Today is National Hairball Awareness Day. The fact that someone decided it was a good idea to have a “holiday” named after hairballs is probably more of a marketing ploy to sell ineffective remedies and diets than anything else, but it’s also testament to the fact that hairballs are far too common in cats. And contrary to some of the information you may see around the web today, they are not a normal part of a cat’s digestive process.
What is a hairball?
Traditionally it has been thought that hairballs develop because of how cats groom themselves. As cats lick their fur, the tongue’s tiny barbs pull off excess hair. Inevitably, some hair gets swallowed in the process. Ideally, it passes through the body and ends up in stools, but hairballs form when hair wads up in the stomach instead.Continue Reading
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.