moved and are living in a condo (for the last 4 1/2 months) with no access to grass. She's showing signs of developing hairballs (coughing with her neck stretched but no hairball coughed up yet). So today I made my own hairball remedy for her.

    I opened one of those tiny tins anchovies come in and took about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of oil from the top and mixed it with a teaspoon of Vaseline (petroleum jelly). Before anyone thinks oil from very salty tinned anchovies is bad, the oil itself is not salty as salt can not dissolve in oil (basic chemistry). Taste it and you'll see it's true.

    The mix is soft so easy to use. I scooped it on my index finger and gently rubbed it off on the roof of her mouth. When I put her down, her tail was in the air and she happily settled to wash. I hope to see results in the litter box later.

    The reason fibres like raw green beans and grass work so well is the longer fibres wrap around loose hair taking it out the nether end before it has a chance to form into a messy mass. Buying cat grass isn't a solution for my cat now as she'd happily eat the entire thing in a single day. So when spring and warmer weather comes, I'm going to grow LOTS on my deck to have a ready supply for her. And when colder weather sets in and we can't rely on grass, I'll go back to my homemade treatment.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed reading your excellent comment, Jude. I will convert it into an article today as it is too good and useful to remain a comment. I love first hand, well thought out, ideas and experiences. These should be passed on to other cat owners. Many thanks again.

      • I have two photos of my boy cat, Mozza sniffing a bean and then eating it, if you're interested in adding them too. He was rather an interesting cat in his love for other vegetables too.

        In the two photos I have, the bean isn't one of the best as it was sometimes difficult to find fresh green beans in winter. When there was none available, I'd use broccoli stalks, trimmed of the outer tough covering and cut into a number of long thin 'bean-like' strips.

        Along with green beans and broccoli, he loved mushrooms, very thin slices of raw potatoes, red sweet peppers (they had to be thoroughly ripe) - I also have a photo of him eating a piece of one, sugar snap peas (the only kind I ate) and corn I'd cut off the cob for him. He'd eat the above both raw or cooked as well as winter squash, cooked only. One friend said he was a better, less fussy eater than her kids!

        It was funny if I wanted to eat a meal while watching a show. He'd sit on the arm of the sofa next to me, watching my every move. If I happened to briefly pause while bringing a forkful of food to my mouth (because of something riveting in the show), he'd hopefully reach out a paw and pull my arm with the food toward his mouth. I usually saved some cat-safe unsalted vegetables to the side to give him when I was finished.

        We played a lot of tossing and catching, running, and hide-n-seek games with beans and Mozza. It gave him lots of exercise as well as fun. He was quite the character! (But then, most cats are when owners spend time interacting with them lots.)

  • Bock Vet Pharma has a revolutionary hairball product Capilex available only through veterinarians that is very effective in controlling hairballs. From their website "Capilex gently breaks down the hairball, allowing the ingested hair to pass naturally in the stool. The food previously trapped in the hairball can be digested and made nutritionally available to your cat. Capilex does not contain petroleum by-products, such as mineral oil or white petrolatum, which can be found in other hairball remedies. Capilex does not require a diet change or rely on fiber for its effect."

  • Dang it.
    I had a hairball on the kitchen floor this morning when I came out about 2:30 AM.
    Grabbed the camera, but it didn't come out well. Poor lighting and lack of coffee. Smaller than most (guessing from Scooter) but impressive nonetheless.

  • God knows that I don't need any more of a laxative effect here.
    But, for the few very long haired characters here, I set their food aside and add about 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil about once a month.

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