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Dr.Beth, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Graduate of the University of Minnesota
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What is high in fiber for my cat to take for hairballs which

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What is high in fiber for my cat to take for hairballs which she might be having trouble passing. Is flax seed OK for a cat? How about Oat Bran?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 7 years ago.

I find that the most palatable thing to add to a cat's diet to increase fiber is canned pumpkin. You can start by adding 1/2 a TBSP to each meal. You can slowly increase the amount you add until the stools are soft but still formed. Oat bran might be a bit too rough for most cats. Flax seed oil is fine for cats, but a bit expensive (and it goes bad quickly once you open the bottle) so if the pumpkin does not work, you could add a teaspoon of olive oil or fish oil to meals to try to lubricate the stools. Also cats do not metabolize flax seed oil in the same way that humans do, so they do not derive any additional benefit from the flax seed (they just get the calories from the fat). I also try to find ways to encourage cats to drink more water to ward off constipation. You can add warm water to her dry food for example.

Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Dr. Beth

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Our cat eats only raw ground beef and raw ground turkey with distilled water and up til now sweet potatoes. I've changed the vegetable to brocolli. Everything is steamed over hot water so as not to be cold. We also add bone meal(phytonutrient), oat bran, Vit B(phytonutrient), Kelp, taurine, and an immune pill(phytonutrient) to each meal. She does not eat dry food.

I'm inquiring about flax SEED, not flax oil.

So pumpkin is the best to give her?

She is scratching, biting and pulling her hair out and has a raspy purr lately. She has to have swallowed a LOT of hair, but when she vomits there is no hairballs, just food.

Expert:  Dr.Beth replied 7 years ago.
Flax seed would be even worse. It would need to be ground up for the oils to become available to your cat. I would still try pumpkin first (you can use canned pumpkin or steam and puree it yourself if you prefer). You may also try brushing her coat daily to remove excess hair so that she is not ingesting so much.

To investigate shy she is biting and pulling her hair out, you will need to visit your vet for a consultation. Possible causes include allergies (to food, fleas, or things in the environment), parasites, and even anxiety.

Dr. Beth
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