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.

15 Comments on National Hairball Awareness Day 2013

  1. Hope you don’t get two comments. First one went poof. This is interesting. I am learning so many new things about hairballs today. Thanks.

  2. This is very true. One of my cats has been coughing a lot and I believe it is allergies because he just started it. I have another one sneezing a lot. The only way I will believe they have hair balls is if I see them bring them up.

  3. Ingrid, it’s very important people know this. I have had cats who fell into each example category from an undiagnosed asthmatic to a long-haired cat whose mouth was ruined by constantly vomiting and I’ve taken hairballs seriously for years. Now, on a raw grain-free diet vomiting up a hairball is unheard of, and vomiting at all is very rare but an important indication of something amiss, not just something to be laughed at and cleaned up.

    • Deborah,
      I had my cat on only dry food for awhile, and she would get them every now and then. After talking to my vet he said to try some canned food at night; ever since then she too hardly gets hairballs

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