To celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day this Apr. 29, FURminator pet products released a fact sheet on cat hairballs.
Up to two-thirds of shed hair can be ingested as cats self-groom,” said Roger Yount, FURminator vice president of marketing. “These loose hairs can pack together in a cat’s stomach and form a hairball. In most cases, the cat will need to vomit to force out the hairball, which is not good for the cat or household. If hairballs are not spit out, they may block the passage of food in the stomach or become impacted, requiring surgery to remove the blockage.”
In addition to being a less than pleasant sight, cat hairballs can also be a sign of potential health problems. The last Friday in April is designated as a time to recognize the hazards of hairballs and take steps to eliminate them.
Some facts about cat hairballs according to FURminator:
* Cat hairball problems are naturally common in cats, all cats, because of their self-grooming habits. Their rough tongues are made to clean themselves thoroughly and, in doing so, they ingest a lot of hair.
* Up to 2/3 of a cat’s shed hair can be ingested as they self-groom. These loose hairs can pack together in a cat’s stomach and form a hairball.
* Hairballs generally consist of compacted fur, but they often also include food and a coating of mucus.
* Hairballs aren’t just a messy inconvenience but a sign of discomfort and potential serious problems. They can lead to a number of problems including regurgitation and vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, intestinal obstructions and loss of appetite.
* Hair ingestion equals roughly 0.011 ounces of hair for an outdoor adult short-haired cat weighing 6.6 pounds. This can add up to 1.24 ounces of ingested hair a year
* The most effective way to prevent hairball formation is frequent grooming to remove the dead undercoat before it is swallowed.
* Traditional cat hairball treatments (lubricants, diets, etc.) address the problem after the hair has already entered the cat’s body. Brushing prevents the problem by preventing the hair from getting into the cat’s body.
* Cats and hairballs and shedding problems are all connected.