Cat owners have already grown accustomed to the regular cuteness, the condescending stare-down and the… hairballs from their beloved feline pets.
Talking about hairballs, here’s a look at the tendency of hairball regurgitation and related abnormalities. Of course, you will also find habit patterns to better recognize the cause the next time you accidentally come across one of these hairy gifts on your carpet.
Hairballs or trichobezoars
The scientific term for hairballs is trichobezoar. “Bezoar” is Persian for anything which provides protection against poison while “trich” finds its root in Greek, meaning hair. These hairballs were once considered a cure for epileptic attacks, plague and every type of poisoning. Incidentally, during the middle ages, hairballs were quite fashionable as jewelry set in gold.
What is it with cats and hairballs?
Cats groom themselves almost in the range of 2-3 hours per day. That is a lot of fur that they swallow every day. Even then, cats have a well developed digestive system to help them get over this distress rapidly. Some cats might not even get hairballs. Note that kittens do not go through the phenomenon because they do not groom themselves for a long time or as thoroughly as the mature cat. However, even for mature cats, the normal frequency of hairball regurgitation should not be higher than one or two hairballs in a year. Anything higher than this might be a symptom of some other underlying diseases. You should immediately take your beloved cat for a check-up at a veterinary clinic or hospital if this happens.
Some cats might have a higher frequency of hairballs
Long haired cats have a higher frequency of creating hairballs. This is common because they shed more; they obviously ingest more hair during grooming. It is important to schedule a trimming appointment for your cats on a regular basis. As mentioned earlier, older cats are more fastidious about grooming, so they are more likely to regurgitate a hairball than younger cats. Therefore, it is important to get your older or any long-haired cat checked for hairballs periodically. If the hairball gets too big without regurgitation, it might require surgery to remove it. The case of a British cat named Gemma is in the record book for requiring surgery to remove a 5-inch wide hairball, which weighed approximately 7.5 ounces.
You should expect more hairballs during particular seasons
Most cats will maintain a thicker layer of fur for winter. Automatically with spring will come the intense shedding season. If you have long-haired cats, you should definitely expect spring to be the season of hairball regurgitation madness!
Remedies to help fight hairball occurrences
You can invest in cat treats that are specifically designed to combat hairballs. These contain mineral oil, which is a special lubricant for your pet’s digestive tract. You can also try the very simple Vaseline trick – rub Vaseline on your cat’s nose, which will be immediately be licked off, solving your lubricating problem. High-fiber cat food is also necessary for their proper digestion and you can also get into a routine of brushing for treats. This will give your kitty a sleeker coat while solving your hairball problems as well.