Intro by Michael: this is an article by Jude, a visitor to this site. Thanks Jude, much appreciated. Hairballs are natural for a cat. The issue that humans have is that we want to avoid hairballs being vomited. Cats vomiting hairballs is also normal but humans would rather prevent it. So when we use the word “remedy” I don’t think we are referring to a “cure” for cat hairballs. We are simply managing the natural process of hairball production in a way which assists both cat and caretaker. This is a home treatment.
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.