Hairballs, All You Need To Know…

Meowllo evewypawdy, hope you awe havin’ da bestest of days. It’s H day here in da bloggin’ A to Z challenge, and well mommy is tired cuz hers just completely went blank. Did she furget ow name?  One of ow new favowit tweats? Or even one of da fings she weally hates…HAIRBALLS. Yep today weez gunna talk ‘bout hairballs. Now most of us wound here laff ‘bout ‘em and scheme ‘bout where to place them and ow hoomans do evewyfin’ in their power to stop ‘em, but awe they just a fact of life fur a cat? And is it healffy fur us to have them? And just why is it dat sum cats seem to have mowe of a purrawllem wiff ‘’em than udders? And…well let me quit askin’ questions and just get on wiff it and tell ya’ mowe ‘bout hairballs than you evew wanted to know.

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Guess da first thing me should tell ya’ is why we kitties get hairballs in the furst place. Well you know all that groomin’ we do? Yep that’s where they come from. As anybody whose ever been licked by a kitty knows, we have a barbed like tongue and things like fur just kinda stick to it and then we swallow it. That’s why it’s not safe for us too play with things like string and threads and the like. We often can’t actually spit these things out and so down the hatch as they say, they go. As for the fur once swallowed it’s gotta come out, and there’s only 2 ways that’s gonna happen. For the purrpusses of this posty we will talk ‘but those hairballs that come back up thru the mouth.

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Now here is where mommy kinda disagrees with the current thought processes of most. Most articles and Vets say that the long haired breeds tend to have more hairballs than the shorter haired kitties. Mommy sez pishaw to this. She’s had plenty of long haired cats and only a couple of short haired cats so maybe she might just know a thing or two about this subject. See, sis Lexi has far more hairballs than any long haired kitty mommy has ever had, me included. If we was to give you a ratio figure, sis Lexi would throw up a hairball 9 more times out of 10 than me would. Now we was actually asked a question once ‘bout these here hairballs. One of our dear Facebook friends started noticing her 2 year old cat convulsing and then vomiting out a mess and cryin’ ‘bout it. Mommy figured out he was having hairballs and told her what to do and voila, everything was under control again. She then told mommy he hadn’t ever done that before, so why was it now happening? Well it’s true, kittens don’t have hairballs. But once we get older and become great fur stylists, that’s when the fun begins. And by the way, our friend…he was a short haired tabby too.

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Course callin’ it fun is a bit of a stretch, cuz it for sure ain’t no fun for us. We retch and sometimes meow some of the most pawful meows in our repertoire and gag and then finally…out comes the glob. Now most of these hairballs aren’t little balls at all, they’re more tube like, and that’s because they’ve got to pass thru’ the narrow esophagus in our throats. And altho’ these Hairballs are purrfectly normal they can also be dangerous. Dangerous you say, why is that? Well if your kitty is throwin’ up a hairball once or twice a week (in shedding season) most likely things are fine. But, if you notice your kitty retching and coughing and maybe crying and yet no hairball shows up; call your VET immediately!! It is possible that a hairball can become lodged in the esophagus, intestinal tract, or stomach. And if this happens this is a life or death emergency. 

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Symptoms to look for in a cat with an obstruction are:

  • Ongoing vomiting, retching, gagging or hacking without producing a hairball,  

  • Lethargy,  

  • Lack of appetite, 

  • Constipation,  

  • Diarrhea,  

If you observe any of those symptoms please call your vet immediately. Surgery may be needed to remove the offending hairball.

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Hairballs are a natural part of your kitties life so there’s no cure for them. However there are ways to help minimize the amount of hairballs your cat has. The furst is Grooming. Most cats love to be groomed. Altho’ not all, and we have heard many of our long haired friends really put up a fight at grooming time. Mommy sez it’s never too late to teach a cat anything, but it is always easier to train them when they’re young. So don’t give up. And these days there are lots of “self groomers” on the market that your cat might enjoy. But Grooming serves a few purrpusses, it allows you to bond with your cat while getting rid of the loose fur that would either end up on your furniture as fur shed, or any place else as a slimy hairball. Be sure too use the appropriate grooming tool on your cat. There are a ton of them on the market, but you don’t want to use the wrong one. Most cats have a double coat, but there are those with only single coats and the “hairless” breeds. We won’t go into all the tools today because today is hairball day, but if you’re interested in learning about the differences in grooming tools an what’s right for who, let us know in the comments and we will cover that in a future post. 

 0dw Dezi licks paw

Another way to cut back on hairballs is a hairball formula food, treats, or treatment (malty as we call it). Again there are a number of these on the market. As for treatments, you can also use some of the common things around your house. A little pat of butter, olive oil, or vegetable/canola/corn oil can also be safely used to get the hairball moving in the right direction, and maybe save you from stepping into a wet slimy mess with your bare feet in the middle of the night. MOL Well, hope we’ve helped you a little in further understanding the cat’s Hairball. MOL 

Till da next time…………………………….Be Blest!!!


Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses  

Dezi and Lexi