Have you tried butter/margarine? Just a dab from your finger or on your cat's paw to lick off 2 or 3 times a week might be enough. If your cat will eat it, it is worth a try. But, I have also read on this site about members who have said the butter has not been effective for them. I have used Temptations Hairball Control treats for years and Feeby, who is short haired, still loves them after all this time. But if she goes through an over-grooming spell, she needs more than just those treats. So, I supplement with some butter.
I second the suggestion for egg yolk. That article also has a recipe for making your own egg yolk powder or a link to buy theirs. It is much easier to keep up with the small quantities you'll give with powdered egg yolk versus fresh or hard boiled.
- If you feed dry food, it's dehydrating and potentially inflammatory. Often hairballs are an early sign of developing gut motility issues like IBD. The best first step here would be to transition him to an all wet food diet if that's not what he's already on. Timed feeders can be used to stave off the 4am paw in the face. Mostly. Sometimes Krista would paw me because she knew I could pop the feeder open for her.
- Smaller meals more frequently may also help. Hairballs are hair that get bound up with fat in his stomach. Smaller meals means less fat in his stomach at any given time. You'll have to give him more meals to make up for the smaller size so that he doesn't lose nutrition. Instead of feeding him twice a day, you can split breakfast and dinner into two meals each separated by a few hours to give him a chance to empty his stomach off the first meal before the next one. With Krista, I did 6am, 9am, 6pm, 10pm. In her last year or so, I added daytime and overnight meals via timed feeders because she would barf stomach acid if she had to go too long without a meal.
- A little hunger is good for cats, though. If you always have dry food out for nibbles or free-feeding, then he won't have the hunger pangs (normal gut contractions) that help move food and ingested hair along.
no dry for a number of years. usually 1 oz of food at a time. Wish Alnutrin made or sold yolk powder as I use their supp for the home made food O gets. We eat enough eggs here that a little inconvenience of measurement may be OK.
I eat eggs daily myself. But unless you are cracking an egg before you feed him or he likes the stuff well enough to eat it whenever you're eating it, it becomes inconvenient to crack an egg for less than an egg's worth of yolk. That site does have a recipe for making your own powder. It's not necessary to buy theirs. But I frequently tell myself to start where I'm at and earn my next level of convenience. After you've cracked a few eggs to give him a teaspoon of yolk, I'm sure you'll appreciate the value of having a powder; either homemade or ordered through their website.
Egg yolk can have a laxative effect. Start with a single low dose (half a teaspoon of fresh? maybe an 1/8 tsp of powdered), once a day, and let the litterbox be your guide about whether you can proceed to a higher or more frequent (part of every meal) dose. It may take a few weeks to determine how much he needs and whether it will work for him at all. Some cats need an additional egg yolk lecithin extract supplement.