Hairball Awareness Day

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

It seems nowadays there's a day honoring everything...yes, including hairballs!  Those nasty things every cat owner hates finding, often first thing in the morning before you even turn the lights on.

Hairballs occur when cats groom themselves.  Their rough tongues are great at raking through their haircoats.  Most cats (unless ill or physcially unable to do so) are regular groomers.  It helps keep their haircoat nice and control ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks.  Most times the hair ingested during grooming will pass through the digestive tract without problem.  Sometimes, however, your cat may vomit a hairball.

So, what can you do to prevent your cat from having hairballs?  Most cats will have at least one or two in their lifetimes.  Some cats may have them more often.  The best thing you can do is brush your cat regularly.  It doesn't matter how long or short your cat's haircoat is, you should brush your cat daily or every other day.  Flea combs are excellant grooming tools as the teeth are very close together and work well at getting out the dead undercoat.

A good quality diet helps also.  Many well known cat food companies have hairball formulas.  Good nutrition helps ensure a healthy skin and hair coat, whic helps reduce shedding, and therefore may help reduce hairballs.  Foods high in fiber also help hair move through the digestive tract.

If hairballs are a concern, ask your veterinarian about a hairball medication.  Laxaire or Laxatone is intestinal laxative/lubrucant that helps hairballs move through your cat.

Frequent vomiting, hairballs or not, is not okay.  If your cat is vomiting more than once a month, please consult your veterinarian to be sure there is not an underlying illness.

Frequent brushing and a good quality diet are the best defenses against hairballs!