When I walk through my house, especially in the summer, and I see a brown turd shaped thing on the floor, I always hope it's a kitty hai...

Hairballs or Pooballs?

When I walk through my house, especially in the summer, and I see a brown turd shaped thing on the floor, I always hope it's a kitty hairball aka trichobezoar and not poo. It seems like cats hack up more hairballs in the spring and summertime. Hairballs are normal and really just a wad of fur that your cat has been collecting after it cleans itself combined with a little food and stomach secretions. They smell nasty, probably as bad as poop and are even grosser if you accidentally step in one barefoot...*barf*

Hairball or poo log?...Just kidding, it's a hairball.

There are ways to combat hairballs and here are a few suggestions...

1. Brush your cat, so the loose fur doesn't get swallowed when they clean themselves. Think of it as bonding with your kitty. You can even brush them daily. The more they are brushed the less hairballs they will cough up. Some cats don't like being brushed, but you can get a post with a brush that will help them remove some of the loose hair on their own. There's a variety of them.

A grooming arch can be found here.

2. If they are a long haired cat, you can take them to a groomer when it's hot outside for a trim, but only when it's hot enough, you don't want them to be cold! I have friends that do this once a year. (See pics of Doris with fur and without in her "lion haircut" above and right).

3. You can try hairball food that's high in fiber, so they can pass the hairball through their tummy easier.

4. Hairball medicine. There are many, most are mild laxatives, some have a lubricant to help your kitty poop it out. It just just seems a little dangerous to me. I don't want my kitties ingesting vaseline.

How many hairballs are too many? Well if your kitty produces one or more a month, it could be a health issue. Some vets even say more than two a year is too many. I'd say mine have about 3 big ones a year ~ I think this is pretty normal.

If your cat hacks but no hairball comes up it can be dangerous. (Yes, hacking up hairballs is good for your cat.) If you hear your cat retching and nothing is produced, they may have one stuck inside that can become an intestinal blockage, and will need to be surgically removed. I'm not making this up, see Gemma Cat. So make sure you groom those long haired kitties!

Signs they might have a blockage are a loss of appetite or constipation. To prevent this make sure they are drinking water and try feeding them canned pumpkin or meat flavored baby food and that may get them to poop the hairball out.

When our cats get sick they like the Gerber brand meat flavored baby food.

Things to consider... if your cat obsessively grooms, it will have more hairballs. Long haired cats will have more hairballs (duh), and hairless cats don't have any. Kittens have few to none because they are still learning how to properly groom themselves.

My friend's long haired groomed cats, Tamerlane and Linus ~ two large balls of fluff ~ want to wish you a Happy Summer and hope you don't step in any warm hairballs OR pooballs!