Animal Celebration Days: April 28th National Hairball Awareness Day

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National Hairball Awareness Day is the day to be conscious of hairballs. Held on the final Friday of April (April 28th in 2017), this important event raises awareness of an issue that’s often joked about but is serious in the eyes of pet owners everywhere.

Every time we hear a cat throwing up hairballs we cringe. The moans–the cries, it’s all very distressing for both owner and pet. It seems that no matter how many times we brush and groom our cats, we can never seem to combat those annoying hairballs.

Then there’s the nuisance of keeping the floor clean. If you’re quick, you can retrieve hacked up hairballs and puke fast before it does damage to your floor. Other times you may not be so lucky. One way to ease the clean-up process is to place your cat onto a blanket when you notice signs that a hairball is coming. Clean up could be as simple as tossing the blanket in the wash.

If you’ve ever heard that hacking sound coming from your cat, then you may have an idea why it’s important to be aware of those pesky little furballs. Though it might seem strange to have a day dedicated to the awareness of these things –hairballs can be a sign of more urgent health concerns!

Hairballs are Hazardous

Of course, cats have hairballs –they do a lot of grooming, those thick sandpaper tongues lapping up nests of hair and swallowing them. Sometimes you see the hair come out the other end, but believe it or not a lot of hair gets trapped. The small intestine is a tight and tricky place to digest hair. Many times, hair can get blocked and sometimes this leads to more serious and life-threatening issues. If you notice your cat is struggling and doing an awful lot of gagging and retching, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your veterinarian –especially if your cat is showing signs of loss of appetite, a change in bowel movements, and/or fatigue.

It’s better to be safe and offer quick relief to your pet.

Tips for reducing hairballs

Brushing your cat regularly can help reduce the amount of hair your cat swallows. This is especially helpful for cats with long and full hair. You can also ask your vet about hairball lubricants or change of diets that are specially formulated to reduce hairballs. If you notice your cat has areas of exposed skin or patches where they have groomed away too much hair, schedule an exam with your vet to see if there is something more serious going on. Often times, cats that overgroom an area may be experiencing an allergy, parasite, or other skin related issue. Sometimes cats get bored, stressed, or maybe they are dealing with other changes. Keeping your cat’s routine the same as best you can help alleviate pet stress.

Do you have any tips for how you deal with hairballs? Are you going to practice more awareness for hairballs this National Hairball Awareness Day?

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