OMG! One of the most important days on the calendar and I freakin’ missed it. I’m totally devastated. Now I gotta wait an entire year before I can celebrate one of the most relevant days….um….well, relevant to ME anyhow, “National Hairball Awareness Day.”
It was last Friday, as it is, I guess, the last Friday in every April, which, for the life of me, I have no idea why it wasn’t marked on my calendar. Damn!
But, have no fear my fine feline owner friends. MisfitWisdom to the rescue. Along with some guy from “Pet360,” Sid Kirchheimer, who is a lot nicer than that opinionated columnist Charles Krauthammer. (for some reason long names beginning with “K” fascinate me)
Sid has listed 30 facts about cat hairballs. Yes, 30!
Now look folks, sure, I’d like to know why any of my three cats insist on presenting me with a hairball on any given day, but I really DO NOT need to know 30 facts about hairballs. Just tell me why TF the little bastards cough up those disgusting things. That’s all.
Maybe a quick look at a cat’s brain might help.
So, even though Sid, who obviously was into hairballs to list 30 reasons about them, I’m NOT gonna list all 30. Just a few that may be of interest before you actually cough one up from reading about them.
As I said, Sid listed “30” facts, but I’m only taking a few. I left his actual numbers for each fact intact so that you can tell which numbered fact I skipped over should you want to go to “pet360.com” and find his article.
2. ‘Tis the season! Spring is prime time for hairballs, as cats shed their winter coats.
My theory is that if we all know that “Spring” is when cats shed their winter coats, why not just shave the suckers so that they’re bald, buy them little coats, or knit them one, and thereby eliminate the possibility of them coughing up hairballs.
Um, wait. That might not work. This because they’re always licking themselves, and they’d cough up yarn balls. Then again cleaning up yarn balls would be a lot better than cleaning up hair balls. Ya think!
3. Why they occur: No surprise that cats are fastidious groomers and have scratchy tongues – a perfect formula for hairballs. The sandpaper feel of a cat’s tongue is because it’s lined with tiny elevated hooks called papillae that help hold prey in place – as well as catch loose hair during grooming, which is then ingested.
Which is why cats make ideal fishing partners. With those little hooks all ya have to do when you go fishing is hang a cat off of your fishing rod and (screw using worms) just shag them fish in.
4. The typical cat ingests about 6 ounces of hair each year. You decide how much comes back.
5. The largest recorded hairball ever surgically removed from a cat was 5 inches long and weighed 7.5 ounces, almost 2 ounces heavier than a single-serve container of yogurt.
The yogurt being much tastier.
Don’t tell me. It’s now on display somewhere at a cat hairball museum.
7. Besides cats, other animals susceptible to hairballs include cows, deer, ferrets, rabbits and, yes, humans.
Look, I can understand animals licking themselves and coughing up a hairball, but, if I EVER see a human cough up a hairball I don’t EVEN wanna know the how’s and why’s of how that happened. Nor do I wanna see THAT hairball.
Um, why am I getting nauseous all of a sudden with that last thought?
8. In 2003, a 3-year-old Canadian girl had a grapefruit-sized hairball surgically removed from her stomach.
NOOOOO….NOOOOOOOOOOO I don’t wanna hear that stuff. STOP!!!!
10. The Poobah of Human Hairballs: A 10-pounder, removed by Chicago surgeons in 2007 from the stomach of an 18-year-old woman. Two year ago, a 4-pound hairball was removed from a teenager in India.
11. The World’s largest hairball weighs 167 pounds – a collection of hair clippings kept a Missouri barber over his 50-year career. His name: Henry.
No, the barber DID NOT cough up THAT hairball folks. He collected hair from his customers. Sometimes ya just have to make things perfectly clear. Next thing ya know some idiot reading this is gonna go tell his wife some barber coughed up a 167 pound hairball.
13. It’s not uncommon for a cat to yak a hairball once every week or two, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Yeah…well tell my cats that! How about every other day Sid. Obviously the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine doesn’t have a lot of cats roaming around the campus.
14. Frequent hacking – especially with no resulting hairballs – may have nothing to do with hairballs and could indicate other problems, including asthma. Consult your vet!
Or if your cat smokes. Might wanna switch them to e-cigarettes.
19. Despite the “ball” that suggests they’re round, hairballs are more often shaped more like a cigar or sausage.
Again, is the person who studies hairballs getting paid a lot of cash to research this stuff?
“Soooo, how was your day today honey?”
“Oh not too bad Martha. Just a few good-sized hairballs and one really long one. Um, what’s for supper?”
20. Size varies but hairballs are usually about 1 inch long. Some can be five times that length.
Consult the “Smithsonian Institution Cat Hairball” display in Washington, D.C. for the largest hairball. (only kidding…..I don’t think they actually have one there…BUT…..considering how our government wastes money, ya never know)
21. Hairballs tend to be darker than a cat’s coat color because of bile, pet food and various gastric secretions.
(taking my nausea medication)
22. In the Middle Ages, ground-up hairballs were believed to help cure poisoning, epilepsy and the plague. (Remember their Persian origin for “antidote.”)
Guess what I’d do if I had a case of epilepsy or the plague and some doc tried to get me to take a dose of ground-up hairballs. Yep….hari kari.
23. Back then, hairballs were so cherished they were sometimes set with gold and jewels.
Be careful next time ya go to a pawn shop and spot that neat piece of furry round jewelry.
24. To commemorate 2006’s National Hairball Awareness Day, the National Museum of Health and Medicine near Washington, D.C., displayed 10 hairballs from cattle, oxen, a horse and a chicken.
Ok…so there ya have it. And you thought I was way off base suggesting that the Smithsonian Institution may have a hairball display. Go figure.
26. Brushing cats regularly – daily for long-haired cats – can decrease the amount of ingested hair…and resulting hairballs. After brushing, wipe your cat with a clean cloth to remove any loose hairs.
Or, just use your Dyson vacuum.
27. When hacking begins, try administering a ¼ teaspoon of petroleum jelly to help ease the hairball downward rather than it being upchucked on the carpet. There are also over-the-counter hairball lubricants.
And you give this to a cat how?
28. Some vets also suggest feeding hairball-afflicted cats up to a teaspoon of butter every day for up to a week. Butter acts as a mild laxative. But first check with your vet.
30. High-fiber pet food can also do the trick. Some specially labeled “Hairball Control” or “Hairball Care” foods help to naturally move hair through the digestive system with dietary fiber.
Might wanna try it on yourself first before giving it to your cat. Just to be on the safe side. HEY! Can’t hurt, especially if you’re already on a “high-fiber” diet.
So there ya have it cat lovers. All the information you’d ever want to know, or not, about cat hairballs. Might wanna lay off lunch till your stomach settles a bit after reading all this stuff.
And, because “Pet360.com” is REALLY into this hairball thing, guess what they have for you. No….not a gold-plated hairball you can display on your mantel, but the chance to win a year’s supply of hairball preventive cat food. Oh joy. Info below.
“Have a hairball worth “celebrating?” Post a picture of it – or that of the fur you’ve collected after brushing your cat – and you’ll be entered to win free cat food! Pet360.com will choose one entry at random to receive a year’s supply of Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Intense Hairball 34 Dry Cat Food worth more than $500.”
So, get those cameras out and just wait for that hacking sound. You could be the next winner. Providing you don’t barf first taking a photo of your cat hacking up a huge hairball.
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