The Divine Macy by Jessica McColl

Macy is a DMH tuxedo and every bit the supermodel. She is svelte, sleek, intelligent and discerning in her tastes. Yes, she is the total and complete opposite of Mr. Bean.

Macy was also my first ever cat. Macy, you should know, was a victim of animal cruelty. I believe that Macy’s shy nature is at least in part, a result of this. She takes a long time to accept strangers. She is very sensitive and highly bonded to me.

I think I called the shelter where I adopted her from almost daily for two weeks when we got her. I slowly molded into more and more of a totally devoted crazy cat lady.

When Macy became ill unexpectedly, I was every bit the panic stricken first time mum. She kept vomiting and seemed lethargic, I rushed her to our Vet [another crazy cat lady]. She was diagnosed with fur balls.

Yep, I felt the fool.

I decided to write about this as recently a friend of mine exclaimed how her kitty has never had fur balls Macy was two years old when I rushed her to the vet with her first lot. So if your are a seasoned cat owner, you may not blink at what I am about to tell you, new cat owners be warned.

Fur balls are gross.

The cat will cough and hack and eject what looks like a long poop, spectacularly from their mouth. Sometimes their breakfast comes with it. Why did no one mention this to me? I imagined a little ball of fur as coughed up by Garfield.  This, it is not.

So I prefer to focus on the solution, or rather management of them. If you are unsure, a visit to the Vet is not a bad idea. On the aforementioned trip to our vet, Macy required an injection. The friction caused by the fur rubbing against her stomach lining caused inflammation, so she was in fact in pain.

Macy devotes 98% of her life to the beautification process, you can tell this by looking at her. However it also leads to fur build up in her digestive tract.

Mr. Bean is a DSH and has only ever had one. It was nowhere near as traumatic for him as for Macy. The initial advice from the vet was that prevention is better than a cure, true of so many things in life. She said to start giving them both food, which targets fur balls. Even though fur balls rarely affect short hair cats so severely, if you have more than one feline resident there is the chance that they will mutually groom. I dutifully followed the vets advice, despite the fact we had recently discussed that Mr. Bean is flat our grooming himself. She also mentioned that I should brush Macy during molting seasons, which I was already doing.

This approach worked for quite a while. You will never eliminate fur balls in your cats. That is not the aim of fur ball management. It is good for cats to throw up [or poop out] their fur balls. Better out than in, I always say. What you want to aim for is that the process is easy and non-stressful for your cat.

Recently we had a horrible episode where Macy attempted to cough up a fur ball, which she couldn’t dislodge. It resulted in her drooling for about two hours. It was terrifying. We had been giving them both a high quality fur ball food. I googled and googled and googled. Most options were not an option for us. In the end I tried a fur ball paste which you smear on your cats paws for them to lick off. It helps lubricate the fur in their digestive tract so they can pass it more easily.

Macy is highly offended by the mess on her paw, and ensures she removes every single trace of it before she steps off the spot. Which is exactly what I want her to do. So far, so good.  

Another good option is offering cat grass. Macy has gone off the cat grass as Mr. Bean has [another] truly charming habit of pooping in it. But give it a go with your cats.

If she were to read this Macy would be mortified. Fur balls, in their essence, are VERY un-ladylike.

What do you do to help manage fur balls? 

Macy has declined to show her face in light of today’s topic.

Macy has declined to show her face in light of today’s topic.

Sarah MenziesComment