Have you ever woken up to your cat puking up a hairball? If so, Happy National Hairball day to you! Yes, the last Friday of April is National Hairball Awareness Day (April 24th), which might be hard to believe, but that is the truth.
What is a hairball though? A hairball is an accumulation of hair that builds up within a cats stomach. The bile that is sitting in the stomach will soak into the hairball and cause the cats to regurgitate it.
Cats have these little barbs on their tongue that will catch dead or loose hair while grooming themselves. Not all cats are prone to getting hairball and some may go their entire lives without having one. Cats who have long hair or are older may be prone to getting more hairballs compared to short hair and younger cats.
What do I do to prevent my cat to have hairballs? Grooming her. Every week, we sit down and groom her with a cat brush. Something that works great is a soft, bristled brush. Eventually when her hair gets too long and brushing her isn’t enough, I will groom her with clippers. Surprisingly, she does not mind it! As you may know, cats do not like to be groomed and bald spots may occur during this process because they become restless.
Hairballs happen, but anything more than 1 to 2 a year could be a cause for concern. Signs to look out for could be: hacking, coughing, excessive gagging, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and unusual stool consistency like constipation and diarrhea or if they have a high amount of hair in their stool. If you notice anything unusual, we recommend that they get examined.
Nonetheless, we love our animals dearly and this day should be served as a reminder of the importance of hairball awareness.
Written by Sarah Levesque, R.V.T