Happy National Hairball Awareness Day to all cats and cat owners!
29th of April 2016 is a day for all cat lovers to come together to learn more about the condition that dogs their feline companions, and hopefully prevent it.
Hairballs form naturally as part of a cat's grooming routine. Most of the fur removed during the normal grooming process is swallowed and passes through the digestive tract, but when it gets caught in the stomach it forms a hairball. Long-haired cats are most prone to developing hairballs, particularly during the heavy shedding seasons of spring and summer, but short-haired cats also find themselves affected by the development of hairballs.
The annual holiday was first created in 2006 by the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland, USA, to advertise their 'collection' of hairballs from an assortment of livestock and humans, some of them dating back to the late 19th century.
Hairballs can be prevented, or at least the number reduced, by a few methods. The most common is regular grooming, which limits the amount of loose hair that could be swallowed and formed into a hairball, and many cat owners swear by the Furminator brand. Diet is the second most touted aid, and some food manufacturers make hairball-control food and treats with vegetable fibres to assist with digestion. Lastly, for cats suffering from a more persistent problem with hairballs, a hairball lubricant medication can be given to help them pass the hair more easily.
Good luck with your hairballs in 2016!