We have two cats, Chudley and Morgan. They throw-up all the time...or at least it seems that way. If cat puke were gold, my wife and I would be very wealthy.  We even bought carpet and rugs to try and match the color of their discharges. Most of the time it's hairballs. Believe it or not, today (April 25) is Hairball Awareness Day.

According to Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie from the CSU Vet Teaching Hospital, hairballs are a perfectly natural response to good grooming and are usually "expelled". The sound a cat makes upon evacuation is scary.  It's kind of a cross between a cough and a gag.  The face your cat makes can also be very alarming.

Why does this happen?

 

The projections on a cat’s tongue, which cause it to feel rough, are designed to clean off dead hairs in order to keep a cat’s coat smooth and sleek, the mark of a feline predator.  As pet cats groom, hair moves to the gut, and in most cases on to the litter box. Sometimes, however, hair hangs up in the stomach or upper intestine and collects fluids and bile. At this point, it becomes a round or tubular mass and must be expelled by vomiting.

 

Here are some ways to help your cat with hairballs:

 

  • Groom your cat to help with shedding. Pick a soft bristled brush or a cat grooming mitt.
  • Consider a petroleum-based cat hairball treatment.
  • Keep your cat entertained to avoid the excessive grooming that might result from boredom.