Melissa here: Meet Hooligan, my 6 year old male tuxedo cat. Despite his handsomeness, he is an experienced trouble-maker and picky! but also an incredibly loving little guy.
I’d like to share Hooligan’s story; I believe that my experiences might help a few of you with your own beloved kitties.
Hooligan has been transitioning from grain-free canned food to Raw by Bailey Blu for about 6 months now. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride and a great learning experience. Hooligan is a typical picky cat and while he was happily eating raw for a few weeks, he decided to boycott raw in favor of Nature Variety’s Instinct canned, and is currently doing fabulously on it. Raw is a work in progress.
But this is what I really wanted to talk about: Hooligan has recently been suffering from terrible hairballs and hair loss above his eyes. Cats who eat a grain free diet of canned or raw food are known to shed significantly less than cats who are fed a lower quality dry food, so I was at a loss. Where was all this fur coming from?! After much personal research and trial and error, I discovered that his hairball problem was a result of over grooming due to separation anxiety. And while the occasional hairball is of little concern, cats are not meant to vomit hairballs regularly. In a healthy cat, hairballs should be passed through their stool.
I noticed a pattern. Despite being in a house with other loving humans, dogs and cats, every time I would leave Hooligan for longer than 3 days, he would stop eating, start to excessively groom and as a result, BOOM, giant hairballs again. He was uncomfortable and I was over my head in worry; the size of these hairballs was ridiculous.
I have since done a few things to help deal with the physical aspects of the hairball situation (still working on the anxiety part):
First I made sure that I was regularly combing him and Ruby (my female cat) getting rid of any excess hair.
I also found that feeding him 3-4x a day helps.
I’ve also started giving him our Slippery Elm supplement 2x a week mixed with his canned food. This has helped tremendously. Although he has the occasional hairball, it is not gigantic and the ones he doesn’t puke are passed through his stool like a healthy cat!
Probiotics and digestive enzymes have been key. This gives his digestive system a helping hand when sorting out the good bacteria vs. the bad - providing good gut flora!
And in about a week I will start adding in some Egg Yolk Lecithin. It’s an entirely all-natural product that is meant to break down the hairball itself, so that it can be easily passed through the stool. I’ll let you guys know how it goes once I start! I’m really hoping the Egg Yolk Lecithin will be my knight in shining armor.
But while Hooligan still gets hairballs, they are becoming fewer and farther between. He is a MUCH happier, lively and playful kitten. I can’t wait to get him back on raw so he can benefit as much as Ruby, my female kitten, does!