Let’s have some fun with hairballs and gratitude! Today, the last Friday in April is National Hairball Awareness Day. No kidding. There is a day devoted to hairballs. Since today’s blog is a departure from our typical topics, you may be wondering—what do hairballs have to do with gratitude or appreciation.
Well, if you have a furry friend then you appreciate the love, fun, and entertainment they bring into your home. Research studies find that pet owners are healthier than those who live without pets.
Pets can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, doctor visits, depression, and sick days. Research also indicates people with pets exercise more, experience less stress and anxiety, and enjoy social well-being. These are some of the same benefits one receives from expressing gratitude. It is difficult to know if a person is in good health because he lives gratefully with a pet or if she owns a pet and is grateful because she is in good health. Whatever the case, living gratefully with a pet is a win-win for everyone.
On a balmy September day, my granddaughter and I discovered an itty bitty kitty in a culvert near our home. Others walked by the scrawny baby ignoring her pitiful cry, but we stopped to pet her. And, of course, she followed us home. We have a pet bunny (also a rescue pet) which prevented us from bringing her indoors. So, we sat on our front porch with the crying baby kitten discussing our alternatives. The kitten cried non-stop until the neighbors opened their garage. Moments later, she ran straight to the cat food stored in a plastic container in their garage–at least 150 yards away. It was heartbreaking to see her desperation as she wolfed down the cat food. The next day heavy rains fell all day. Water flooded the intersection where we rescued the kitten. My granddaughter and I know without a doubt that we saved Kitty’s life.
That was 19 months ago. Kitty, yes I know it’s not a very original or creative name, but it stuck, is still with us and every time I visit my kids, she loves on me and gives me hugs. I think she remembers that day and even though I was only with her for a few hours, she remembers me.
She is a special friend for my granddaughter. So, yes, I appreciate Kitty. I am grateful that my granddaughter has a pet of her own. And I’m especially grateful for the memories I share with my granddaughter as we reminisce about the day we rescued Kitty.
But what does this have to do with National Hairball Awareness Day? Hairballs can be a threat to a cat’s good health. In some cases, surgery is required to remove an obstructed hairball. According to an article in CatTime last month, hairballs might indicate a serious health problem. “If you notice your cat is producing hairballs quite frequently, or if you observe excessive gagging, coughing, hacking, vomiting, a loss of appetite, lethargy, unusual stool consistency — including diarrhea, constipation, or an strangely excessive amount of hair in the stool — then it might be best to consult a licensed veterinarian. Cats who frequently regurgitate their hairballs may have an underlying medical condition such as inflammatory bowel disease or even cancer, according to the ASPCA.”
You can help reduce the amount of hair your cat might ingest by brushing or combing them regularly. Petroleum based cat treats can also help hair pass through the system. Cats need to drink plenty of water to keep their digestive tract in good condition.
So if you appreciate your feline companion and want them to be healthy, show them your gratitude and be aware of the hair.
LaDonna Greiner is a writer, life-long student of gratitude, and the founder of the Project Gratitude. Her book series, 21 Reasons to Say Thank You, offers audiences the tools and practical guidance needed to discover the power of gratitude and act on it. She is a frequent speaker, coaching audiences on how to live a grateful life. Learn more at www.21ReasonsToSayThank You.com