We spent over 120 hours over a 60 day period researching and testing more than 20 different types and brands of hairball remedies for cats and found that results, cost, and preventative capabilities were most important with cat owners who were shopping for hairball remedies. Laxatone in Tuna for Hairball Relief scored high marks in all categories and is our overall top pick. Tomlyn Laxatone Gel has been around for over 35 years and is a trusted source for taking care of hairballs. It is made with vegetable oil and mineral oil that is in a gel that is flavored with tuna. The purpose of this gel is to lubricate the digestive tract of your cat enabling him to pass cat balls rather than coughing them up.
Hairball Remedy Buying Guide
All cats get hairballs. This natural occurrence happens from the routine self-grooming that cats do every day. Once the cat swallows loose fur the fur gets stuck in the stomach and forms a ball. Most hairballs can pass naturally but sometimes the cat has difficulty passing it naturally and will cough it up.
Cleaning up coughed-up hairballs is not pleasant and having them is not pleasant for your cat either so doing what you can to reduce these hairballs benefits both you and your cat.
The good news is that frequent hairballs can be prevented with the right nutrition, grooming, and lubricating products. Brushing your cat on a regular basis helps reduce the amount of hair they will ingest which is just one way to reduce this problem. Below we have listed several of the common causes of hairballs and what you can do to deal with these causes to help your cat.
Stress and too much grooming – A stressed cat will usually spend a lot of time grooming itself; sometimes so much that they will cause bald spots on their fur. If your cat is in pain you may notice them over grooming the area where the pain is located. Both of these actions result in the cat swallowing a lot more hair than normal which increases the amount of hairballs the cat has to deal with. Pay attention to your cat’s stress levels and do what you can to improve their well-being and home life. If you notice your cat focusing on one specific area a lot, you may want to get them checked out by the vet to rule out illness or injury.
Excessive hair – You may notice that long-haired cats have a bigger problem with hairballs than short-haired cats. One of the best things you can do for a long-haired cat is to brush them regularly with a proper grooming tool that removes excess hair. Doing this on a daily basis will lessen the amount of loose hair your cat will swallow when they groom themselves. Daily brushing will also improve the condition of their coats and will make it much more comfortable for them.
Bowel disease – If a cat has a bowel disease their GI tract will not function properly. This can show up as lack of lubrication, lack of the enzymes needed for digestion, or motility. When things are not moving properly through the system hairballs are likely to develop. If your cat is having a lot of problems with hairballs you will want to get the vet to rule out any GI diseases that could be contributing to the problem. GI cancers also prevent contents from moving through the system properly. Surgery may be possible for cats that have GI cancer that is blocking the tract.
Lack of Water – Cats get the majority of their water from the food they eat. If you only feed your cat dry kibble your cat is probably constantly dehydrated. Not having enough water in their systems can cause a host of problems. Consider adding wet food to their diet as well as a hairball remedy that lubricates the intestinal tract. Always make sure your cat has plenty of fresh, clean water available.
Hairball Symptoms to Look For
Below we have listed several of the most notable hairball symptoms that your cat may exhibit. Knowing what to watch for can help you identify what is going on with your cat.
Lethargy – Cats in general are not as active as dogs and spend a lot of time sleeping. There is a difference between laziness and lethargy. Lethargy will make your cat look sick and they will not be interested in playing, eating, or drinking.
Weight loss and appetite loss – A lot of cats are picky but if you notice your cat suddenly not eating at all there is a problem, especially if they are normally good eaters. If your cat skips several meals in a row or consistently goes off their food for several days there is something wrong and he or she needs to be checked.
Hacking and Gagging with no hairballs resulting – If your cat is coughing a lot, gagging, or trying to vomit and nothing is being brought up from all this activity, your cat will need to take an immediate visit to the vet. The hairballs could be too big for the cat to cough up and that could be very dangerous for them.
Frequent diarrhea or constipation – Your cat’s system will naturally try to eliminate the problem through its feces. If the hairball is too big you will notice that your cat have frequent constipation or diarrhea as it tries to eliminate the problem.
Swollen stomach – if your cat has a blockage and it continues to get bigger you will notice a lump in the cat’s stomach or throat. If you see this, take them to the vet so the vet can help get rid of the problem.
Although hairballs are a common occurrence among cats, the problems start when the hairballs are excessive. Prevention is always going to be the best course of action. The sooner you start them on a regular hairball prevention routine the healthier and better they are going to be.
Once you start them on a product you should start to see an improvement in their overall health and well-being. With so many different remedies to try it can be really confusing trying to figure out which one to choose.
The information in this guide will help you by offering detailed information on three of the top-rated hairball remedies as well as offering you symptoms and causes of hairballs in our buying guide. This knowledge will help you choose the right product, identify problems in your cat that could be hairballs and learn how to cope with the problem and help your cat through it.