Categories: hairballs

Woman adopts stray cat but then locks her out because of hairballs

A woman, Vivian, living in California, USA, adopted a stray cat about nine months ago. The female cat kept appearing in her backyard and little by little she became her pet at which point she came inside.

Cat hairball — Photo in public domain

For an unknown reason (and there may be a medical reason in this instance) the female cat started to throw up hairballs to an extent which disturbed her owner. The final straw was when a hairball was vomited up on the woman’s bed at which point she locked her cat outside permanently. She has not let her cat back in the house since then and understandably her cat is meowing outside all the time to be let in. The woman says that she cannot trust her cat and she seeks advice online.

The advice is predictable, namely that she should let her cat back inside and deal with the hairballs. As mentioned there may be a medical reason. Vomiting hairballs is normal for a cat but if it’s happening all the time at a higher than normal frequency there may be something else going on. That needs to be checked out by a veterinarian.

Controlling hairballs

Other things that can be done to control hairballs is to regularly groom your cat which obviously means that the cat does not swallow so much hair.

You can also buy dietary supplements to control hairballs. There are two types; one is a lubricant which allows the hairball to pass through the digestive tract and the other is a fibre which helps to push the hairball along.

There are petroleum-based laxatives which lubricate the hair easing its passage through the intestinal tract. You can put it on a cat’s paws so that she licks it off and ingests it. Care should be taken with these laxatives because they can interfere with fat-soluble vitamins (check with your vet).

There are also hairball-control commercial diets such as Science Diet Hairball Control Diet and Purina Pro Plan Hairball Management Formula.

The best time to groom your cat to prevent hairballs is when they are shedding, which for indoor cats may be throughout the year. i.e. not seasonal. A good home remedy is half a teaspoon of white petroleum jelly. The jelly melts in the stomach and lubricates the hairball allowing it to pass freely. It should be used once or twice a week. You can also add mineral oil to cat food once or twice a week at the dose of 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of bodyweight. It should not be given by mouth. It may decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

The message to Vivian is to continue to love her cat, let her inside and take action to minimise the vomiting of hairballs. It is all possible and far better than adopting and then rejecting her cat.

Example

This is from Suzanne Freeman on FB:

“10 years, not ONE hairball!!! Comb or brush you cat daily, takes only a few minutes!!!!!!♥ This is about half of what I’ve saved it’s even condensed, so this is how much hair they could possibly ingest!”

Suzanne’s brushed and combed longhaired cat who has no hairballs.

Source – except for the info added by me.

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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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