Falling on the last Friday in April every year, National Hairball Awareness Day, on April 29 this year, aims to promote awareness of our pets’ health and happiness. Predominantly a concern for cats, rabbits, and cattle, hairballs are a healthy part of animals’ routines, but can also be evidence of an underlying health issue. So we have all the info to help you care for your creatures this National Hairball Awareness Day.
History of National Hairball Awareness Day
National Hairball Awareness Day is a key date for any animal lover, but particularly cat owners. Since the evolution of the very first cats over 6 million years ago, our feline friends have been coughing up hairballs as part of their natural grooming process.
A hairball is a small collection of hair that collects in the cat’s stomach. When cats groom themselves, the barbs on their tongues catch loose or dead hair, which they swallow. Much of this hair passes straight through them and out the other end but if some of it gets lodged in the stomach, the cat will vomit it out to remove it from their system.
Wild cats roamed the lands passing hairballs wherever they pleased until around 7500 B.C. when people in the Near East began domesticating them as pets by bringing them into their homes, feeding them, and caring for them. Cats no longer needed to expend energy hunting for food, and instead could live in luxury with their every need considered.
In the ancient Egyptian era, around 4,000 years later, cats grew in popularity thanks to the Egyptian’s belief in their god-like qualities. Cats were highly revered and treated with great respect, much like the way we treat our feline pets today. Now, 95 million cats are owned in the U.S. alone. As a result, National Hairball Awareness Day was started in 2006 by the National Museum of Health and Medicine, to remind cat owners to pay attention to their cats’ health and keep them well cared for.
National Hairball Awareness Day timeline
The domestic cats we recognize today develop from the Felidae family and go on to populate nearly every region on Earth, excluding Australia and Antarctica.
Cats are first domesticated in the Near East, as people begin caring for the wild cats living around them.
The Ancient Egyptians raise the profile of the domestic cat through their great respect for the animal, which becomes a key part of their culture.
The National Museum of Health and Medicine launches Hairball Awareness Day with the hope of educating people about hairballs.
National Hairball Awareness Day FAQs
How can I help my cat pass a hairball?
Animals with hairballs will usually gag or suffer from a lack of appetite. It’s usually a very short process, so if these symptoms persist you should seek advice from an expert.
When should I worry about hairballs?
Strange as they may be, hairballs are part of your pet’s natural and healthy routine, so there’s no reason to be concerned if they are susceptible to them.
How to celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day
Comb for comfort
Spend time with a furry friend and help them avoid a hairball by combing their fur. Although hairballs are a natural and healthy thing, it doesn’t hurt to give them a helping hand!
Do yoga with your pet
One cause of hairballs in animals is stress. When something has upset them, they’re more likely to occur. So help your pet to unwind with some relaxing activities that will be of benefit to you both.
Treat your cat to something tasty
Celebrate your fur baby with a yummy dish of something they’ll love. If they’re prone to hairballs, then why not offer them a petroleum-based cat treat, designed to lubricate their system and keep it moving, reducing hairballs. Your carpet will thank you for it!
5 Facts About Hairballs To Make You Choke!
They can be bigger than a baseball
The record for the biggest-ever hairball to be removed from a cat weighed in at a colossal 7.5 ounces and was 4.9 inches wide — that’s 1.9 inches bigger than a Major League Baseball!
They’re most common in warm months
Cats naturally consume more hair in the warmer months of spring and summer as their fur sheds more frequently to regulate their temperature.
The longer the hair, the bigger the ball
Breeds of cats with long hair like Persians and Maine Coons are far more likely to suffer from regular hairballs, as their long hair sheds more frequently and builds up faster.
Humans can get them
Any animal with hair can end up swallowing it, including humans — but it tends to be rabbits and cows that are the most susceptible.
They’re not actually balls
Contrary to their name, hairballs are tube-shaped, as they become elongated as they travel through the esophagus.
Why We Love National Hairball Awareness Day
We can check in with our furry friends
National Hairball Awareness Day is a great opportunity to spend time with animals, which can help to reduce stress and bring joy to your day, and they love the attention too!
Our pets’ health is important
We rely on animals as a source of comfort, but it’s important to make sure they’re happy and healthy too. National Hairball Awareness Day reminds us not to ignore that, even if it’s a bit gross at times!
The effects are long-lasting
Staying aware of the health of animals will mean these cute creatures will live longer, happier lives thanks to your care and concern.
National Hairball Awareness Day dates