Cats spend a lot of time with grooming their fur, during which they swallow large quantities of
hairs. The ingested hairs accumulate in the stomach and build hair balls, which are usually discharged
through their excrements or vomited, while vomiting is usually accompanied by choking
impulses, slobbering or cough. The hair balls can also get trapped in the gastrointestinal system
and cause digestive disorder.
Owners often do not want to see their cats vomit, so that they seek options to prevent hairball
building. The food industry produces various kinds of delicacies, pills, pastes or feeds. In the present
study a newly developed product was tested which should improve the excretion of ingested
hairs, due to its fiber content.
For this purpose, eight healthy cats from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna were
tested, divided into two groups. The test was arranged as a cross-over-study. After three days of
pre-feeding, a ten-day collection period followed, when the feces of the cats were collected daily.
After a break of one week the two groups were switched.
The excrements were optically evaluated, based on the scale of the Royal Canin Research Center
and, in addition, the dry matter was determined. The freeze-dried feces were rubbed by hands and
the isolated hairs were weighed on special scales. The bodyweight of the cats was also controlled
throughout the whole study.
The cats showed no problems to eat their feed mixed with the tested substance.
The feces analyzed according to the scale of the Royal Canin Research Center revealed that, on
average, there was only a small difference between the test group and the control group. It is
noticeable that more cats of the test group came up with a score of 4.00 and 5.00, which results in
softer, not formed or liquid feces.
There is almost no difference in the feces dry matter of both groups, though the test group
showed slightly higher dry-matter properties.
The amount of the hairs weighed showed that, on average, the test groups feces contained 71.3
mg more hairs/testing period (10 days). This seems to indicate that the tested substance slightly
enhances the excretion of ingested hairs through excrements.