It doesn’t really matter what your personal opinion is on who created us and our beautiful beasts, but whomever did, why in the world would they design a creature that wears a fur coat, eats prey that wear fur coats, but can’t digest fur!?

The answer is, they wouldn’t.

So then what’s up with this wheezing and hacking and coughing? Not to mention the lovely feeling when you are walking to the washroom in the middle of the night and you step on that squishy mess that seeps up between your toes.

Many cats, including large wild cats, get fur balls, but the major differences are how often, their the ability to evacuate them, and if they cause them stress, discomfort or “disease”…

What Exactly are Fur Balls? 

All cats groom themselves, but not all cats end up hacking up wads of hair. 

Normally, the hair your cat may accidentally swallow will pass through into the faeces and be pooped out as usual.

However, sometimes you’ll encounter a tube-shaped glob in bile. And that’s a fur ball. It’s that shape because it has gathered up in the oesophagus. 

What about the ones that are more like little balls of fur? This occurs when the hair reaches the stomach, but doesn’t leave it, and then the shape is more round. Those strands of hair in liquid (clear, frothy, or yellow liquid) are not hairballs, they’re “vomit with hair.”

Why the Fur Balls to Begin With?

If your cat is plagued by fur balls, then more than likely he or she is over shedding. This can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Excessive Bathing
  • Allergies
  • Fleas
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Medications
  • Stress

… but in my experience the number one reason is not feeding a species appropriate diet.

Your Cat’s Diet Matters

The consumption of healthy fur from your cat’s prey of rodents, etc.. is actually very healthy. It contains amino acids, keratin, melanin, and protein!! This builds healthy skin and hair coats.

Most cats nowadays are not going outside, therefore they are unable to hunt and eat what they were built to consume. There is hope for them still and that comes in the form of a species appropriate raw diet. The amino acid profile in raw meat is very similar to your cat’s cell receptors, allowing them to produce healthy skin and fur cells which lead to less shedding equals less fur balls. It also creates a more acidic ph in the gut, leading to an easier breakdown of the fur that is consumed. This means that if they do get a fur ball now and then, it is easily evacuated and does not cause them discomfort. It’s a win-win situation!

A raw food diet can also aid in the other issues that contribute to fur balls, such as over-grooming, allergies, stress and poor nutrition that can be caused by processed food diets, even the “high quality” ones.

No Raw Meat Please?

If raw food is just not going to happen for your feline friend, then the next best thing is a good quality canned with NO grains to provide hydration. This is vitally important for cats because their means of hydration is through digestion of blood in their food – NOT by drinking water! Look for a canned food that uses human grade proteins (and NOT slaughterhouse waste!) and no fillers such as corn, wheat, or soy.

Next, get yourself an awesome digestive enzyme and a pre and probiotic… add it to your cat’s canned food each time he or she eats. This will help to assist with your cat’s ability to digest and easily move the fur he or she is consuming.

Allowing your cat to eat like a cat can make them so much happier and healthier – not to mention less stressful for you! 

This blog first appeared on the Adored beast Apothecary website.

Julie Anne Lee, DCH, RcsHOM, is a qualified veterinary practitioner and graduate of the Vancouver Academy of Homeopathy. She has studied with some of the world’s leading homeopaths, including UK vets Sue Armstrong, Mark Elliot, Peter Gregory and John Saxton. She is an Associate Member of the British Association of Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, BAHVS. Julie Anne is the founder and owner of the Adored beast Apothecary, where she formulates holistic pet care products and is currently working with a university on a canine cancer research project. She has also been the owner and practitioner of some of the busiest and long-standing holistic veterinary hospitals and clinics in North America, and regularly teaches on veterinary courses. 

Growing up helping in her mother’s animal rescue shelter planted seeds early on of what would rapidly and passionately grow into Julie Anne’s life purpose; a deep caring and protection for animals and their health, while educating the public and veterinarians at large to empower them to make the best choices for the ethical treatment and naturally holistic approaches to their healthcare. 

Julie Anne is also a pioneer in studying the dog’s microbiome and developing protocols for optimising gut health – all part of a rapidly expanding picture and understanding of the crucial role the microbiome plays in the health of all our animals and ourselves. In furthering a truly holistic approach to pet care, Julie Anne works with vets and practitioners from all over the world.

In June 2020, Julie Anne was inspired to organise The Science of Nature event which brought together some of the world’s best holistic vets, practitioners and healers to discuss solutions to the stress experienced by our animals and ourselves during times of lockdown. A follow on magazine, The Science of Nature, was also produced. See here for more details, watch the videos and read the magazine. 

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website