How to build a better furball gakking machine?
August 29, 2009 3:27 PM   Subscribe

My kitty has hairballs.

She's at the vets after a bout of vomiting up everything she swallowed. They suspect her works are clogged up by a hairball after the x-rays and, bloodwork. I've been feeding her Royal Canine Intense Hairball something or other, she gets cat grass often plus other treats. She despises those petroleum jelly masquerading as *mmm good* malt treats and, rubs the stuff off her paw onto the furniture, the walls ... she refuses to lick it off. Doesn't like butter either. Did I mention she's fussy? She gets brushed a few times a week, she needs it being a long haired cat.

I thought I had all bases covered, but apparently not. Is there anything else I can do/give to her to prevent this from happening again?
posted by squeak to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ask your vet to give you some medicine syringes with a wide enough gauge for Petromalt or whatever to squeeze through. You'll be able to give her a squirt in the back of her mouth, and she won't have much choice but to swallow.

You may also want to have her shaved down once or twice, to give her time to return to equilibrium, intestinally.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:36 PM on August 29, 2009

they also make hairball treatments that aren't based on petroleum. i use this one, made from soybean and other plant oils. it's got some catnip in it too. my cat will begrudgingly lick it off her paw, but before that i tried mixing it in to her food. maybe try the food method?
posted by apostrophe at 4:38 PM on August 29, 2009

We used to have a cat who would shake medicine off her paw, so we started smearing it on her side or on her back. She was greatly annoyed for a minute or two, but would get right to work licking it off. We've also had to shut cats in a laundry room or bathroom until they've licked off the medicine, just to spare the carpets and furniture.

But yeah, definitely talk to your vet.
posted by corey flood at 4:59 PM on August 29, 2009

Ah the joy of hairballs. I use Petromalt - no idea why there are several hairball meds out there malt flavored, because none of my cats ever really liked that taste. So I mix the stuff from the tube into a small can of cat food and stir the stuff up like crazy. I've found I also have to watch the cat as he eats to make sure he doesn't eat it too quickly. Such that I sometimes give him half to be sure he eats slowly, then give him the rest about 5 min later. I also have him on Iams Hairball/Weight Control food - he doesn't need the weight part, but the hairball stuff in his dry food seems to help, along with the weekly wet food with Petromalt added.

(I didn't know Royal Canin made hairball food - I really should switch him to that, it's got really quality ingredients. (I worked for a pet store chain once, it shows, huh?) He's always loved it in the past. And he's picky too - for his dry food if he doesn't like the shape of the food he'll bat it out of the bowl and play with it rather than eat it. Pesky cat. I'll have to go actually look at the stuff in the store to figure out the size of the food and guess whether he'll play with it.)

Oh what I used to do with a cat that I couldn't get to take the hairball treatment - I'd take the suggested amount, put it on my hand, then rub it into the cat's fur in an area on his upper front foot (in a patch a little larger than a quarter). And then of course follow him around the house to make sure he didn't rub it off on carpet or furniture as he was washing it off and glaring at me. It's much easier to give in wet food I've found. But cats will wash off anything that gets on them, so it's a quick, if smelly and sneaky, way to get them to take the med.
On preview - what corey flood said!
posted by batgrlHG at 5:14 PM on August 29, 2009

(Oh the watching the cat eat part in first paragraph - I do so because he seems to go through phases where he will eat too fast and then try to throw up the hairball and food. Not pleasant.)
posted by batgrlHG at 5:15 PM on August 29, 2009

Canned pumpkin is a popular home hairball remedy - about a teaspoon daily, either mixed into food or as a separate treat. A lot of cats love the taste, so if you can't get her to take Petromalt, that might be a good alternative.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:33 PM on August 29, 2009

Have you tried plain petroleum jelly? It might be the flavoring that your cats don't like. I have owned several cats, including my two current cats, who absolutely love to lick the plain stuff off of my fingers. We actually had to start hiding the jar from them because they figured out how to get the lid off.
posted by macska at 6:36 PM on August 29, 2009

Just to provide the the other side of the coin, our cats will try to climb your leg to get to the petromalt. They love the stuff.
posted by advicepig at 6:46 PM on August 29, 2009

The joys of having a long-haired cat in one's life....

This summer she's been shedding A LOT. And to make matters worse, she hates every CatLax I can find. I've been considering shaving her for the summers too--she just gets so miserable if I don't keep up on her CatLax.

At first I used to just smear some on her, she hates that, but she licks it off every time.

Lately I've taken to mixing some up with a little tuna in with her dry food. She gets so excited by the tuna that she doesn't even notice the Laxatone.

Good luck!
posted by Zoyashka at 7:13 PM on August 29, 2009

macska, I've tried. But anything on her paws and, she runs off like I've offended her delicate furry sensibilities and, she soo obstinate about it! If I don't wash the paw it'll stay there for days untouched. We played a battle of wills over this issue once, I lost - heh.

I'll try tricking her first, try the other hairball remedies (I tried the stuff by Hartz), if all else fails I'll employ my opposable thumbs and, force feed it to her. Don't want her to go through this again.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Oh! batgrlHG its called Intense Hairball 34. It made a huge difference in the number of wet surprises I'd find around the house.
posted by squeak at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

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