It’s a sad truth that two of the best things about cats — that most of them are covered with nice soft fur and that they are self-cleaning — can make them unhappy. An unfortunate part of all that tongue-bathing is fur-swallowing, which can cause hairballs that must be regurgitated or cause constipation. And that’s why Hairball Awareness Day, coming up on Friday, is so important.
As far as days go, I get more enjoyment out of ones like Valentine’s Day when sometimes I receive flowers and/or chocolates with Fergie’s name on the card. But Hairball Awareness Day is important because it reminds me that I can help them occur less often. These three tips can help.
Brushing is the obvious place to start. Fergie’s personal gift wish list includes the Furminator. Its comb is short and stainless steel and it remains the most effective cat hair-removal tool I’ve ever used. I try to groom her for a few minutes every day with the brush she does have and enjoys quite a lot, a cat-shaped, thick-bristled rubber Zoom Groom.
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One of my cat clients, Cookie, was rumored to have hairball issues, though I only had to clean them up once or twice in the few years I knew her. Her secret? Petromalt Hairball Remedy, an intestinal lubricant. Cookie was very shy — I rarely saw her — but I smeared a bit of the product on the floor next to her bowl with every meal. Apparently cats think it’s tasty, because it was always gone the next day. My local pet supply store also has plenty of treats and packaged cat foods specifically formulated to help with hairballs.
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One of the many appealing characteristics of cats is that they are self-cleaning, but sometimes they get carried away. Stress and/or boredom can lead to excessive grooming (and hairballs), which is why cat toys are important and climbing structures are nice additions to your décor. When I’m away from home I tune my radio to the classical station because I think Fergie likes it. I also have an app on my phone called Pet Acoustics that plays New Age tracks for cat calming. I’ve tried it on client cats and it does seem to help.
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Happy Hairball Awareness Day! If you’re lucky your cat won’t give you any “presents.”
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