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Stray with bad hairball problems

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi!

There is a very long haired stray I feed who is friendly. He lets me brush him, but no matter what I do he gets massive hairballs often and he vomits up food and saliva and gags quite often but the hairball hardly comes up. This happens each and every week. When it does come up, it's massive almost as big as a golf ball!

This cat constantly drinks lots of water and is always eating grass each and every day. But each week he always seems to try to cough up more hairballs. His appetite is good and he is not underweight at all.

He eats grass and drinks plenty of water, and I even tried giving some hairball treats, but it hasnt helped. Is there something I can buy for him in the pet store to help, like some sort of gel to give him to move the hairballs along? I have a Petco and Petsmart by me.
post #2 of 12
Hello and Welcome to TCS!!!!! Yes, we were all just discussing hairballs on the Health forum. Vaseline!!!! I just started giving my cats a 1/2 tsp. three times a week. Just 100% pure petroleum jelly vaseline. If you can and he will let you, can you put it directly in his mouth? If not, you can mix it with a tiny bit of wet food and gravy, not a full meal though. You want the vaseline to coat the digestive track. Poor baby, the long-haired cats have such a coat on them and with Spring shedding coming on, lots of hairball troubles. Thank you for caring for this cat!
post #3 of 12
I wonder if there's an infestation of worms - causing the vomit?

Vaseline - personally, I wouldn't give my cat vaseline - although it does seem to be a remedy supported by many.

Here's an interesting excerpt from an article: http://www.suite101.com/content/prev...in-cats-a72301
Quote:
Both mineral oil and Vaseline are effective hairball remedies, but they should be used with caution. Many owners give their cats mineral oil by mouth as a hairball remedy, but this can have deadly consequences. Cats may accidentally inhale the mineral oil, which can lead to death. A teaspoon of mineral oil can be added to an adult cat's food once or twice a week but should never be force-fed.

Vaseline (also known as petroleum jelly) is safer, and many cats will eat it voluntarily. However, both mineral oil and Vaseline interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which can lead to serious deficiencies if used regularly on a long-term basis, though they should cause no problems if used occasionally or for a short time. Half a teaspoon of Vaseline once or twice a week should be sufficient to treat hairballs. If the cat won't eat it voluntarily, it can be rubbed onto his paws so that he will lick it off.
I think the problem with inhalation of either of these two remedies could be deadly, IMO. (Not good for humans to inhale, either. )

Feeding wet food, (canned food) is very helpful, too - dry food contains only 7-10% of water, where canned food has closer to 78% of water. Some professionals say that the cat may be drinking a lot of water, but that, on dry, the cat consumes only 1/2 the amount of water they need for good health.

I've found, from experience, that as long as I'm feeding 95% wet (canned) food that I have no problems with hairballs.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
The cat eats both wet and dry food.

I'm worried about what everyone said. First off I cannot get anything in his mouth, and being he is outside trying to get it on his paws when he can just run away if he gets nervous makes it harder to do, he could run through something and all of it will come off. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it might take some time.

Being he is outside if something happened after eating it like a reaction I cant really do much about it a vet will not treat a stray here, so that makes me nervous.

There is no more natural treatment you can buy? I heard something about canned pumpkin or flax seed, but I am not sure if that is true.
post #5 of 12
Butter, coconut oil, or olive oil can help grease the hairballs through. Not as effective as the other remedies but many cats will eat those things of their own accord. Worth a try anyway.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Butter he will like, is it ok in small amounts as I dont want to upset his stomach with the milk.
post #7 of 12
I would say no on the butter and vege. oils as those get absorbed and just add fats and caloric intake. Hairball gel, mineral oil and petroleum jelly do not get absorbed in the system and therefore coat and help lubricate so the hairball can pass.

I would just mix 1/2/tsp of vaseline with a very tiny amount of wet food/gravy and the cat will just lick it up. You could use mineral oil too.
post #8 of 12
A long-time, very experienced rescuer in a discussion of hairballs in the health forum recently said that she uses lard purchased from a Mexican specialty food store. The reason she buys Mexican lard in particular is because it is pure animal fat.

I expect he wouldn't protest eating that!
post #9 of 12
Butter and lard are basically the same thing. . .sure, some of it may be absorbed (fat is good for cats, and, although too many calories could be a problem for some cats, the amount given shouldn't be a huge issue), but it has worked for my cats to help them pass hairballs . So I guess some does grease up the proper cat parts.

If someone wants to try lard, make sure to get the pure stuff from a Mexican grocery. The usual commercially-available stuff is partially hydrogenated (trans fats) and has additives.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
Butter and lard are basically the same thing. . .sure, some of it may be absorbed (fat is good for cats, and, although too many calories could be a problem for some cats, the amount given shouldn't be a huge issue), but it has worked for my cats to help them pass hairballs . So I guess some does grease up the proper cat parts.

If someone wants to try lard, make sure to get the pure stuff from a Mexican grocery. The usual commercially-available stuff is partially hydrogenated (trans fats) and has additives.
Yeah, I have heard of some people saying butter, olive oil works for their cats. In fact, my SIL sets out a very tiny dish of olive oil for her senior cat to lick up. The thing is with hairballs is that we want to coat the insides to make them slippery, and butter and vege oils are absorbed and won't do that. But I guess the butter mixed in the tummy with the cat's food would help to make it more greasy to help the hair pass through!!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I ended up finding a gel at Petsmart to help with hairballs, the cat loves the taste so i'll have to wait and see if it works!
post #12 of 12
Sounds good! Glad the cat is eating the remedy! Hope this helps
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