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Cat has BAD hairballs/monthly vomiting - normal?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My cat goes through spells where she throws up her food. It's at least once a month. She'll throw up her food once a day for a couple of days, and it usually ends with her throwing up a bullet-sized amount of fur (big hairball). She's apparently trying to get that fur out of her tummy. I've given her cat lax, hairball formula food, tried all different kinds of food (I try to avoid food with by-products or hard to digest ingreds. but it doesn't seem to matter). She still has the vomiting. It's getting to be really annoying and frustrating. She's been doing it for a few years now (I think I may've even posted about it here, I can't remember), but the vet doesn't have a solution, other than she can get an x-ray of the stomach done. I should do that, but she'll go through months at a time and not have a problem. For the past 2 mons. or so, it's like every 2 weeks. She eats twice a day, and most days of the vomiting spells, she will keep down one meal. So she doesn't have a blockage or something. I don't have a lot of money to spend or time to devote to this problem. It's just frustrating.

Should I try another vet? Any tips for bad hairballs? I've even gotten her shaven before, but I didn't keep up with it since it got into wintertime. She threw up once within a month from shaving, but I think she could've had fur stored in her belly. That's the only thing I can figure because my vet seems sure that it's hairballs and that this is a normal occurence. If it is normal, I never want a cat again!!! Maisey seems totally normal and healthy other than this. So I haven't been concerned, but it's getting to be every 2 weeks now (I'm even tracking it on my calendar.). I do have a couple hundred in savings I could spend on x-rays, but do they have to be done during the days when the cat is having the barfing episodes?
post #2 of 14
This excellent article explains how hairballs cause vomiting and what to do about them.
http://www.suevet.com/cat_vomiting.html

From personal experience: brush your kitty every single day. Don't ever miss a day. Never ever. Even when it's not shedding season. Thorough daily brushing helps a great deal.

If brushing and hairball medicine don't fix the problem, talk to your vet about a possible issue with motility.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you so much for that article. That is my cat, exactly! I'm glad that it appears to be a fairly normal thing. I've felt guilty about not going ahead and having x-rays done. It just seems like when I planned to have her checked out, the vomiting would disappear, and I'd think I had it beat. Since it's getting more frequent, I've gotten concerned, but she's not vomiting once a week so it sounds ok. Someone on another message board scared me saying that the vomiting can mess up her throat and digestive system, so I think I'm still going to get an xray done at her annual appointment next month, if I can afford it. I wouldn't think they'd be more than $100 or so. Violet, I've been thinking about getting a Furminator. Do those work for short-haired cats? She is shorthaired, but not really short hair. Maybe she's shedding for spring is why it's getting more frequent. I have a fine tooth comb I use on her. I was grooming her regularly, and I stopped because it didn't seem to make a difference, but maybe I should invest in a Furminator or special brush....
post #4 of 14
I've never used a Furminator brush so I don't have any personal experience with that. Maybe it will work for you. I would ask my vet about the shampoo though before using any of that. I found this just now when I looked for a little info on the brush:
http://furminatorcat.com/

Normally I just use a flea comb and a couple of other combs on my short-hairs. Get pretty good results. (And just regular combs on my long-hairs.)
post #5 of 14
PS:

I thought I'd seen a thread on the Furminator.......and sure enough, there was one. Here is the link:
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=193204
post #6 of 14
What do you feed kitty?

Cats that eat a diet of strictly dry food are more inclined to get furballs than cats who have a diet of some or all canned food as canned food contains a lot of water and the fluids help things to pass through the gastro-intestinal tract a lot easier.

Also, there are some dry foods that are specially formulated for hairball prevention. I feed my cats Eagle Pack Hairball Formula dry (along with canned food twice a day). It's helped.
post #7 of 14
Have you looked at the zoom groom brush. It's a hand held rubber brush. I have all short hairs and they love it, even those that hate being brushed.

I too mix in a hairball formula with their regular dry. They also get canned two times a day.

To help with hairball prevention, I put a tiny bit of butter out for them.
post #8 of 14
My cat has hairball issues frequently. What's helped us the most has been to be dilligent with the brushing. As someone else mentioned, daily. I've found the Zoom Groom to be the most effective brush and my kitty LOVES it. I Zoom Groom her about once a week.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2750594

After Zooming her, I use a comb with teeth that rotate. The teeth are metal and as I comb her if I come across a matted area, it helps the comb to not get snagged in her hair. I've never been able to find one of these things online and I've looked!

For daily grooming, I use something similar to this except mine isn't double sided and the comb I use has little plastic nubs on the end of the tines to keep from hurting my cat. I think it's more square, too.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...8&pcatid=14898

The other thing that's really helped has been drastically increasing her wet food portion. I add a couple of teaspoons of water to her wet food mix and that really seems to have helped with the hairball problem. But, if I see a hairball, I know it's most likely because I've not been good at brushing her.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet View Post
This excellent article explains how hairballs cause vomiting and what to do about them.
http://www.suevet.com/cat_vomiting.html

From personal experience: brush your kitty every single day. Don't ever miss a day. Never ever. Even when it's not shedding season. Thorough daily brushing helps a great deal.

If brushing and hairball medicine don't fix the problem, talk to your vet about a possible issue with motility.
My Gray One had this problem. That is what I did, groomed her every, single day and it helped a lot.
Gray One was NOT a long haired cat either, I think some cats just have a tendency for hair balls.
If daily grooming doesn't do it, I would get your kitty shaved down a few times a year.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses! I'm currently feeding Nature's Land dry food. I rotate that with a combo of Brandon Farms Organic and Purina Naturals. It's been a struggle to find one that is easily digestible and tasty. I'm trying to get away from ground corn as a top ingredient, though it's better than by-product-y foods. She was on one from Complete Pet Mart - I forget the name now, but it's high quality ingredients, $15 a bag. It didn't make a difference and Maisey didn't like it.. I've heard good things about Blue Buffalo, but their stock of it was expired (prolly because it is so $$$ no one can afford it!). I'm willing to pay if it's something that she likes and is good for her, that will help with her digestion/hairballs.

She's been on dry foods because they're less messy and I've heard they're better for teeth. I worry about tooth decay with her barfing. I'll look for the Eagle Pack - I don't recall seeing that one at Pet Mart and that is really the only good pet store in town for high quality foods. Maybe I'll try supplementing her dry food with wet and see what happens. I give her a little milk (maybe a few tbsp. a day) and a dab of petroleum jelly which is supposed to help prevent hairballs. Maybe with the addition of daily grooming, we will keep the hairballs at bay. I combed her last night and got a good amount of hair off. I should've kept up with grooming all along, but I wasn't entirely convinced that it was hairballs. I thought it was maybe my choice of food because she definitely can't take cheaper brands - they increase her barfing 10 fold. Now I'm pretty much convinced it's hairballs, but I'm commited to giving her good quality food since it can only help matters. Thanks again!
post #11 of 14
Last year my cats suffered terrible from hair balls, especially poor Jack who would hack them up at least 3 times a week

Mine are on Royal Canin Intensive Hairball 54 and it's brilliant!!.

http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/d...al_canin/14675

It eliminates hairballs twice as much as ordinary hairball kibbles, but like everyone else has said, brush, brush, brush
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
Last year my cats suffered terrible from hair balls, especially poor Jack who would hack them up at least 3 times a week

Mine are on Royal Canin Intensive Hairball 54 and it's brilliant!!.

http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/d...al_canin/14675

It eliminates hairballs twice as much as ordinary hairball kibbles, but like everyone else has said, brush, brush, brush
Ooooh, that looks like good stuff, I will remember that.
post #13 of 14
My Riley had a problem with hairballs, but now he gets the hairball food mixed with his regular brand. He also gets a nibble of cat grass every day, sometimes twice a day. It has worked miracles for him
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Ooooh, that looks like good stuff, I will remember that.
Our very own Sharky told me about it Cindy because i'd tried just about everything, and i really felt so sorry for Jack

It said on the bag you should see a result in 3 weeks, but i saw a difference in just over a week and i've never looked back.
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