House Cat Hairballs. There I have said it.
Friends, we need to have a talk about the one thing that might just give our canine companions the leg up when it comes to sharing the home with our pet parents. Now I know what you are thinking and it is true, we cats have far less issues than dogs. We are super intelligent versus the workaday mind of the canine, we do not need to be potty trained like a puppy and our voices are soothing and pleasant, except when provoked, versus the shrill and decibel busting bark of the dog. I could go on but there is no need to kick a dog while it is down. What I mean is, dogs just can not help that they are sloppy, smelly and silly so we accept and love them for what they are.
However, in a recent scientific study conducted at the Lazy Leopard Research Institute, a cat issue was stepped on and brought to our attention. Even though dog issues far outnumber cat issues, as you can clearly see in the Venn diagram below, we are compelled to point out that we cats have one issue that seems to cause our human parents grief and that is, the hairball.
That is right, I have said it. In fact hairballs are the #1 condition reported by 35 percent of cat-owning households. Is your house one of them? I will tell you a short story about my habitat and the hairball. My dad works at a hospital in surgical services. Now he has seen and had to deal with what one might find gory, gruesome and gross. Yet one morning when he forgot to put on his house slippers, he felt the squish between his toes of the warm slimy hairball Hazel just hacked up. He began to dance like he was asking for rain but then he began to retch and I thought he was going to cough up his own hairball! It was terrifying to watch. My mom asked him, ” With all the things you deal with at the hospital, is that hairball going to make you sick?” And that is when I realized. This one issue, a cat vomiting up a hairball could skew the human to think better of a dog. We need a solution!
We felines are fastidious. It is one of our many endearing qualities, but it can also lead to the dreaded hacked up hairball. Did you know we can not help it because we were born to groom? Our tongues are rough like sandpaper because they are covered in tiny barbs (papillae) that are designed to grab and clean. Our big cat tiger cousins can rip the meat off the bones of their prey with their tongues and just like domestic cats keep themselves clean by grooming too.
How much fur could a cat ingest?
You might be wondering, just how much fur could a cat ingest? Here to help us answer this question is our friend Lori and our cousin Roady from Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Whoa! That is a lot of fur wouldn’t you agree?
Normal cats spend up to thirty percent of their time grooming themselves and up to two-thirds of what they shed can be ingested.
Here is a solution to reduce House Cat Hairballs
- Brush your cat regularly and thoroughly to remove loose hair and mats. Long haired felines should be brushed every day and domestic short hair cats, like me, should be brushed one a week.
- Give your cat a daily food specially-formulated for hairball control.
- If you share your habitat with a dog, make sure they do not chew up or hide your parents’ slippers.
Even though hairballs are common in house cats every once in a while, if your cat is experiencing frequent hacking, coughing and gagging, or if you find hairballs in the litter box please consult your veterinarian.
National Hairball Awareness Day is April 27!
Please stop back by to learn more about hairballs and have a bit of fun too!