By Vonda Ellinger
Ah, you’re finally laying down in a cool dark room, your head comfortably resting on a pillow, and your all snuggled up in a warm, fluffy comforter. It’s been a long day at work, and an even more hectic evening running errands. After you finally get to sleep, and begin to dream peacefully, you hear a wretched sound!
Somewhere nearby, your cat is making hacking noises and coughing up something horrendous! Do you get up now and take care of the lovely gift your feline friend has left you, or do you get comfy again, only to pick it up in the morning and risk the chance of stepping on it.
For all of us who have been chosen as the servants of select feline friends, we know these to be hairballs, or trichobezoars, as we call them in the veterinary industry.
So how do these wonderful presents develop and find their way to your carpet?
While your cat is happily grooming during the day, a certain amount of hair is caught in her rough tongue and swallowed. The more she grooms, the greater the chances for a hairball (trichobezoar) to develop. In most cases, they are harmless, though, not so fun to discover. If your cuddly kitten leaves these for you often, you may need to help her with grooming and the management of her trichobezoars.
Most hairballs are around an inch long, and about ½ inch wide. They can be longer, and I have assisted one of my Veterinarians in the anesthetized removal of one that was over an inch thick and 7 inches in length!
What predisposes my cat to a Trichobezoar?
- Long haired breeds
- Persians, Maine Coones
- Excessive grooming
- Mature cats, who spend more time grooming, and less time playing.
- Seasons that involve shedding
Well, now you can say you know what a trichobezoar is and hopefully you’ll be prepared the next time you encounter one!