It’s not too often we cover cats at ohmidog!, but National Hairball Awareness Day (it’s today, if you didn’t know) isn’t strictly about cats.
Dogs get hairballs too — as do humans, and cud-chewing animals, such as cows, oxen, sheep, goats, llamas, deer, and antelope.
As pets go, though, cats are more prone, and with almost 90 million U.S. cat owners we feel it’s our duty to pass on these hairball-alleviating tips — not just to avoid having to clean them up, but because they can pose dangers to the animal by blocking food from passing through the intestines.
The folks who make the FURminator offer the following tips, chief among them of course, buying their products:
- The more you groom your cat, the less, he or she will groom his or herself, making hairballs less likely. In addition to deshedding tools, there are shampoos that claim to reduce shedding.
- A little butter or pumpkin added to food can decrease the likelihood of hairballs, the butter helping grease the way, the pumpkin’s fiber helping to get things moving.
- Keep your cat well hydrated, placing water bowls throughought the house.
- Laxative supplements from your vet can help with chronic hairball problems.
If you want to learn even more about hairballs (and we would hope you don’t), the National Museum of Health and Medicine has a webpage devoted to them, and, should you want to make the trip to Washington (and we really, really hope you don’t) there’s a human hairball on permanent display in the museum.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine has 24 veterinary and 3 human hairballs or “trichobezoars” in its anatomical collection. To commemorate National Hairball Awareness Day on April 27, 2006, the museum featured a temporary display of 10 of these hairballs to explore the myths and realities behind these medical curiosities. Included were hairballs from a steer, two oxen, three cows, a calf, horse, and a chicken.
As for our picture above, rather than be so tasteless as to confront you with the real thing, we’ve chosen a crocheted hairball from the collection of Fluffy Flowers. If you’d like to learn how to make your own (and, once again, we’re hoping you don’t), you can find a tutorial here.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animals, cats, chicken, cows, digestion, dogs, fur, furminator, hair, hairballs, health, horse, humans, ill, national hairball awareness day, pets, precautions, shedding, sickness, steer