To veterinarians, hairballs are called trichobezoars, from the suffix tricho-, meaning "pertaining to hair" and the word bezoar, meaning "a mass trapped in the gastrointestinal system." But what does that really mean? Cats get hairballs from licking their coats and swallowing hair, which accumulates in the stomach and eventually forms a wad. The accompanying discomfort prompts the cat to vomit up the hairball.
Read through this list, taken from Joey Green's Amazing Pet Cures, of everyday brand-name products in your home that help prevent and treat hairballs.
1. Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing
To prevent cat hairballs (and also static electricity on your cat's coat), rub in a dab of Alberto VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing and brush.
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Don't worry if your cat licks her fur; Albert VO5 Conditioning Hairdressing is natural and nontoxic.
2. Chicken of the Sea Sardines
To thwart hairballs, feed your cat one Chicken of the Sea Sardine each month.
The fish oil keeps swallowed clumps of hair gliding through your cat's digestive system.
3. Chicken of the Sea Tuna
When you open a can of Chicken of the Sea Tuna packed in oil, drain out some of the oil over your cat's food.
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The oil lubricates your cat's digestive tract, averting hairballs.
6. Land O Lakes Butter
To stop a cat from expelling hairballs, add one-half to one teaspoon Land O Lakes Butter to the cat's food once a day for a week.
The butter helps push the fur through the cat's digestive system, preventing hairballs from forming. The butter also makes the gallbladder contract and empty bile, a mild laxative, into the cat's digestive tract, speeding hairballs through the cat's inner workings.
8. Post Grape-Nuts Flakes
A high-fiber diet improves digestion, allowing hair to pass swiftly through your cat's digestive tract.
To keep those hairballs moving along, give your pet one to three tablespoons of Post Grape-Nuts Flakes several times a day. Once the hairballs pass, continue sprinkling up to three tablespoons of Post Grape-Nuts Flakes on your pet's food. The fiber keeps the digestion tract lubricated, increasing your pet's ability to absorb nutrients.
To accelerate the passage of hairballs through your cat's system, mix one-half teaspoon of Metamucil with water and pour it on your small pet's food twice a day. The psyllium seed husks in this laxative absorb water into the stool, helping it pass through the intestines.
10. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
To stop your cat from getting hairballs, place a dab of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on one of the cat's paws. The cat will lick off the petroleum jelly, which lubricates her digestive track, allowing hairs to travel naturally out the proper end. Apply the petroleum jelly once a day for four days.
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12. Wesson Corn Oil
Another way to prevent hairballs? Add one teaspoon Wesson Corn Oil to your cat's food occasionally. The polyunsaturated oil also fortifies your cat with vitamins, lubricates the digestive tract, and helps prevent constipation.
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