Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How To Treat Your Cats Hairballs Naturally

By: Carmen Black

Hairballs are caused by a cat swallowing its own fur during the normal process of cleaning itself, and then not being able to eliminate the fur during defecation. This can be caused by a couple of things. If your cat is a long-haired variety, it's imperative that you comb him or her daily if possible. It's very common for long-haired cats, even young, healthy ones, to develop hairballs if not properly groomed.

Younger cats have an innate ability to eliminate the fur due to the fact their digestive systems are stronger and more resilient. It's possible for a short-haired cat to develop a hairball problem as they get older, just because they're no longer able to eliminate the fur. The most common symptom of hairballs is vomiting. If your cat vomits and you see fur in it, that's almost undoubtedly the problem. The second most noticeable symptom is constipation. If you see that your cat isn't using the box as normal, this could also be the problem.

Once you determine that this is the cause of the vomiting or constipation, there are a few options for treatment. However, I would advise being careful to make sure this really is the problem. If your cat seems otherwise healthy, eating normally, playing, etc...this would be my first assumption. If the cat exhibits any symptoms of being ill as in not eating, not playing, seems feverish, I would recommend a vet visit.

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To treat hairballs, there are over the counter remedies that contain mineral oil. Mineral oil is a petroleum based product that is the equivalent to taking a harsh laxative for us humans. If you've ever used these products, you know they're not really good for you, but if you're miserable, they'll do.

If you'd like to avoid that, there are a couple of healthy, natural alternatives. A teaspoon of olive oil added to your cat's wet food for a few days can help clear up the problem. Also, and maybe even better, try using canned pumpkin in the wet food. About a tablespoon per day is a good amount. The pumpkin is high in fiber. It may work a little more slowly than the olive oil, but the fiber is good for kitty. We sometimes forget that big cats in the wild do get fiber in their diet by eating the remains in the stomachs of their prey, which are most always herbivores.

After you begin using these remedies, keep an eye on your friend. If the symptoms don't clear up in a two or three days, take him or her to the vet. Older cats can become impacted, which is a dangerous situation and requires veterinary care. Take care of your baby and you can enjoy many years of friendship and love.

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Carmen Black

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