National Hairball Awareness Day: 10 Facts about hairballs

hairball

National Hairball Awareness Day is happening on Friday 26th April. It may not be a day to celebrate, but it’s an important reminder for all cat owners to learn a bit more about hairballs. So, to help shed some light on the messy piles of hair, 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. Because of your cat’s rough tongue, they remove fur as part of their daily cleaning routine and when your cat swallows the hairs, some of them collect in the stomach and 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.
  6. Diet makes a difference. Hairballs can cause a lack of appetite and dehydration so 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 it’s cows and rabbits that 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!

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