Help for Hairballs

A feline behaviorist explains how hairball remedies help cats deal with hairballs.

By Pam Johnson-Bennett

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Kitten Eating -- Cat Hairball Medicine
Hairball formula food for cats contains high fiber to push mass through a cat's intestines.
Q: I have a few questions about hairball medicine:
  • How does hairball medication work?
  • Is a food formulated to help prevent hairballs better?
  • If it is petroleum based, does the hairball medicine work its way through the hairball and break or dissolve it, or does it just help it pass?
  • Do olive oil work or butter work to help hairballs?
A: Hairball formula food contains higher amounts of fiber that help push the intestinal contents through the system smoothly. This food also contains specific enzymes that help prevent hairballs from forming in the stomach in the first place.

See how cat treats can help hairballs and other illness >>

Hairball gel or paste contains mineral oil or petroleum jelly because that is not absorbed in the system and therefore helps lubricate so the hairball will pass easily. It should not be given with food therefore, so it won't interfere with normal nutrition.

Learn more about cat digestion essentials >>


Butter is not a good idea because that is absorbed and will add to the cat's fat and caloric intake. Vegetable oils are also not a good idea. Polyunsaturated fats gets absorbed although they are not used by the cat and so it again adds to the caloric intake.

Check out other cat hairball causes and cures >>
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Reader Comments

Carol    Silver Spring, MD

4/18/2013 11:30:19 PM

Excellent explanations.

Michalle    Portland, OR

4/30/2012 1:38:02 PM

This is good information on what to use to prevent hairballs.

E    Attleboro, MA

9/1/2008 12:01:39 AM

thanks for the info

janet    bethlehem, PA

5/5/2008 4:54:59 PM

very interesting thanks for the info

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