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Hairball Awareness Day

Hairball Awareness Day

Hairball Awareness Day, on April 28, is a time to consider the grooming challenges of our feline companions. One of the undeniable traits of a cat is their lush and soft coat! They come in short, medium, and long lengths, and vary in just about every colour and colour pattern. That coat doesn’t keep that sheen and volume without a bit of work. Cats are notorious for keeping themselves groomed to maintain their superior look. From the day they are born, kittens are groomed by their mothers, and it becomes part of the daily routine.

 

It’s not all vanity though! There are other practical reasons why cats groom themselves. For one, it allows them to distribute natural oils evenly around the coat to protect them from dampness and keep warm. In the warm months, saliva evaporation helps them maintain a normal body temperature. With a barbed tongue, they use it as a washcloth, and with their teeth are able to dig out tough debris from their fur. Some cats groom quite ferociously, and this causes ingestion of fur. This is completely normal, and often the hair will pass through the intestines and out in the feces. However, hair can build up in the stomach instead of being passed. Sooner or later, in the most undesirable way, cats will hack up a hairball.

 

There are ways to help your cat keep groomed while avoiding a buildup of hairballs. Regular grooming with a specific cat brush can help reduce the amount of fur ingested. Once cats get used to being brushed gently, many love it and will look forward to a daily groom session. You can also speak with your vet about what diet would be best for hairball prevention.

 

On Hairball Awareness Day, it’s important to recognize that your cat can also have too little grooming, represented by an unkempt cat. Dull fur, a buildup of undercoat, and dander are not normal, and are likely all part of a sick cat. Too much grooming can be seen by missing patches of fur and excessive hairballs. It’s important to recognize both extremes so that you can bring your cat to see the vet and find out what’s going on.

 

On Hairball Awareness Day, know that occasional hairballs are to be expected, but frequent hairballs could indicate a problem. Dr. Berney Pukay, Petsecure’s Chair of the Vet Advisory Board, addresses this here.  http://www.petsecure.com/tips-and-information/tips-details/petsecure-tips-and-information/2017/03/28/ask-a-vet-hairballs

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