Hairball Awareness Day
Cats are meticulous groomers, often washing themselves several times a day. As they lick, they naturally swallow a bit of their own hair. When enough of this ingested hair collects in a cat’s digestive tract, it forms a hairball. Most hairballs are harmlessly coughed up or passed through your cat.
Cats with long hair and those that shed heavily or groom excessively are especially prone to developing hairballs.
In honor of National Hairball Awareness Day, held the last Friday of April each year, here are some tips on how to reduce hairballs in your home.
What can you do?
Though you may not eliminate hairballs completely, you can help minimize their occurrence:
• Brush your cat regularly and thoroughly to remove loose hair and mats. Long-haired felines should be brushed every day and those with short hair, once a week.
• Give your cat a daily food specially-formulated for hairball control.
• Hairball remedies or lubricants, which help hair pass through the intestinal tract, can be found at your local pet supply store.
• Enthusiastic groomers can often be distracted from their favorite task with a new toy or game to play.
Signs of a problem:
• Presence of hairballs—expelled from your cat’s mouth or
present in the litter box
• Frequent hackling, coughing and gagging
• Constipation or loose stools
Many times the situation will work itself out, but a veterinarian should be consulted if symptoms continue for more than 24 hours. It is rare, but sometimes hairballs can get lodged in the esophagus or cause intestinal blockages that may require surgery.
sources: Hill’s Pet Nutrition and ASPCA