Hairball Alert! Things you may not know!
Did you know that the largest hairball ever removed from a cat was 1.9 inches bigger than a Major League Baseball? Neither did I- But I can tell you I wouldn’t have wanted to see that baseball after they used it to measure the size of that hairball!
It sounds awful, but it’s true – (my guess was it was a mountain lion or something)- but still…
All cats get hairballs, and few people realize that rabbits and cattle can actually get them too! They are not only miserable, but they can cause serious problems for your cats.
Hairballs form because when cats groom themselves (which is all the time)- tiny little barbs on their tongues catch loose hair which they then swallow, and it winds up in their stomachs causing a lot of discomfort. (A cat’s tongue isn’t like those self-cleaning cat brushes, you know).
Now, certain cats are more susceptible- like Persians and Maine Coons- and usually the hair passes out safely without issue. But long-haired cats like these have them more often because their coats are longer and denser. Also, did you know cats are more prone to hairballs in the spring and summer? This is because cats are working hard to regulate their body temperature.
If your cat gets a hairball they can’t pass, it can result in a blockage that can threaten your cat’s life.
Signs to watch out for:
- Coughing and hacking
- Swallowing and licking their lips
- Refusing to eat or take treats
- Refusing to drink water
- Refusing to groom
Spend time with your cats and pay attention to their normal habits – be alert to any changes in their appetite or grooming patterns. If you see anything that makes you suspect something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to call your vet. Keep your cat as comfortable as you can until you can get it help and keep noise and activity to a minimum as much as possible.
Brushing your cat is the best way to prevent hairballs- this is not only soothing to your cat, but increases circulation, relieves any itchiness, and at the same time removes loose hair before it reaches their tummy.
Stress can also be a cause of hairballs at times, since chewing and over grooming are things cats do when they feel stress- sort of like humans biting their nails. To help prevent hairballs because of stress over-grooming, set aside a little time each day to involve your cat in an activity they love.
There are also hairball preventing paw gels, supplements, and hairball formula cat foods for a little extra insurance. Here are a few examples we like:
Check these out to prevent the problem before it starts! And keep your eyes on your fur-babies’ normal habits so you’ll know right away if something is off.