A cat who is prone to hairballs can spell disaster for your carpet. Even after you clean up the hairball, there is likely to be some residue and staining left behind from the bits of cat food that came up with it. If you do not want your carpet to look like a speckled, spotted rug -- and getting rid of the cat is not an option -- then follow these tips to help keep your carpet clean.
Talk to the vet about treatment.
While it's normal for cats to throw up a hairball every now and again, it's really not normal for them to throw them up daily or even once a week. If your cat has frequent hairballs, bring this up to your vet at the next appointment. There may be something amiss with your cat's digestive tract, and treating the problem may eliminate the hairballs so you don't have to worry about future stains. For many owners, switching to a hairball-elimination food or even feeding some cat treats meant for hairball control does the trick.
Use a light-colored food.
Whether or not you switch to a hairball treatment food, make sure the food you are feeding your cat is pale in color. This will leave fewer stains than a bright reddish or dark brown food. Avoid giving your cat very colorful treats, too.
Keep a stain kit handy.
The faster you find and remove the hairballs and then treat the offending stain, the better. Keep a carpet stain remover kit, complete with blotting rags, some sponges, and a stain spot treatment, handy in your home. When you do find a hairball, pick up the solid mass. Then, spray the area liberally with the stain remover, let it sit for a few minutes, and blot it up (Don't rub). Spray and blot it again -- and even do this a third time if necessary.
Have your carpet cleaned once a year.
When you have your carpet professionally cleaned, the experts can use more powerful equipment to extract any stains that you may not have been able to remove completely. When you make your appointment, be sure to tell them you have cats. They will then come prepared to remove stains like hairball spots, and they'll also use pet-friendly cleaners so you don't have to be so concerned about your cat's safety post-cleaning. You might even want to consider dry carpet cleaning like that provided by chem-dry.
Follow the tips above, and you should have fewer hairball incidents while also being better prepared to treat the ones that do occur.