My cat Frankie has hairballs. I give him cat treats for hairballs as well as digestive control. Is there anything else I should be doing? — Jane Ann Messex
Hairballs are a terrible reality for our self-cleaning cats. Ingested fur that doesn’t pass easily through the digestive system has to come on back up the hard way. The treats you’re giving Frankie are a good first line of defense. Here are some additional tips:
1. Change up your cat’s meal plan.
Next time you go cat food shopping check out the higher-fiber hairball-control formulas that are available in both dry and wet options. If in doubt, ask your vet for a recommendation. Gradually switch over from the old food to the new one.
2. Add a hairball supplement.
If Frankie likes what he’s already eating, this might be a more attractive alternative to a diet overhaul. Some supplements can be mixed in with your cat’s usual food. Others are designed to appeal to your cat’s taste buds; squeeze some onto your finger and hope your cat wants to lick it off.
3. Get brushing.
Some cats — let’s hope Frankie is among them — like getting brushed. Don’t tell your cat, but a brush is a more efficient grooming tool than a tongue and it will keep some fur from ending up in his belly.
4. Discourage excessive grooming.
Distract him with some play or cuddle time when he seems to be overdoing it with the tongue baths. If your cat doesn’t know when to quit it might be a sign that he’s feeling under pressure. Talk to your vet about feline stress management.