|Illustration by Deborah Leigh|
First off, let me be clear. I’m combining two topics into one post, but they’re not even remotely related. I just checked my calendar and noticed that today is “National Hairball Awareness Day.” So I wanted to mention it, but mostly because I found it funny that someone dedicated an entire day to the almighty hairball. My good buddy “Mr. Google” refused to tell me who that person was, but never mind. I’ll just give you some hairball facts and then move on to the really important stuff.
What are Hairballs?
Every cat owner is familiar with that dreadful gagging sound indicating that a hairball is about to be hacked up on their carpet. Cats seem to have some unwritten rule that they never cough up hairballs on easy to clean surfaces like the kitchen floor. But I digress. The formation of hairballs is a common feline condition caused by the ingestion of hair when a cat grooms itself. Sometimes the ingested hair collects into a tight ball in your cat's stomach, which they will then vomit up.
All breeds can get hairballs, and up to 80% of cats get them as frequently as once a month. In most cases, they’re a normal part of cat ownership and nothing to worry about (other than the carpet cleanup). However, sometimes hairballs can be a symptom of a more serious issue in the cat's digestive system, so if you suspect this to be the case with your cat, please consult your vet. Brushing your cat every day, particularly in the springtime when shedding is more severe, can help to minimize hairballs.
Now that you are fully aware of hairballs, let’s get to the announcement.
RPO Blog Announces Latest Winner of Free Food!
The sponsor of this blog, CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods, selects one reader every three months to receive a free six month supply of their premium quality pet food. The winner is chosen at random from every new reader who subscribed to the Responsible Pet Ownership blog via email during the past quarter, and they get to pick any formula of CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food.
The lucky winner for January-March is Dana G. from North Carolina. Dana chose the CANIDAE Platinum® formula for “Dixie Dog,” a 12 year old black Labrador Retriever. Dana rescued Dixie when she was just a year old, after a hunter moved away and abandoned the dog in a tiny pen with no food and a bucket of green water. Dana said that even though Dixie's age is really starting to show and she’s developed vision problems, “she is the most loving and loyal dog, and we are happy to call her a part of our family.” Dixie loves to go out in the boat when it's warm and during the summer, the family takes her out as much as possible.
Dana has several cats in addition to Dixie Dog, and she also fosters cats and kittens from her local shelter. She nurtures them for a few weeks until they can be transported to rescues up north. “Since June of last year, I have fostered 23 cats and kittens. Dixie loves the kitties and they love to cuddle with her when it's cold,” said Dana. She chronicles the adventures of her foster kitties in a blog called The Creek Cats.
Dana said she also volunteers for a local trap-neuter-return organization in her community. This all-volunteer organization advocates non-lethal methods to reduce the free-roaming cat population and since 2006, they have sterilized 586 feral cats in their community.
Congratulations Dana and Dixie on winning a six month supply of premium quality CANIDAE dog food! Readers – if you haven’t subscribed to the Responsible Pet Ownership blog yet – do it before the end of June to be entered in our next drawing for free pet food. Even if you don’t win, I promise that we’ll do our best to entertain and educate you about “all things pet.”
Read more articles by Julia Williams