Today is National Hairball Awareness Day, and you’ll see a lot of information about hairballs, hairball remedies, and so-called hairball diets online. Hairballs are often the topic of jokes and cartoons, but there is nothing funny about a cat who gets frequent hairballs. While the occasional, isolated hairball may be nothing to worry about, there really is no such thing as “just a hairball.”
I’d like to offer some information on hairballs that you may find startling, and to shed some light on why some of the conventional remedies may not work, or worse, mask a more serious problem.
In Some Startling New Thoughts on Cats and Hairballs, feline veterinarian Fern Crist offers a different look at how cats get hairballs, what they mean, and what you can do to prevent them.
In When Hairballs are More Than Just Hairballs, I explain why conventional remedies such as Petromalt or Laxatone should not be given to cats, and why high fiber hairball diets are not a good choice for an obligate carnivore like the cat. I also share my personal experience with hairballs, and why I believe Allegra and Ruby don’t have any hairball problems.
In Another Furball? It Might Be Feline Asthma, feline veterinarian Andrea Tasi explains that sometimes, cat parents mistakenly assume that the coughing they hear from their cat is a hairball, when it might be something much more serious.
Sometimes, a hairball is just a hairball – but frequent hairballs should not be considered a normal part of life with cats.