As you would have noticed, cats spend a considerable amount of time grooming their coat. If excessive hair is swallowed (for instance in long-haired cats or in cats that over groom) then hair may build up over time in the stomach to form a hairball. Cats with a hairball will often retch or vomit to try to eliminate it.
If a cat is suspected of having a hairball then paraffin oil-based feline laxatives (eg Cat-Lax, Laxapet) can be given to try to get the fur to pass through the gut.
However, these should not be given over extended periods of time as they can lead to a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins.
With cats that are prone to hairballs, frequent brushing can reduce the amount of hair that is swallowed.
This is often not sufficient and in these cats the most suitable means of control is to put them on a diet of special hairball control biscuits, which we have available. These
biscuits have increased amounts of vegetable fibre, which helps to move fur through the digestive tract. Cats fed a hairball control diet pass 80% more hair in their faeces compared to cats on a normal dry food. There are hairball control diets available for adult, senior and overweight cats.
The biscuits should be given as the vast majority of the cat’s diet.