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Hairballs and Cats

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

If you live with a cat, chances are that you have heard a retching hacking sound coming from your cat at one time or another. When Earl Gray, my cat, is about to upchuck he makes an almost unnatural sound and then I know he is about to eject a hairball.

This is Earl Gray. Over the course of one year, a cat ingests about 173 grams of cat hair.

April 29 is National Hairball Awareness Day. This may sound a bit silly, but hairballs at the very least are unpleasant to your cat and at the worst can create severe problems. According to the folks at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “in most cases, hairballs are normal but unpleasant. Hair accumulates in the cat’s throat or stomach and at some point causes enough irritation to trigger vomiting—a quick fix to the problem. In a few cases, however, hairballs can create a real problem in a cat’s digestive system. Hair that passes beyond the stomach can accumulate and harden in the intestines. Ultimately, the hairball can block the intestinal track, preventing the cat from regurgitating the hair or passing it in feces. In severe cases, these hairballs must be surgically removed.”

Signs to Watch Out For
Think your cat has a serious problem with hairballs? Then contact your veterinarian, especially if you notice excessive gagging, hacking and vomiting, constipation or extraordinary amount of hair in stools, and a loss of appetite and or energy. For more information about hairballs, watch the short video. It’s quite entertaining, and then visit Hill’s Facebook page.

27 comments to Hairballs and Cats

  • Paula

    Great video. It’s funny and helpful too. We buy food that is a hairball formula and I do give one of my cats (we have 3) hairball cream that supposedly tastes like chicken.

  • Tracy

    The video is funny and informative. Thanks!

  • Jordana

    Yes, I’m familiar with that hacking sound. My cat also makes an eerie noise before he is about to let one loose. The video is great.

  • Carol

    Funny video. I met Lori Smith and she is great. Wonderful video.

  • Tamara

    I give my cat Crisco Vegetable Shortening–just a tiny dab about the size of a dime. My cats eat it when mixed in with their food. It’s a small amount, and inexpensive and they get it every once in a while–about once a month. It works for us.

  • Vicki

    Love the video! I didn’t know how much hair a cat ingests. That’s a lot of hair shown in the video.

  • Cathy

    Funny video! We have 5 cats–all adopted–and hairballs can be a problem–especially for the long haired guys. Thanks for the post.

  • Jim

    That’s a lot of cat hair. I brush my Maine Coon and Persian every day–sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. That helps a lot.

  • Patricia

    My favorite breed of cat is Persians. I rescue them. I also spend a lot of time brushing them. I use a FURminator, which works well on long hair. I also feed them Science Diet’s Adult Hairball Control from Hill’s.

  • Mark

    I rescued 3 Persians and sometimes their hair can get tangled if you don’t brush them. We also feed them Hairball Control food. And the video really impressed me. I never knew cats ingested so much hair over a year.

  • Anita

    My favorite cat is a Maine Coon. Unfortunately they shed a lot. So, it’s daily brushings and I feed her Science Diet’s Hairball Control.

  • Sally

    Short haired cats can get hairballs too, and that is why brushing everyday is essential.

  • Georgina

    Wow on the amount of hair a cat ingests in a year. No wonder it leads to complications. Thanks Michele!

  • Robert

    My girlfriend has a Persian and Maine Coone; both are rescues. I will tell her about this post. They tend to hack up hairballs a lot.

  • Jane

    Our two cats are domestic long hairs that we found as kittens. Some fool abandoned them. They are wonderful adult cats now–5 years old–brother and sister. They get brushed on a daily basis. It has become a ritual for all of us and we all enjoy the time together. Plus, they get a hairball formula once a week.

  • Nyah

    I rescued 2 Main Coons. They are great with kids and are so sweet and charming. This is helpful because my cats do hack up hairballs a few times a week. I am going to change their diet and brush them more often. And I will get the kids involved.

  • Sam

    Maine Coon are the sweetest. They really have great personalities, and do suffer from hairballs because of all that fur. So, they get brushed and are on a special diet. Thanks!

  • Zelda is an over-groomer so she frequently leaves little “presents” for me. Yuck!

  • Thanks Vicki, Earl is short haired, but occasionally hacks up a hairball too. I just brush him a lot. I’m not changing his diet because he gets Hill’s y/d for his thyroid.–Thanks, Michele

  • Hannah

    My favorite breed of cat is Siamese because they talk a lot. I rescued three, and they get hairball control food too.

  • Adam

    Rescued 2 kitties. I found them on the streets in Manhattan. That was about 10 year ago. Today, they are doing well, and with daily brushing (they are short hairs), hairballs isn’t a big problem for them.

  • GretchenKelley

    My rescued Persian gets brushed twice a day and I even take her to a groomer. She occasionally gets hairballs, and I think that is because I also put a dab of olive oil in her food every so often. Too much olive oil or Crisco can cause diarrhea. So it should be given once in a while–like less than a teaspoon once a week.

  • Ginger

    I’m at work now & the video is blocked here. I’ll check it out when I can. I have a Ragdoll/Calico who is always ingesting hair. I use Pro Pet Hairball Gel from Walmart. It’s the only kind that she’ll eat. It’s real inexpensive & it works!

  • I just heard from my Hill’s contact. If you cat is on y/d, don’t change your cat’s diet. Stick with y/d, and consult your veterinarian about the hairballs.–Thanks, Michele

  • Cute video !
    The cat in video looks an awful lot like our Maine Coon !
    I will continue on w/ brushing & thinning the excess fur , Also the special foods may
    help , right now we don’t get too much w/ hairballs .
    Thanks for post.

  • Great timing for this since they’re shedding their winter coats.