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how to get rid of hairballs in cats
There are many holistic ways how to get rid of hairballs in cats.

There are a myriad of ways how to get rid of hairballs in cats. But what works for one cat may not work for another. What works ultimately depends upon numerous factors. Each cat’s bout with hairballs is unique. It depends on the severity of the affliction. It also depends on your cat’s unique preferences and peculiar behaviors. Simply but, getting rid of your cat’s hairball problem ultimately requires a great deal of patience and a lot of trial and error. And once you eradicate the problem, you need an ongoing plan that you must keep up with, to prevent the problem from recurring.

Hairballs in and of themselves are not some type of disease or ailment. It is merely the presence of a massive accumulation of fur that is lodged in your cat’s digestive tract. This “furball” or “hairball”, can form an obstruction in your cat’s digestive tract.

Typically, this hairball is expelled from your cat’s system through vomiting. You can tell that your cat has vomited hairballs if you take a cursory look at the mass that it has vomited up: It will typically be long and cylindrical in shape, and will look like a mass of intertwined fur.

Swallowing hairballs and then vomiting them up is a natural part of being a cat. They have been doing it for thousands of years, long before humans ever began domesticating them as pets. However, it is a huge nuisance for us pet owners. Hairballs can ruin your clothing, your furniture, and your carpet. And of course it is very unpleasant experience for cats as well.

In some extreme cases, hairballs can get stuck in your cat’s digestive tract too deep, or it has become too massive, to be able to vomit up.

So what works and what doesn’t?

How To Get Rid Of Hairballs In Cats – What Works?

1. Feed Your Cat Hairball Control Foods

There are a wide variety of dietary options for helping to get rid of hairballs in cats. These typically include any of the following:

2. Reducing Your Cat’s Food Intake

Another way how to get rid of hairballs in cats is to simply reduce your cat’s food intake. This may sound disingenuous, because you aren’t actually “treating” the problem. However, what you are doing is preventing the problem from becoming further exacerbated. You are preventing it from worsening. By giving your cat a much-needed break from food, it will give your cat more time to digest what is already in its stomach. The presence of hairballs lodged in its digestive tract can slow down the digestive process.

Therefore, by reducing the quantity of food that your cat consumes at each meal, this will stave off any unwarranted blockages which might otherwise trigger a vomiting reflex.

Additionally, not only do you want to reduce the amount of food that your cat eats at each meal, you will also want to space out your cat’s meal frequency as well. Don’t feed it quite as often, and don’t feed it as much food at each meal time. For example, if you typically leave out a food bowl all day for your cats to graze on, don’t do it. Just put out enough food for your cat to finish in the morning, and then take away the food bowl. And then don’t feed your cat again until the evening. That too, only give your cat enough food for dinner that it will finish in one sitting.

This temporary “intermittent fasting” should help alleviate your cat’s tendency to vomit.

In and of itself, it doesn’t eliminate hairballs, but it can help prevent a bad situation from becoming much worse

If you want your cat to vomit less, you’ve got to feed it less, is what it comes down to.

How To Get Rid Of Hairballs In Cats – What Doesn’t Work?

No matter how annoying it may be to have to clean up after your cat’s vomit, it is imperative that you do not lose your patience. Your cat doesn’t know any better. It doesn’t know how inconvenient it may be for you. It doesn’t even instinctively know how to clean up its own vomit (the way it knows how to bury its litter). And it is merely executing a natural biological reaction to an undesirable conundrum it got itself into.

Punishing your cat is never the answer.

So whatever you do, do not even think of taking your frustration out on your cat. Calmly lean up the vomit. Make a firm resolve to work with your cat to figure out what is causing the problem. Work toward a solution. It’s that simple.

You are not in this alone! We here at have gone through the same problem (and we still do). So heed the advice on this website on how to get rid of hairballs in cats, and hopefully you will experience the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

how to get rid of hairballs in cats

6 Responses

  1. Thank you! I never really put too much thought into this issue, I suppose my natural reaction would just be to kind of let it keep happening. Then, if it got worse, just look into some different cat foods. I had no idea that you could put a little olive oil in the food to help them digest, wow! On a sidenote, I have often wondered about the domestication of cats, when it happened, what did they do before they were domesticated? Lol. I know the Ancient Egyptians used to basically worship cats, which was definitely not a wise decision. I have two cats, Kitty, and Little One. Neither of them suffer from hairballs, but if they do I will remember this, thank you!

  2. Thank you for this very useful tips about getting rid of hairballs in cats. I don’t have a cat, but my brother does, so I’ll send it to him. I have never heard him talking about hairball problems in cats, so I am actually curious, how does it happen? Do cats eat their own hair or any hair they find on the floor?

    1. Sandy – Whenever cats lick themselves, they may end up swallowing trace amounts of fur…. And if the fur isn’t digested properly or if too much of it starts to accumulate in the cat’s stomach, then it can develop into a hairball. 

  3. What an excellent article!  I’ve had cats all of my life but learned quite a lot from your article.

    What I especially appreciated is the Pet Care Chart.  As a crazy cat lady, I have 3 cats and it is sometimes difficult to remember who needs what.  I can see using this chart for far more than hairballs but also to track observations about each cat’s health or problems therein, when was the last time I applied tick meds and a multitude of other things.  Excellent reminder system.

    One question I have is about oil for hairballs.  Do you just dribble it over their kibble?  If so, how much and how often?

    Thank you again for this information – I’ll be bookmarking this page!

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence! As far as oil is concerned, I wouldn’t drench the food in oil! Just lightly dribble it over, or even dip / soak the food in the oil a bit. (Oil has calories, and we don’t want to overfeed our cats either!) Best of luck!

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