April 30 is National Hairball Awareness Day! Hairballs are a normal part of cat life, but there are instances in which they can be dangerous. So what exactly are hairballs and why is hairball awareness important? We have some information for current and potential cat owners.
Hairballs are literally balls of hair that accumulate in a cat's stomach when they are grooming themselves. Cat tongues have small backward slanted projections called papillae that push their hair into their throats and eventually, the hair ends up in the stomach. Despite the name, hairballs aren't round and tend to be cylindrical. Hairballs, including the hair, saliva, and bile are eventually vomited out by the cat.
Cats producing hairballs is normal, but there can be dangers associated with it as well. Hairballs can create a blockage in your cat's intestines and that can cause illness. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, contact us.
While hairballs are normal, in some cats—especially long-haired cats such as Persians or Maine Coons—there are steps you can take to help reduce them.
It might be necessary to feed them food that helps them digest and pass hairballs more easily. There are cat food brands that specifically are formulated for hairball reduction.
Brush your cat regularly to reduce the volume of hair they need to groom. Some cats may not like to be brushed, so the ASPCA recommends you start out slow.
If your cat seems to be excessively grooming, do what you can to reduce this behavior. When cats are stressed, or bored, grooming may become a default self-comforting habit. You might consider extra cuddles or playtime with your cat or if the problem persists, talk to your vet about sprays that can help.
When your cat show signs of being sick, it’s important to get them care right away to make sure the illness isn’t anything serious. Contact us for regular examinations for your cat and if you have questions or concerns.
Our updated hours are:
Mon., Wed., Fri. 8AM-5:30PM
Saturday - CLOSED starting March 28
Please call our office or email us at [email protected] with questions about your pets.
Thank you for your understanding and just know we are trying our best to help everyone get through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are following the AVMA and KVMA guidelines during this difficult time.
We are here for you and your family, and thank you for your patience and understanding.