Features

September 2011 Issue

Hairballs: Sometimes Serious

Every so often, your otherwise fastidious cat will do this alarming and somewhat disgusting thing. She’ll awake from a peaceful nap, rise up on her paws, retch convulsively for a moment or two, and spit up what may appear at first glance to be a damp clump. What the animal has disgorged — in the middle of your kitchen floor or, worse yet, in the middle of your prized Persian rug — is a trichobezoar, a wad of undigested hair that is commonly referred to as a hairball. Despite the term, disgorged hairballs are not always round. They are often slender and cylindrical, shaped more like a cigar or sausage than a ball.

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