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In Honor of Hairball Awareness Day - Fluffy Cats & Tips on How To Combat the Hairballs

Hairball Awareness Day - April 27, 2012

This Friday, April 27, 2012 marks Hairball Awareness Day, celebrated on the last Friday of every April and an important “holiday” for cat lovers. According to Holden Veterinary Clinic, the origin of the awareness day is not known, but is a day recognized to spread awareness of this important aspect of owning a cat. Many animal organizations and pet product manufactures help raise awareness yearly and even the National Museum of Health and Medicine held an exhibit for Hairball Awareness Day back in 2009.

Hairballs are a natural occurrence for cats and is the result of their regular grooming process. Cat tongues are made up of “tiny hook-like structures [that] catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball”, according to WebMD. While there is no way to completely rid your cat of hairballs, there are some ways to minimize their frequency and size.

Having two cats myself who I consider to be on the “fluffy side”, I am aware of the impact hairballs can have and the importance of doing what you can to help your cat manage them. Not only for the ‘ew I just stepped in a wet hairball‘ factor, but also for your cat’s comfort and watching for signs it may be something serious.

Click through to see some adorably fluffy cats and some tips on how to minimize hairballs:


  • Brush Their Coats 1 of 9
    Brush Their Coats
    While cats are known as meticulous groomers, if you have a cat with a lot of hair, help him along and brush his coat daily. There are several products available including a dual sided brush or a Love Glove which not only helps rid him of his hair and saving him from building up large hairballs, but it's a great form of bonding with your cat.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • Cat Grass 2 of 9
    Cat Grass
    Fiber is a good way to minimize the hairballs in your cat and helps them pass with greater ease, and cat grass is filled with it. It's easy to grow and most cats enjoy eating it so it's not a struggle to get it in their diet.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • Specially Formulated Food 3 of 9
    Specially Formulated Food
    There are several cat food mixtures that are specially formulated to help ease the digestion of your cat, ensure that they get the proper nutrition and ultimately reduce hairballs.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • Keep Them Well Hydrated 4 of 9
    Keep Them Well Hydrated
    Water is a totally natural, relatively cheap thing that you can do to help your cat with his hairballs. Ensuring he always has access to fresh, clean water (and that they are drinking it) can be a huge help.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • Laxatives 5 of 9
    Laxatives
    There are products available for your cat that is designed to help ease digestion through the use of laxatives, so the hair passes in your cats stool. There are both petroleum based and petroleum-free products - ask your vet which is recommended for your cat.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • Home Mixes 6 of 9
    Home Mixes
    Some cat owners prefer to use their own blend of hairball remedies for their cats. Some add butter to their cat's diet to aid digestion and others prefer to feed pumpkin or or squash for the fiber.
    Photo credit: kirichkov on Flickr
  • When It’s Serious 7 of 9
    When It's Serious
    While hairballs are common and usually nothing to worry about, there are some signs that there could be something more serious going on. Watch for signs like ongoing vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy.
    Photo credit: spilltojill on Flickr
  • Distract Your Cat 8 of 9
    Distract Your Cat
    Some cats are 'excessive groomers' and that could be the reason they get so many hairballs. Try distracting your cat by making sure he has lots to do - toys, climbing posts and extra cuddles from you.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur
  • When It Happens, How Do You Clean It? 9 of 9
    When It Happens, How Do You Clean It?
    Hairballs are kind of inevitable when it comes to owning a cat. They sound gross coming out and are even grosser to clean up. Make sure you have a carpet spot cleaner on hand to clean the stains off your floors.
    Photo credit: hosted on Imgur

As always, discuss any concerns with your veterinarian or vet assistant and ask for their tips and help in finding the right combination of hairball controls specific for your cat.

:: What is your trick to keeping your cat hairball happy? ::

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Photo credit: hosted on Imgur

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