What is Malt Paste for Cats?
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Cats are especially clean animals. If we spent all day licking our extremities, we might not end up being the cleanest creatures on the planet. For cats, however, the opposite is true. Unfortunately, while performing these ablutions, they also end up ingesting a fair amount of fur. This can lead to nasty hairballs, regurgitated in an equally nasty coughing fit.
This is when some people turn to malt paste for cats. It is a useful and natural product which can help improve our cat's digestion as well as their intestinal tract more specifically. Keep reading AnimalWised to find out what is malt paste for cats as well as learning its composition, the appropriate dose for your cat and how to administer it.
What is malt paste?
Malt paste for cats is a paste with a similar color and texture to dark honey, except with a denser texture. It is mainly composed of vegetable oils, vegetable fats, malt extract, added fiber, dairy products and yeast. However, it is also known to include colorings, preservatives and added vitamins.
There are numerous brands on the market with different varieties. Most frequently it comes in a squeezable container which looks like a tube of toothpaste. Different brands provide varying recipes, but base of any malt paste is the malt extract itself. As they often do with cat food, cats tend to have a preference when it comes to malt paste, eating their favorite with a little more gusto.
What is it for?
Cats have their own daily cleaning routines. During their extensive licking sessions they end up ingesting numerous dead hairs which advance along their digestive tract and can for clumps. These clumps can be large or small depending on the amount of hair ingested. They are known as trichobezoars, although you may have heard of them being called hairballs.
As we can see in the image below, a cat's tongue has little protrusions or spines made from keratin. They are known as papillae and they help the cat to brush their hair and remove dirt. However, like a hair brush, they can also detach dead hair which they then ingest through the mouth.
The hairball can then form in the intestines, stomach or even the esophagus. If the cat coughs, then wretches and expels the hairball easily, this means the hairball hasn't gone past the esophagus. If instead the cough is accompanied by nausea, lack of appetite and vomiting half-digested food, then the hairball is likely lodged in the stomach or small intestine. If the cat starts to suffer constipation along with a lack of appetite, it could be due to a hairball lodged in the large intestine.
The malt paste helps to dislodge this excess hair and send it on through the digestive tract. It does this through its natural laxative effect which helps to improve intestinal transit. This is why malt paste is also suitable for mild constipation issues. In short, malt paste helps cats to properly digest hairs and expel them without hindrance.
How do I give malt paste to my cat?
As you well know, each cat is a world onto itself. Some love malt paste, happy to eat it directly from the container and lick away at it indiscriminately. Others don't particularly like the stuff.
If the latter is the case, we can put a small amount on the cat's paw or corner of their mouth. They may not like it very much, but they will still try to lick it off, providing the same essential effect. You can also try mixing the malt paste in their food with the hope they will eat it without noticing. This is not always easy, especially with dry food. You may even have to chase your cat around the house to give it the malt paste, but it is something their guts will eventually thank you for.
It is not something many cats should find an offensive taste, so overtime they should get used to it. You can also try different brands and see if your cat will respond better to a particular formula.
How much malt paste should I give my cat?
Each does of malt paste should be about the size of a small almond or hazelnut. This should be sufficient, but if your cat enjoys malt paste, it's no worry to give them a little more.
For a short haired cat, two doses a week should be enough to keep them regular. If your cat is a long hair, like a Maine Coon or a Birma, you may need to give up to four doses a week for the same effect. If the cat is moulting, you may even want to give them a small dose daily until you see some improvement.
We mustn't forget how important brushing is for your cat. With it we can get rid of the cat's dead hairs before giving them the chance to ingest them. We need the right type of brush for the right type of cat. In short haired cats, one or two brushes a week should be adequate. For longer haired cats, a daily brushing would be ideal. Here we have some info on brushes for short haired cats and those for long haired cats.
If you can't find the time to brush your cat's fur daily, then you at least need to do it once or twice a week. In addition to removing dead hair and making their coat healthy, grooming your cat will help reinforce your bond. Don't forget that cats will need a little more brushing during spring and autumn as well as during moulting periods.
Cats and malt paste
As we have read, malt paste cam be a very useful product for cats. Combined with a good brushing routine, it can help our cat deal with hairballs in an efficient and healthy way.
The main reason for this is that hairballs can cause problems for your cat. They can cause obstructions and if your cat's hairballs are accompanied by blood or they suffer from prolonged constipation, go see your veterinarian.
We shouldn't forget how much cats like to lick. They lick themselves a lot, almost continuously throughout the day. They may even lick other cats, although this is more of a social activity than one designed to improve the other cat's hygiene.
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