The Proverbial Hairball Problem

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2013

To this day my calico, Cali (October 3, 1990 – May 11, 2009), still holds the world record for projectile hairball vomiting – 14 feet, 5.3 inches to be exact. Okay, she was in my arms and we were standing at the top of the stairs at the time, which could account for this expansive throw-up. Unfortunately, this happening was never recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records because I was much too busy wiping walls and steam-cleaning carpets, not to mention throwing all my clothes in the wash basket and giving the cat a bath, to register this event.

It was entirely my fault. I had decided I wanted her to come and sit outside on the balcony with me and enjoy the morning sunshine while I took a coffee break. When I scooped her up in my arms and hugged her, I never realized that she’d been slurping away at her water bowl. The funny gurgling noises in her throat were the first clue but it was too late to do anything about it – she spewed the contents of the bowl plus a giant hairball like one of those statues at the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Fudge (on left) also picks prime spots to throw up her hairballs. One of her favorite places to sit is on the kitchen counter, which as you can imagine is always a hive of activity especially because my husband loves to spread files out there and work, with her “assistance” of course. He has a bad habit of using the cordless phone and leaving it lying on the counter buttons facing upwards instead of putting it back on the charging unit.

Recently, while he was busy shuffling papers and ignoring Fudge’s attempts for hands-on attention – she was literally walking under his nose with her tail – she gave up and sat staring at him instead. She was obviously plotting her next move. He put the phone down right in front her and carried on what he was doing, oblivious of her. Without any warning, she leaned forward and vomited gunk plus a hairball right into the earpiece. Now when you use the phone, despite heroic attempts at cleaning it, it makes swishy noises that sound like you are having a conversation with the Little Mermaid under the sea.

That’s when I decided I needed to do whatever I could to try and prevent hairballs in the first place.

Luckily, there are functional treats to help with this problem which cats happen to love. There are a few products I like very much. Sentry Petromalt Hairball Chewables come in three flavors: malt, chicken and salmon. Ziggy is a fan of the treats. Luckily there’s also Petromalt Hairball Relief gel in both a fish and a malt flavor, which is a laxative product to prevent the formation of hairballs and help ease digested hair through the system. It’s simply a matter of putting a dollop on a front paw and letting the cat lick it off.

It is doing the trick and reducing Fudge’s hairball problems. Naturally, I am very careful never to apply it when she’s sitting near the phone in case she decides to rub it off on the earpiece instead!

-Photo Credit: Ziggy testing Petromalt treats. Photo by Sandy Robins.

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