Friday, October 12, 2018

It's Shedding Season Again!

It's that time of the year when cats tend to shed their coats before the full Winter coat comes in and leave a trail of fur throughout the house. We can always tell when it's time to "drop our coat" when Mom Paula comes home and it looks like a cotton field down the hallway. We know all cats shed, but can you imagine a house with two Persian Cats will full coats who shed all the time?!? Cats also like to groom themselves and one of the dreaded side effects can be a hairball! There are some things you can do to help prevent and decrease the occurrence of hairballs.

Truffle and Brulee eating one of the Tomlyn Hairball Control Chews

I first became owned by a cat when I was in my twenties. I'd only had dogs growing up and they basically lived outside. Owning a cat and a pet who would live indoors all the time was a new experience for me. I remember being shocked the first time I walked into a room and saw this "thing" on the floor. I shrieked "OMG - what is that?" My husband laughed and told me it was a hairball. That was the first of many hairballs I would encounter over the next 40 years living with cats.

What is a Hairball?

Truffle and some shedded fur

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, a hairball is called a trichobezoar, which is a damp wad of undigested hair, moistened by bile and other digestive fluids. At first glance, a cat owner may think the hairball is feces, but if she looks closer, she will notice the odor doesn't smell like "poop", but may be a little foul because of passing from the stomach through the esophagus and the cylindrical shape is filled with fur. 

Hairballs occur because of your cat doing her daily and normal grooming. Many times, the ingested fur will past through the cat's system with little problem. However, if you have a long-haired cat, such as a Persian, there is a lot of fur to groom, especially during shedding season and there is a tendency for the fur to stay in the stomach and form a ball (aka furball). 

Dr. Guglielmino, an associate veterinarian at The Cat Doctor, a Seattle-area clinic specializing in feline health, states "It's not uncommon for a cat to "upchuck" a hairball once every week or two, and that's nothing to worry about. However, if your cat is lethargic and refuses to eat for more than a day or so, or has had repeated episodes of unproductive retching, you should consult your veterinarian without delay."  

My first Persian Cat, Sweet Praline, had the tendency to develop a blockage with her hairballs that required a visit to the veterinarian, who would usually give her a laxative and intravenous hydration to help rid her of the hairball. Luckily, she never required surgery! My current Persian Cats do cough up hairballs on a regular basis, but they've never had a blockage. 

A blockage from a hairball can be a life threatening situation. If you notice your cat exhibiting the following symptoms, you should get her to the veterinarian immediately.

  • Ongoing vomiting, gagging, retching, or hacking without producing a hairball.
  • Lack of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

Preventing Hairballs

Brulee checks out some of the Tomlyn products that help prevent hairballs

You can't stop your cat from grooming, but what can you do to keep hairballs at a minimum?

  1. Groom Your Cat on a Regular Basis
You should get your cat accustomed to regular grooming at an early age to help remove excess fur. The frequency of grooming and the type of tools needed depends on the type of coat your cat has. Truffle and Brulee are Silver Shaded Persian Cats with thick and long fur that tends to shed year-round. They are groomed with a wide-tooth metal comb (Greyhound-type), a wire pin brush, and a slicker brush. Some cats only need to be groomed once a week, but Persian Cats tend to need daily grooming (sometimes throughout the day). The girls don't really like grooming, but I work with them slowly each grooming session and can comb/brush them, as needed. Brulee has an extra thick coat which mats and sheds easily and she has very tender skin. I usually use a greyhound-type comb with her and a slicker brush that has bristles that don't feel sharp.  Truffle's fur is a little longer and requires a comb with long teeth that can get through to the dense undercoat. Brushes don't work well on many Persian Cats because the bristles can't get down into the undercoat and just skims the surface of the fur.

    2. Take Your Cat to a Professional Groomer 
If a cat owner has a cat with long and thick fur and the cat doesn't allow the owner to groom her, she should be taken to the veterinarian or a reputable groomer for a haircut once or twice a year. Many Persian cat owners will give their cats a "lion cut" if they have difficult-to-groom cats. My previous Persian cat was taken to a groomer who specialized in cats. The groomer knew how to work with Persian Cats and my cat was very comfortable with her. In fact, my previous cat loved to be groomed. Truffle and Brulee haven't gone to a groomer because I can't find one who specializes in cats who lives near me.  I wouldn't want to shave my girls' fur unless it was absolutely necessary. Some people with Persian Cats will get a sanitary-clip to keep the anal region free from fur where feces can stick and cause cats to lick more to keep themselves clean.

    3. Feed a Specialized Hairball Formula Cat Food

There are many cat food brands available that can help reduce the amount of hairballs. According to VetInfo, the fat content of hairball control food aids in digestion. This food is usually low in fat, which helps decrease insoluble substances in the stomach and intestines. Make sure the hairball-control food has the appropriate nutrients and at least 8% fiber. One of the downsides of feed a hairball-control dry cat food is that is usually contains higher levels of vegetable fiber. This higher level of fiber can possibly cause cystitis or urinary bladder inflammation, which could lead to bladder stones. The additional fiber requires more urine to process and expel from the cat's body, which can also put them at a higher risk for dehydration. If you feed your cat dry kibble, it's extremely important to have plenty of fresh water available for your cat to drink.
Some cat owners will add a teaspoon of canned pumpkin or canned squash to their cat's daily diet to help prevent hairballs. 

   4. Use a Hairball Product or Laxative

There are a number of different hairball products available today that can help hairballs pass through the digestive tract. Many of these products are mild laxatives. These products can be given on a daily basis (during shedding season) or weekly to help prevent hairballs. The products we've found to be most effective are available from Tomlyn.

Tomlyn Hairball Remedies 

Photo courtesy Tomlyn®

Hairball Remedy Gel - Laxatone®

I began using Laxatone® (a Tomlyn product) to help eliminate hairballs with Praline because she had hairballs so frequently along with some blockages. She liked the smell of the original formula and the taste, but once the gel got into her mouth, she didn't like the texture. I was able to lay her on her back, open her mouth, and place a swab of the gel on the back of her tongue. Laxatone has come a long way with their flavors by now offering Tuna, Maple, and Catnip. Truffle and Brulee love the Catnip flavor. Tomlyn's Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats (Laxatone) is used for prevention and elimination of hairballs in cats. The product works by lubricating ingested hair which allows it to pass in the stool. Laxatone contains several common gentle lubricants including petrolatum, light mineral oil, and soybean oil. When beginning to use Laxatone, owners should give 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of Hairball Remedy daily for 2-3 days. After the initial administration, cats should receive 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon 2-3 times a week. You can place the gel on the cat's nose or paw to stimulate licking. Truffle and Brulee love the flavor so much, they will lick the gel directly from the tube.

Tomlyn Laxa-Stat™

The Tomlyn Laxa-Stat Hairball Remedy Cat Supplement is a hairball lubricant in a tasty gel form. It's gentle, but effective, in helping eliminate and prevent hairballs. This formula is palatable and has a great taste, which can be ideal for the finicky, aged, or ailing cats. I'd never tried the Laxa-Stat with the girls until we were sent a sample from Tomlyn. The girls LOVE it! 

Natural Hairball Remedy - Laxatone®

The Natural Hairball Remedy Gel is also used for prevention and elimination of hairballs in cats. This product also gently lubricates ingested hair so it can pass through in the stool. The difference is in the ingredients, such as soybean oil (active), that are used in the product. Inactive ingredients include Beeswax, Chamomile, Chicken Flavor, Cod Liver Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Oil, Lecithin, Maple Flavor, Methylcellulose, Sorbitol, Soy Protein, Vitamin E. The gel is chicken flavor and should be shaken prior to use. I haven't tried this with the girls yet because we are still using the Laxa-Stat, but I'm sure they will enjoy this as much as the other products.

Hairball Remedy Chews - Laxatone®

Truffle and Brulee love treats and the Hairball Remedy Chews seemed an obvious choice for them to help prevent and eliminate hairballs. These chews include mineral oil, soy lecithin, and aloe vera gel which help to gently lubricate ingested hair so it will pass through in the stool. Canola oil lubricates hairballs and is rich in Omega-3 and-6 Fatty Acids which help maintain a healthy skin and coat. Cats who weigh under 10 pounds can be fed one treat daily and those weighing over 10 pounds should receive 2 treats daily. These chews are a little larger than what I normally give the girls, so I break it into pieces when feeding them. The girls love these chews and I usually mix one of the chews in with their treats on a daily basis to help with the hairballs. I just began feeding them these chews on a regular basis and I'm hoping it will help the girls during this heavy shedding season.


Tomlyn began when an entrepreneurial vet, Tom, and his wife, Lyn, decided to create a line of nutritional supplements, dermatological treatments, and shampoos for cats, dogs, and horses that would outperform everything else available. They created Tomlyn which became a new standard in product quality, efficacy, and consistency making them among the first specialty healthcare products for cats, dogs, and horses. The are a members of the National Animal Supplement Council. Tomlyn believes if they maintain a strong, clear focus on doing what is medically right for pets with on-staff veterinarian oversight, the formulas created will be of similar level of science of those recommended by and sold in veterinary offices.

Mom Paula was able to meet with representatives of Tomlyn at Global Pet Expo and BlogPaws this past year. In fact, she gave an impromptu Facebook live talk about how much she loved one of the Tomlyn products for Truffle (https://www.facebook.com/TomlynPets/videos/1855870141150331/) and was interviewed by Tomlyn while at BlogPaws (https://www.facebook.com/TomlynPets/videos/1856775914393087/). 

You can find out more about the Tomlyn products by visiting them on their webpage, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube

Brulee licks her tongue from the delicious flavors of the Tomlyn® Hairball Remedy Products


We're excited to announce that four of our readers have the opportunity to win a package of the Hairball Remedy Chews and a Gel (of choice) from Tomlyn.  No purchase necessary. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States 18+ years, except where prohibited by law. The giveaway will run from October 12 - 21, ending at 11:59pm ET. Four winners will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter (powered by Random.org) and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prizes; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be randomly chosen. To qualify for the giveaway, a comment must be left on our blog post.  Other entry options are available after a comment is left.  Please check your email and be sure to add sweetpurrfections@sc.rr.com to your address book!  Good luck!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I try to brush Marceline regularly to get rid of excess hair

  2. My cats tend to go through spurts of when they get a lot of furballs and when they don't. I've tried a couple of different products that didn't really work for them. I have also used fish oil, which has helped some. My senior girl, Moko, has medical issues and one of the things she's getting from them is that she sheds more than before - and she tends to groom herself more than before. I really would like to prevent any furballs with her more than any of my furbabies.

  3. Because I get full show baths twice a month, and when I do Pet Me Cat or other appearances, I'm groomed frequently throughout the day, hairballs are pretty rare for me! Boodie, our fluffiest family member has them most often, and my human tries to keep up with combing her to keep her from ingesting too much fur.

  4. 2 out of my 3 cats seem to always get hairballs no matter how much I try to groom them. I've read a lot about the Tomlyn products and have wanted to give them a try. I have tried a couple other brands of chews and only 1 of my cats would eat them and they seemed to help her but she got sick of them after a couple of weeks.

  5. allison.nell@yahoo.com would love to try these for my cats!

  6. Hairballs are not fun! Most of us use Laxatone except Sister Zoe can't have it because of the sugar.

  7. I make sure I brush my cat often.

  8. These ook like great products. I have been trying to furminate often to avoid hairballs, especially on the long haired kitties.

  9. Those products look amazing and helpful, I wish they had existed when I had 3 cats and was also cleaning up after them

  10. My Treeno would eat the whole tube of the natural version if I let him. Of course as a groomer I heartily recommend a regular bath and blowout as well as daily brushing.

  11. Good info - brushing is very important. Most of our furbabies love it, but there are some that require cunning, gymnast-like contortions and lots of bribes!

  12. I dread shed season. I don't care about the fur everywhere or the clouds of fur that come off the cats when I pet them - but Bear's been having such a tough time with hairballs and I imagine it isn't comfortable for him. During shed season, I up the Furminator to every other day. I can only imagine how bad things would be if I didn't do that.

  13. I didn't know that dogs could get hairballs too but a foster dog taught me that! He didn't have them frequently but maybe we should have given him some hairball remedies.

  14. Luckily I love to be brushed and beg Mom Peggy a LOT for her to!

  15. Regular grooming helps. But, hairballs are almost impossible to avoid.

  16. Ahhh...shedding season is something we are quite familiar with having Siberian Huskies! So bad this year, my boy even hacked up a hairball! Now that's a first for us! Maybe they have a K9 formula?!

  17. Interesting how it seems that different critters keep different shedding season. Our guys always tend to shed the most in August. Which I find weird - too late for summer and too early for Winter.

  18. Thanks for sharing this post on hairballs. We at home have tried many things during the shedding season. We may get one or two hairballs a month from our little ones. Going to have to try these products. Your video was just perfect and they really enjoyed it. Have a great rest of your day.
    World of Animals

  19. I brush her as often as possible and keep everything as clean as possible.

  20. I buy him hairball formula cat food.

  21. I just groom her as much as i can

  22. I brush my cat often, but I think I will try some of these products to see if they help her too. Thank you for the info!

  23. Being completely honest I hadnt seen it until this year. We have two cats that are getting worse this year than last.

  24. We try and brush them. Thank you

  25. I brush my cat and get hairball treatment food.

  26. OMC! Just saw that I was one of the winners! Cool!


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