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vomiting hairball - butter or vaseline?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Hobbes has been with us for just over 2 weeks now and he's had 2 hairball vomitting incidents - the 1st with food and the 2nd with a ton of clear fluid. The 2nd time was quite a lot. My vet's office suggested I give him some vaseline on his paw and he will lick it. The other option I've read is unsalted butter. When Hobbes came to us he was shedding a lot, which has decreased to a great extent now but he still sheds. Calvin is a medium hair cat and Hobbes grooms him. So I am trying to be cautious.
Can anyone share what they do as far as these hairball home remedies go? Also if I give them butter, how much should I give and how often?
Thanks a ton.
post #2 of 52
As maintenance I would say butter, but in a time of crisis like this, Vaseline works better IMHO. I suggest you give it a couple of hours from any meals or medication so the kitty can absorb the nutrients/meds. I am in the middle of a big hairball crisis - I am giving them 2ccs of Vaseline once every couple of days, straight in their mouths with a syringe - I don't even risk putting in their paws and having them not licking it. The dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp. 1 tsp is 2.5cc. If Hobbes is a kitten, give the lower dose.
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina View Post
As maintenance I would say butter, but in a time of crisis like this, Vaseline works better IMHO. I suggest you give it a couple of hours from any meals or medication so the kitty can absorb the nutrients/meds. I am in the middle of a big hairball crisis - I am giving them 2ccs of Vaseline once every couple of days, straight in their mouths with a syringe - I don't even risk putting in their paws and having them not licking it. The dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp. 1 tsp is 2.5cc. If Hobbes is a kitten, give the lower dose.
Thanks so much Carolina. I hope your kitty health issues are solved soon. I was just reading your thread and it seems you are dealing with three of your kitties with the problem. I am thinking of a regular regimen - maintainence I guess then. Both Calvin and Hobbes are about 7 months old and so I guess at acute times it will be the smaller of the doses mentioned. for your kitties
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin&I View Post
Thanks so much Carolina. I hope your kitty health issues are solved soon. I was just reading your thread and it seems you are dealing with three of your kitties with the problem. I am thinking of a regular regimen - maintainence I guess then. Both Calvin and Hobbes are about 7 months old and so I guess at acute times it will be the smaller of the doses mentioned. for your kitties
Yeah... What I decided to do for maintenance is give Vaseline, but once every 3 days on shedding season . For onow they will be getting every couple of days for a bit.
post #5 of 52
Definitely put it directly in their mouths. My finger always gets chomped - it hurts on those sharp teeth (skin never gets broken), but if you put it on a paw, they just shake it off, and then you have vaseline (or blutter) flung around everywhere. I should probably get a syringe LOL.

Both work to coat the insides AND bind the hair, which is how you get the hair out the back end when kitty's system doesn't do it naturally.

Butter doesn't interfere with the absorption of needed nutrients in food. Vaseline does. But butter is added fat - whereas the molecules in vaseline are too large to be absorbed by kitty. But use of vaseline does need to be timed, especially if you're going to use it a few days in a row, or every few days regularly as maintenance. As Carolina already pointed out, ideally you give it two hours before/after any meal.

The other thing you might consider - getting the boys enjoying being brushed. Most cats learn to LOVE it, though they're scared and/or skeptical at first. But cats LOVE having their cheeks rubbed, and a baby brush or tooth brush plays right into that, and it's easy to "graduate" from there. The furminator works MIRACLES when it comes to removing hair that would otherwise be shedding. It's a special comb - feels a little bumpy on their bones, but once they love being brushed, they love this too, and it removes the undercoat, which is what sheds.

I've definitely seen it cheaper on here - I think we paid $19 plus shipping for it. Maybe search around, or wait (especially if they don't already love being brushed). http://www.amazon.com/FURminator-deS.../dp/B000PU31MY

The other thing you can do is grow cat grass. Outside, when kitties need help passing hair, they eat grass. Most LOVE grazing on it - or you can grow it, and cut it and just let them eat it like that. We grew it when we lived in a house, and always kept a crop going - they BONKED OUT for it, and we had to keep it in the garage or they'd figure out how to get at it.
post #6 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Carolina and Laurie!
As for hairball issues, none of my kitties are constipated now. I have seen hair in Calvin's poop when he had tummy troubles (what these kitties make us do!) and but Hobbes has vomitted hairball recently. Maybe I should give him some soon.
They are not too fond of brushing - there are times they will be ok but not at others. I do have a furminator on my wish list but it will have to wait a bit. I am using the zoom groom (I think that's what it is called) and they are better with it than Calvin's old brush.
The grass is a great idea - never knew that. Will check that out
post #7 of 52
Thanks for the thread as I need advice on this too!! I am starting to have the same problem with Presley and only him. Vomiting just started over the weekend, and right after eating. Then he vomited up some liquid foam with hair strands in it. There has been no "hairball" in the vomit. This went on for two days and he has been fine today with no vomiting. I am not sure if it is a hairball or he was just feeling sick.

I did not know about the vaseline and will start him on that. Does that really help with keeping food down if you dispense the vaseline orally a couple of hours before feeding???

I too brush my cats ALOT and have a furminator. It just seems that no matter how long I furminate, more hair just keeps coming. There is no end to it There is a ton of shedding going on right now with Spring approaching. That is why I was asking about bathing cats in the grooming forum recently. I want to get the loose hair out so they don't get hairballs!!!!!
post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina View Post
As maintenance I would say butter, but in a time of crisis like this, Vaseline works better IMHO. I suggest you give it a couple of hours from any meals or medication so the kitty can absorb the nutrients/meds. I am in the middle of a big hairball crisis - I am giving them 2ccs of Vaseline once every couple of days, straight in their mouths with a syringe - I don't even risk putting in their paws and having them not licking it. The dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp. 1 tsp is 2.5cc. If Hobbes is a kitten, give the lower dose.
Will try this too. I will just measure out 1/2 tsp. and put it on my finger and then place it on the roof of Presley's mouth. YUK!!! It is reminding me of when my mother used to try to get us kids to eat cod liver oil as kids!!!! She was nuts. Are there any hairball remedies for cats you recommend, or just the vaseline??
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
The other thing you can do is grow cat grass. Outside, when kitties need help passing hair, they eat grass. Most LOVE grazing on it - or you can grow it, and cut it and just let them eat it like that. We grew it when we lived in a house, and always kept a crop going - they BONKED OUT for it, and we had to keep it in the garage or they'd figure out how to get at it.

I have always wanted to try this for my cats, the grass!!! Does that make them throw up? I know when my dogs go outside and eat grass, vomit is sure to come afterwards.
post #10 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
Will try this too. I will just measure out 1/2 tsp. and put it on my finger and then place it on the roof of Presley's mouth. YUK!!! It is reminding me of when my mother used to try to get us kids to eat cod liver oil as kids!!!! She was nuts. Are there any hairball remedies for cats you recommend, or just the vaseline??
You know, my vet told me just give straight vaseline... Just make sure it is the 100% pure white petrolatum (no fragrances, nothing added)
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina View Post
You know, my vet told me just give straight vaseline... Just make sure it is the 100% pure white petrolatum (no fragrances, nothing added)
Ok! Thanks. Alot cheaper than hairball remedies too. Does it really help with keeping food down and no vomiting if you dispense it about two hours before feeding??
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
Ok! Thanks. Alot cheaper than hairball remedies too. Does it really help with keeping food down and no vomiting if you dispense it about two hours before feeding??
It helps with absorbing the nutrients in the food. Vaseline coats the stomach/digestive tract, so no nutrients or meds will be absorbed if you feed the kitty right after it.
Because it moves the hair so well from the stomach, and intestine too), if the vomiting is related to hairball, yes, it will get rid of it.
Here at home, the vomiting completely stopped for both Gracie and Bugsy. For Lucky it took way more than Vaseline, but then she had a full on blockage - she had to have "the service" done by the vet/maintenance done at home.
I like the fact that vaseline is not absorbed at all, is cheap and has not taste - it seems to work really well on the top of it. So far it has been the best here, I am glad my vet recommended it.
post #13 of 52
It doesn't help Lazlo not throw up - but with the massive hairball problem we just went through with him, giving it to him every 3-4 days has REALLY helped prevent the problem from becoming a problem again.

And no, grass doesn't make cats throw up like dogs - just don't let them go wild eating it. We grew it in several 12" pie plates. At the time there were five (then six) of them, and we'd let them graze a plate at a time, giving them one very few days. It was hysterical watching them eat it.

The reason they vomit when they've got hairballs is when the hair accumulates in the stomach and doesn't pass... it gets "balled up," and blocks food passing from the stomach through the pylorus into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). So in some cats, they eat dry food, it expands with the digestive juices - the hairball is blocking the pylorus, and is taking up room in the stomach - and then there just isn't room for the food, so it comes right back up, undigested.

In other cats, the stomach gets to mixing, and so the hairball is moving around - so SOME food passes along out of the stomach - and the hairball blocks the pylorus - so several hours after they eat, and they end up vomiting up digested food.

...or their tummy is trying to digest the hairball, and they vomit stomach bile, because their tummies are otherwise empty.

So the BEST thing to do is prevent them to begin with, because no hairball remedy is very good at getting an already formed hairball to pass.

Lazlo and Flowerbelle are our only kitties with hairball problems. The rest seem to pass it without any problem. Flowerbelle we've had on a hairball food for over a year. She does get her wet food - but she's never been much of an eater, especially wet food, so basically now that we don't free feed, whenever she asks for food, I put down a hand full of her hairball kibbles for her.

Lazlo, on the other hand, needs either wet food or prescription dry food because of his problem with crystals. So I'm doing the vaseline as preventative-maintenance for him.

But as to hairball remedies... look at the ingredients. Almost all of them have petroleum jelly... some also have mineral oil. Others use soy oil or other oils - but the rest is generally some kind of flavoring agent. We have coconut oil (organic, cold press, first press, from fresh coconuts, not dried coconuts - you can buy Nutiva from Walmart) for Chumley's allergies - but Shelly loves it, so we let him eat a teaspoon every couple of days. (Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, which is the main ingredient in the saturated fat in breat milk. It has all kinds of anti-viral, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Anyway... ) Have no idea if it's helping prevent hairballs or not, but his coat is looking gorgeous.
post #14 of 52
I dont mean to highjack the thread but anyone use Petromalt? 4 days before Aki died the vet told me to give him a long 3-5 inch strip of it encase it was hairballs. It was enough to clean him out the next day and make stools mushy so I stopped there. Guess I'm asking if it can cause stomach duress to such a point a cat stops eating for days because of it? Really need move on and stop seconding guess myself someday.
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
And no, grass doesn't make cats throw up like dogs - just don't let them go wild eating it. We grew it in several 12" pie plates. At the time there were five (then six) of them, and we'd let them graze a plate at a time, giving them one very few days. It was hysterical watching them eat it.
NOTE TO SELF!!! Buy and grow kitty grass


Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
But as to hairball remedies... look at the ingredients. Almost all of them have petroleum jelly... some also have mineral oil. Others use soy oil or other oils - but the rest is generally some kind of flavoring agent. We have coconut oil (organic, cold press, first press, from fresh coconuts, not dried coconuts - you can buy Nutiva from Walmart) for Chumley's allergies - but Shelly loves it, so we let him eat a teaspoon every couple of days. (Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, which is the main ingredient in the saturated fat in breat milk. It has all kinds of anti-viral, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Anyway... ) Have no idea if it's helping prevent hairballs or not, but his coat is looking gorgeous.
Another note to self!!!!!! Walmart - Nutiva coconut oil. I bet it does help with hairball problems too plus all the other healthy properties. My SIL leaves out a tiny (about one tablespoon) of olive oil on the floor for her cats to lick up if they want it. I wonder if anyone knows about Olive Oil??? She said her vet recommended that.
post #16 of 52
All kitty grass has done for my kitties is cause them to throw up. I feed my kitties plain canned pumpkin to help keep all things moving along, hairballs and poop. It's worked like a charm for several years!
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
All kitty grass has done for my kitties is cause them to throw up. I feed my kitties plain canned pumpkin to help keep all things moving along, hairballs and poop. It's worked like a charm for several years!
We tried pumpkin, but they won't eat it - even small amounts hidden in food.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by madara View Post
I dont mean to highjack the thread but anyone use Petromalt? 4 days before Aki died the vet told me to give him a long 3-5 inch strip of it encase it was hairballs. It was enough to clean him out the next day and make stools mushy so I stopped there. Guess I'm asking if it can cause stomach duress to such a point a cat stops eating for days because of it? Really need move on and stop seconding guess myself someday.
I don't think talking about other hairball stuff is hijacking the thread. Petromalt is a really standard hairball remedy. It's about 50/50 petrolatum and malt syrup (a little less of each and a few % other minor things). It's roughly the same as using vaseline IMO. I don't think the petromalt caused the duress - the hairball probably did. Maybe kitty was allergic to something in it? I'm not sure what else is in it.

Petromalt was the first hairball remedy we ever purchased. Our cats all hated it. The tube went bad... by the time we needed something again, we just used vaseline.
post #19 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the information!
I was talking to Hobbes's vet the other day and mentioned the hairball issues to him. He suggested I try some fiber. He said just plain metamucil (not orange flavored). Anyone tried this and had any success?
post #20 of 52
We used that with Callie, but she had CRF. I'd try adding plain canned pumpkin before going to Metamucil. It's much cheaper and more natural. You can also use slippery elm bark, but I'll have to find the dose for that.
post #21 of 52

My 1-1/2 yr. old cat has been heaving a lot lately.  4 days ago she throws up a large hairball so I am assuming she is trying to again without success.   The last 3 days, I have given her cat lax without success.  I would like to know what the dose is for butter.  If you think Vaseline is better I could try 1 tsp. of that instead.  Thanks for your help.

post #22 of 52

From what I've read, Vasoline might work faster, but as far as dosage goes, all I'm finding is "glob" or "dollop" wink.gif

 

There are literally thousands of threads here on TCS about hairballs, so if you need more information, you might want to do additional searching.  BTW...Welcome!! 

post #23 of 52

I  give them butter even though everybody says vaseline works better, I'm a chicken , I'm afraid of giving them vaseline, specially to Lucas who is so allergic and sensitive.

post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by wussy View Post

My 1-1/2 yr. old cat has been heaving a lot lately.  4 days ago she throws up a large hairball so I am assuming she is trying to again without success.   The last 3 days, I have given her cat lax without success.  I would like to know what the dose is for butter.  If you think Vaseline is better I could try 1 tsp. of that instead.  Thanks for your help.
1 tsp is too much....
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsgreenjeens View Post

From what I've read, Vasoline might work faster, but as far as dosage goes, all I'm finding is "glob" or "dollop" wink.gif

There are literally thousands of threads here on TCS about hairballs, so if you need more information, you might want to do additional searching.  BTW...Welcome!! 
Per my vet, the correct dosage is 1cc, or 1ml; it is safe to give more, but 1cc will suffice..... people sometimes call that 1 centimeter....
Edited by Carolina - 12/28/11 at 4:37pm
post #25 of 52

Anyone sharing their homes with a kitty that has frequent hairballs might be interested in this article by DVM Fern Crist: Some Startling New Thoughts on Cats and Hairballs.

 

A few of the high points (bold highlighting from article):

 

"Cats developed stringent grooming behaviors in the course of evolution because grooming is a positive survival factor, probably through controlling parasitism  and other diseases. So they are going to ingest a lot of hair. Does vomiting as a daily method for expelling this hair seem evolutionarily sound? Stomach acid hurts the esophagus and teeth, and frequent vomiting upsets the electrolyte balance. While vomiting as an emergency mechanism to rid oneself of the occasional nastiness seems reasonable, it seems unlikely that the daily vomiting of hairballs is the “normal” thing that the medical community has assumed it to be."

 

"Why would we think that “lubrication” of the gut with petroleum products would help?  A cat is not a car.  And in no way could a cat have naturally evolved to require the dosing with “lubricants” to survive or to thrive.  Likewise, cats in the wild would never eat a “high-fiber” diet, and so would seem unlikely to benefit from one."

 

"...I think it likely that a “hairball,” far from normal, is probably a common early symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Impaired motility of the gut would account for the balling up of hair that should pass right through, if stomach-emptying time is the 0.2 – 2 hours it is reported to be in a normal cat.  A cat shouldn’t be able to swallow enough hair fast enough to outrace normal stomach emptying time."

 

I hope this helps someone! Best regards.

 

AC

post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy View Post

Anyone sharing their homes with a kitty that has frequent hairballs might be interested in this article by DVM Fern Crist: Some Startling New Thoughts on Cats and Hairballs.

 

A few of the high points (bold highlighting from article):


"...I think it likely that a “hairball,” far from normal, is probably a common early symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Impaired motility of the gut would account for the balling up of hair that should pass right through, if stomach-emptying time is the 0.2 – 2 hours it is reported to be in a normal cat.  A cat shouldn’t be able to swallow enough hair fast enough to outrace normal stomach emptying time."

 

I hope this helps someone! Best regards.

 

AC

I've seen feral cats with plenty of hairballs.  I've seen indoor cats that never had one, and cats that had one every few days.  To suggest that a hairball is any sort of abnormal event is not helpful, to my way of thinking.  Oily treatments have been shown to help, as have high-fiber diets.  Brushing the cat helps, too; it removes a lot of the loose fur that the cat would otherwise shed or swallow.
 

 

post #27 of 52

 

Originally Posted by mrblanche 

 

Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy

Anyone sharing their homes with a kitty that has frequent hairballs might be interested in this article by DVM Fern Crist: Some Startling New Thoughts on Cats and Hairballs.

 

A few of the high points (bold highlighting from article):


"...I think it likely that a “hairball,” far from normal, is probably a common early symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Impaired motility of the gut would account for the balling up of hair that should pass right through, if stomach-emptying time is the 0.2 – 2 hours it is reported to be in a normal cat.  A cat shouldn’t be able to swallow enough hair fast enough to outrace normal stomach emptying time."

 

I hope this helps someone! Best regards.

 

AC

I've seen feral cats with plenty of hairballs.  I've seen indoor cats that never had one, and cats that had one every few days.  To suggest that a hairball is any sort of abnormal event is not helpful, to my way of thinking.  Oily treatments have been shown to help, as have high-fiber diets.  Brushing the cat helps, too; it removes a lot of the loose fur that the cat would otherwise shed or swallow.


Healthy cats should vomit precisely as often as healthy humans do. Truly! Go read the article by Dr. Crist. If you're interested, I have other links I can send you, too.

 

Best regards.

 

AC

post #28 of 52

 

Widower60

 

My cat is 8.6 years old, he what the vet says domestic house cat, but I don't know his breed as he has natural aprons with shorter fur on his front legs and medium length fur on his chest and the rest of his body. He's been getting frequent hairballs sense he was 7 yrs old. oh.gif

Question is should I use Vaseline to treat him and help him not throw up so often, or do I use a no salt butter or extra virgin Olive oil three times a week? catbi.gif Or should I do a more frequent treatment to start with? catbi.gifrub.gif I'll try to get a better photo of my cat Xain and post it for everyone to see. I hope someone can help me make a good choice in treating his hairball problem. 

post #29 of 52
No, don't use hairball treats, butter, or vaseline. There are healthier alternatives:

1) A grain-free, low carb diet (as per the link Auntie Crazy posted about hairballs: http://consciouscat.net/2010/04/28/some-startling-new-thoughts-on-cats-and-hairballs/ )

What works really well is a combination of choline (egg yolks!) and egg yolk lecithin. If you aren't in the U.S. and can't find egg yolk lecithin (don't use soy lecithin: there are only two manufacturers of egg yolk lecithin; Swanson and Nature's Plus), you can use egg yolks more frequently. You can feed them cooked or raw, and how much to use depends on how much she'll eat at one time. My cats don't like the texture of egg yolk, so they only eat 1/4 egg yolk at a time, mixed with a little water, and liver powder sprinkled on top. During hairball season, some get 1/2 a capsule of egg yolk lecithin twice a day, some get 1/2 a capsule once a day, and some of the boys get a full capsule twice a day. So it depends on the cat, and how they respond to it.

The lecithin emulsifies the fat that binds the hair up in their stomachs, making it easier to pass.

The egg yolks are full of choline, which when digested has a component acetylcholine. Acetylcholine improves gastric motility, helping move the hair through.

We discuss why not to use vaseline in this thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/202671/lets-say-no-to-vaseline

And we discuss egg yolks and lecithin in this thread: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/250653/egg-lecithin-for-hairballs

This is a blog about ferrets, but the information applies to cats as well: http://www.ferretharmony.net/2013/04/27/hairballs-eat-an-egg/
post #30 of 52

I have found food grade diatomaceous earth to be an excellent solution. Diatomaceous earth (DE) consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

 

It seems to "cut up" the hairball making it pass far easier. It also acts as a natural mineral supplement, detoxifier, and natural intestinal dewormer. It will add sheen to your cat's coat, even. My cat, a long hair domestic, had severe hairballs when I started giving her DE. She passed several stools that consisted mainly of hair 3 days after starting it. Her digestive issues went away after a few days, too. To get her to eat it, I mix in 2 teaspoons into 1 tablespoon of plain organic yogurt. She LOVES it.

 

Dosage:

 

For kittens, 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon daily. For adult cats, 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons daily. Start with the smaller dosage and increase as needed.

 

I stress "food grade" DE. There are food grade and non-food grade versions. Make sure you get FOOD GRADE or you might end up putting too many toxins / poisons in your kitty.

 

This is where I get mine from: http://www.earthworkshealth.com

 

(NOTE: I am totally unaffiliated with Earthworkshealth.com in any way except being a customer.)

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