Text Size

 Stay up-to-date with our newsletter. It's free & you'll be able to access our articles, stories, giveaways and savings. We only send you a summary of things you have missed and we never sell your information.

Subscribe Now
  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
  • All About HorsesAll About Horses

    All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with PetsTraveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
  • All About CrittersAll About Critters

    All About Critters

    Take a look at what it means to have ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and more. Read More
  • All About ReptilesAll About Reptiles

    All About Reptiles

    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Technology Helps Pets Fight Fleas and Ticks

    Ready for some new technology to fight the war on fleas and ticks? We've got a few things for you.

    There are lots of products on the market that help fight fleas and ticks naturally, but sometimes you need a little more. This is where ultrasonic tick and flea protection comes into play.

    The concept is pretty simple: Insects detect sound by special hairs (known as sensilla) which are located on the insects antennae (in the case of mosquitoes), genitalia (in the case of cockroaches), or tympanal organs (in the case of butterflies). The theory is that they don't like the sound of pulses and will run away to another unlikely victim.

    Enter the SonicGuard™ Ultrasonic Tick and Flea Protection from Gen7 Pets.

    Read More
  • How much water does your cat need?

    Water is the one thing that no living being can do without. It’s especially important to our pets. Not drinking enough water can result in lots of health problems for our dogs and cats.

    This is why we’re helping PetSafe® celebrate National Pet Hydration Month this July. They not only understand the importance of water, they help make it safe for our pets. As you know if you read PetsWeekly, Drinkwells is our preferred way to make desert water a little more appealing to our pets. Since we’ve used pet fountains in our home, we have virtually eliminated urinary stones and crystals in our cats, and UTIs in our dogs.

    “Our pets need one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight each day,” said Willie Wallace, CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of the PetSafe brand. “Proper hydration plays a big role in a pet’s health, and can save pet parents a trip to their vet’s office.”

    Read More
  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Pet Insurance

    June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day. This year, let’s focus the conversation on our pets.

    Insurance is a hot topic for everyone  these days. Not only do we have to make tough choices for ourselves and our human family, we now have to seriously consider options for out pets medical care. As science and technology improve, so does the care of pets, but these advances are not inexpensive.

    It really shouldn’t be that tough of a question. We insure our homes, our vehicles, our jewelry and even our art. Why wouldn’t we insure our pets to make certain they receive the best care possible? Yet, fewer than 1% of our pets are protected by insurance.

    We know how important it is to make this decision count. That’s why we worked with Pets Best to come up with a list of the top 10 questions you should ask prior to purchasing pet insurance.

    Read More
  • Calmz Anxiety Relief System Helps Pets Stay Calm

    There’s a new option for keeping dogs calm during times of stress (particularly when there's a thunderstorm or fireworks, or when your pets experience separation anxiety). Since it's very new and quite effective, I wanted to let you know about it right away so you can get it ordered before the 4th of July.

    Calmz is an anxiety relief system that is developed by vets for pets. It’s non-invasive, drug-free and effective; so I’m quite excited to be among the first to introduce it. This unique system uses sound, touch, and vibration to help calm pets.

    Here are the details:

    Read More
  • Synthetic Dog Could Replace Shelter Dogs for Veterinarian Training

    Just when you think the fate of an abandoned animal can't possibly get any worse. ABC News recently reported that many of these dogs and cats are sold to terminal surgery laboratories where they are used for testing and surgery training, and then euthanized.

    Now, I have to say, we have our doubts about this practice and that story's accuracy. The veterinary schools we know and work with abandoned that practice many, many years ago and only perform surgeries on shelter animals who require surgery. Even then, then they do their best to find homes for the animals through legitimate rescuers.

    On the other paw, many laboratories do purchase animals from "B dealers" (aka puppy mills, horses from slaughterhouses and others who just breed to sell to laboratories).

    Regardless, SynDaver Labs, a Florida-based company, is planning to change any need for anyone to ever have to purchase a live dog for experimentation or training DVMs by replacing them with lifelike and very realistic synthetic dog that mimics nearly every part of a live animal.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Dogs that can't Swim and Some that just aren't very good at it

Summer is officially here in the desert and we have reached temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, so you know Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More

Keeping Aquariums Alive During Summer Blackouts

Summer is on the way, and that means possible brown outs (power shortages) and even blackouts (power outages) for most Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

10 Ways to Help Cats #AdoptAShelterCatMonth

June is #AdoptAShelterCatMonth and that means it's time to join in the festivities and celebrate all thing cat! We really Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More
  • 1

Welcome to PetsWeekly

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

If you have ever stepped from a hot shower on cold winter's day, only to find yourself stepping on a cold mass of - something - you probably have a cat with a hairball. At least, I hope that's what you have. 

Turns out, hairballs are pretty fascinating. They have a long history with cat folks like ourselves and have contributed to a lot of history.

Not everyone hated hairballs. In fact, it was used for medical purposes at one point!

There are many different types of species that are subject to hairballs - pretty much if they have fur or hair, they are able to get a hairball. Sometimes this is due to the physical act of grooming, other times it's due to a psychological issue (especially in humans who can sometimes have a compulsion to eat their hair).

Here are the top 15 most interesting facts about hairballs that you probably didn't know...

 

1. Cats have a LOT of hair to eat.

The average cat spends 1/3 of their waking life grooming themselves. Let’s do the math:

  • ~ Most cats sleep an average of 13-14 hours per day
  • ~ Most cats groom themselves for 3-4 hours per day

That only leaves 7 hours per day to play, demand food, stare at you in a condescending manner, and vomit hairballs on to your Persian rug.

2. People mostly don't know what hairballs are.

The average person spends 1 hour per week staring at a regurgitated hairball and wondering what it is.

(Okay, we made that stat up, but the rest of the stats in this article are true).

3. Cats eat a LOT of hair.

The average cat consumes 173 grams of cat hair each year.

That’s about 6 ounces, which is the equivalent of 30 quarters or $7.50. It’s also the equivalent of 86 Ruby-throated hummingbirds.

 

4. The largest hairball

4. The largest hairball ever removed from a cat was 5 inches wide (12.5 cm) and weighed in at a whopping 7.5 ounces. The surgery was performed by Cromwell Vet Group in Cambridgeshire, England on a cat named Gemma.

(Side note: We discovered that the UK will write news stories about ANYTHING!)

5. They're called Trichobezoars

The scientific term for hairballs is “trichobezoars.” The word Trichobezoars comes from the Persian word, Bezoar, and means “protection from poison.”

6. There are different kinds of hairballs.

Hairballs are named for what's in them. There are several different types:

  • Bezoar is just a plain old fashioned hairball.
  • Phytobezoar is a mass of undigested food particles usually from fruits and vegetables such as celery, citrus fruits, coconut, pumpkins, grape skins, prunes, and raisins.
  • Diospyrobezoars are bezoars that contain undigested persimmons. Whether that means eating a lot of persimmons can result in hairballs or hairballs are just hard to digest, I couldn't really tell you.

7. Hairballs prevent poisoning.

Hairballs were once used to prevent poisoning and act as an antidote if poisoning had already occurred. Whether that's because hairballs are super absorbent or because our ancestors were incredibly gullible and the doctors liked messing around with people's heads, I really couldn't tell you.  Whatever works, I suppose...

8. All animals get hairballs.

8. All animals get hairballs but those who are particularly susceptible to this problem include cats, ferrets, rabbits, cattle, deer and (believe it or not), humans. See #9. <shiver>

9. Humans get hairballs.

In 2003, an 18-year-old woman from Canada had a 5.1 lb hairball surgically removed from her lower intestine.

The World’s largest hairball is a collection from Henry Coffer of Charleston, MO. The hairball weighs in at 167 pounds and is a result of collecting hair clippings throughout his 50-year career as a barber. You can read that (and other interesting world records for cats) here.

10. Hairballs can cause a lack of appetite, dehydration, and depression in your cat.

This is why it’s so important to offer them a food that is high-quality pet food and brush them daily (especially long-haired cats and during shedding seasons) to eliminate excess pet hair.  Excessive grooming in a cat could indicate a health issue, just as a lack of grooming could indicate the same.

11. All animals groom, but not all animals get hairballs.

If you're wondering where that hairball came from, check with the longer-coated, middle-aged, bored cat. You know - the one who prefer to lie on the couch and groom himself all afternoon. Kittens aren't nearly as self-conscious (and let's face it, they're just learning how to groom). Older cats generally have more mobility issues and can't reach those difficult spots (which is why you should implement a grooming routine!)

12. Eliminating hairballs (or reducing them) is as easy as a liquid supplement.

The best ones are all-natural, palatable (your cats enjoy them) and are simple to digest (because cats are sensitive). Our personal favorite is the Licks Hairball - The Pill Free Solution.

 

13. Hairballs get big and can cause serious health concerns.

One cat had a hairball so large it cut off her ability to eat! When the vets successfully removed the offending fur, it was "the size of two cricket balls". (I don't know what size a cricket ball is, but it doesn't sound good.)

14. The average cats swallows 173 grams of hair in 1 year.

The average cats swallows 173 grams of hair in 1 year, which is about the weight of 30 US quarters.

I don't even like carrying change around in my purse because it gets so heavy. I think that trying to surgically remove 173 grams of hair would cost a lot more than trying to prevent it.

15. Most cat hairballs aren't even balls.

Usually cats cough up something that is a long, cylindrical object. I've mistaken hairballs for everything from dead lizards to poop - and none of those are fun to see or step on...

Bonus Fact: Hairballs are perfectly natural. But to keep them moderated, be sure to give your cats regular supplements, groom regularly, and feed a healthy, natural diet.

Other Articles You May Enjoy:

stacymantlestacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


New in Dogs

New in Cats

New in Horses

New in PetsGEEKly

Subscribe to PetsWeekly for the latest pet news, giveaways, and more!    Stay informed!