Hairballs are no laughing matter

04/27/2013 7:20 AM

04/27/2013 7:22 AM

Several years ago, one of my dearest friends and co-workers was about to mark the passage of another year. I wanted to make her birthday special and dispense with the usual office ho-hum birthday that offers wishes to the celebrant over a cake.

I searched the Web for ideas and realized that her birthday fell close to an obscure holiday that seemed to fit her to a T. For many years before she retired, my colleague kept her co-workers chuckling with daily reports of her current cat’s catastrophes and craziness.

So, in her honor, we celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day, April 27.

No matter what entertains our creatures, cat lovers know that hairballs are serious issues.

These tips were supplied by Petco to help cat owners whose furry friends suffer from hairballs.

Tip One: De-shed

Most hair a cat swallows while grooming is passed naturally through the digestive tract, but when it gets caught in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Removing excess hair by brushing and grooming a cat regularly can help limit the amount of loose hair that can ultimately get caught inside the kitty. Plus, petting and brushing a cat regularly will keep them emotionally happy.

Tip Two: Nutrition

Proper nutrition is also vital in helping a pet’s physical health and preventing hairballs. Certain types of cat food can reduce shedding and help hair move through the cat’s digestive tract. Hairball control cat food contains vegetable fibers to help this process. If changing a pet’s food isn’t ideal, try hairball relief chews that can prevent hairballs from forming. Ensuring a cat has enough fiber in its diet and drinks plenty of water will also help its physical health and diminish hairballs. For cats with a more persistent problem, try a hairball lubricant that helps the cat pass the problem hair more easily.

Tip Three: Veterinary supplements

A veterinarian can recommend a supplement that can prevent hair from clumping. If a cat has an overly matted coat, is lethargic, has a swollen stomach or is constipated, these may be signs it’s time to see the vet.

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