There’s nothing quite like the glorious feeling of stepping out of your warm bed onto a cold, squishy, slimy hairball! Perhaps we should feel flattered that our beloved feline companion has left a piece of herself as a special gift for us, but frankly, most of us would rather bond with our cats another way!
What is a hairball and what causes it in cats?
Nature gave cats lots of wonderful, soft fur. Normally, when kitty grooms and ingests the dead, loose hair, it passes through the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract and comes out in the stool. A carnivore’s gut is designed to handle fur, its own as well as the fur attached to prey animals. (If you’ve ever been hiking and come across “scat” from a coyote or fox, it’s evident that it is mostly fur.) However, generations of directed breeding have created cats with much longer coats than ever conceived of by natural selection. And some cats, even shorthairs, just seem to have tender tummies. When too much hair collects in the stomach rather than passing out through the gut, it irritates the stomach lining and whoops — there’s a hairball, on its way back out the wrong end of the cat! By the way, the correct medical term for a hairball is “trichobezoar,” pronounced trike-oh-bee-zohr.
Read more on how to recognise hairball problems, are hairballs dangerous, treatment and prevention guidelines for hairballs in cats here.
Reference: Bayer HealthCare