Mahatma Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation could be judged by how its animals are treated. Therefore, if the over 70 animal holidays in the US are anything to go by, then it is a great nation. Nearly every month has a day set aside in honor of our pets and wildlife. With cats and dogs being the most common pets, most holidays pay attention to them. One of the many cat holidays includes the National Hairball Awareness Day celebrated in April every year. Let’s tell you a few facts about it as we also enlighten you on preventing hairballs, the reason why the holiday was created.
Its History and Importance
According to Days of the Year, the National Museum of Health and Medicine launched National Hairball Awareness Day in 2006 with the sole objective of educating pet owners about hairballs. The American Veterinary Association recognizes the day under Pet Heath Awareness Events. It is usually celebrated every last Friday of April. By creating awareness about the dangers of hairballs, the day ensures that we are always staying on top of our cat’s health and maintain good pet grooming routines. After all, ingesting fur is common; thus, the hairball formation is most likely to happen in a cat with lots of shed hair. The felines can pass the hairballs through the digestive tract or vomit it. Unfortunately, sometimes, it causes an obstruction that can have fatal results. The National Hairball Awareness Day ensures that you are reminded that your cat could have a hairball, and if you disregard it, you are likely to lose your beloved pet.
How to Celebrate the Day
Anime Direct says the day is not one to celebrate but to act as a reminder. Since it is also about preventing hairballs in our cats, there is no better way to commemorate the day than by checking your cat. Cats usually vomit hairballs weekly or biweekly so check to see that they have been doing it consistently. However, if it is too often, the issue can be resolved by a visit to the vet. On this day, you are reminded that caring for your cats also involves feeding them with food that enables the hairballs to pass easily through the digestive system. You can also take time to brush his fur or comb their hair. It could be a day to visit the store and stock up on shampoos and wipes that reduce the shedding; whatever you do, remember it is all about your cat, preventing hairballs and creating awareness. In the spirit of creating awareness, you can still be generous with information and share with your friends what you know about hairball prevention. A simple social media post could reach many cat owners and remind them to focus on their furry friends and hairballs.
You Can Prevent Hairballs
You do not have to wait until National Hairball Awareness Day to remind you how to ensure that your cat does not get sick from hairballs. Meowingtons highlights various ways to prevent hairballs, and they include:
- Distraction with Fun Activities – Then main aim of distracting your pet is to prevent him from excessively grooming himself. As much as cats are clean animals, some could be suffering from anxiety or stress and comfort themselves through licking their fur too much. Excessive grooming means that your cat is ingesting more fur than he usually does in a routine licking. Therefore, whenever you spot your cat paying too much attention to his fur, let him concentrate on something else. Toys, especially if he can chase them around, are great to kill two birds with one stone since you will be helping him exercise.
- Proper Diet to Avoid Constipation – Pumpkin has the great advantage of preventing constipation because it is an excellent fiber source that keeps the food moving. That way, you do not need a laxative which is only used if advised by a vet. One teaspoon mixed with cat food is enough to keep the digestive system in order. Additionally, you can incorporate fish oil in the cat’s meals. Besides moving the food along the tract, the oil helps maintain healthy skin and reduces shedding. Fish oil is recommended because it works both internally and externally in the prevention of hairballs. If your cat is picky about what he eats and pumpkin and fish oil are not among his favorite foods, try hairball formula food. No matter how picky he is, the hairballs have to be eliminated from his system lest he dies.
- Regular Grooming – Cats also can be picky about when to let you pet them; try when they are sleepy and give their coat a gentle brushing. A few strokes are enough to get him in the mood, and then you can build up to more. If the cat does not like brushes due to sensitive skin, a cat grooming glove that imitates petting will do.
How to Spot a Cat with Hairballs in Their System
Among the many ways of celebrating National Hairball Awareness say is to check if your cat has a hairball that could be causing him discomfort. One sure way of identifying a cat with a hairball stuck in the gut is the loss of appetite. Since the hair is indigestible, if it remains in the system, it forms an obstruction. A cat can try regurgitating it; hence you will notice vomiting or unproductive retching. Also, he may refuse to eat for a couple of days. The best way to be sure is to visit a vet where physical examinations and x-rays will determine if it is indeed a hairball causing the behavior. A vet can then prescribe a laxative in some cases, but in severe ones such as when a hairball is tightly lodged in the small intestines, only surgery can save your kitty.