National Hairball Awareness Day: 10 Facts about hairballs


National Hairball Awareness Day is happening on Friday 28th April. It may not be a day to celebrate, but it’s an opportunity for all cat owners to learn a bit more about hairballs and why your cat gets them. So, to help shed some light on the not so pleasant balls of fur, we’ve put together 10 facts about hairballs.

  1. Scientific name. The scientific name for hairballs is trichobezoars. ‘Trich’ is Greek for hair. ‘Bezoar’ is the word for mass that is found in the stomach or intestines.
  2. Perfectly natural and healthy. Hairballs are nature’s way of getting rid of nasty indigestible loose hair. As part of their daily cleaning routine, cat’s remove fur with their tongue. Because the tongue has a rough surface, it’s easy for cat’s to swallow the hairs and for some of them collect in the stomach to form hairballs.
  3. Hairballs are not balls. Hairballs you’ll find around your home are shaped more like tubes. This is because the hairballs get elongated when they travel through your cat’s oesophagus on the way out.
  4. The largest hairball. The largest ever hairball to be removed from a cat was 12.5cm wide and weighed 7.5 ounces.
  5. Common occurrence. It’s not unusual for a cat to regurgitate a hairball once a week or every two weeks. But if your cat is producing more than one hairball per week, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vet.
  6. Diet makes a difference. Hairballs can cause a lack of appetite and dehydration so if you notice your cat is regularly coughing up hairballs, it’s important to provide high-quality or specialist hairball food containing more fibre to help hair pass naturally through their digestive system.
  7. Hairball season. Cats groom all year round but they may consume more hair during spring and summer as their environment gets hotter and shedding becomes more frequent. You can help to reduce loose hair by regularly brushing or combing your cat.
  8. Not all cats suffer from frequent hairballs. Some cats are far more prone to hairballs than others. Breeds with long hair such as Persians and Maine Coons have a significantly higher likelihood of hairballs.
  9. Hairballs can cause serious health problems. Some hairballs are so large they can prevent your cat from eating and causes them to become lethargic. If your cats refuses to eat or continues to hack without producing a hairball, make an appointment with your vet as it could be sign of a dangerous blockage.
  10. Cats are not the only animals to have hairballs. Most animals, even humans can get hairballs, but surprisingly cows and rabbits are especially prone.

Is your pet affected by hairballs? Do you have any other tips to make them less likely to occur? Let us know in the comments section below!