No more hairballs

Throwing up hairballs isn’t natural. If cats still lived outdoors, shedded fur would be blown off or pulled off. In the home, fur detaches, gets licked into the throat and is either vomited out, or accumulates enough to create an obstruction if it doesn’t pass through the body.  Everyone has time for 15 seconds of brushing a day. For a short-haired cat, 15 seconds can mean the difference between hairballs and no hairballs. The volume of shedding fur usually increases dramatically in spring and fall.

Love glove mitt briskly stroking fur.
Love Glove mitt briskly stroking fur. Cats enjoy this.
After 3 seconds.
After 3 seconds brushing my cat Emma.
After a few more seconds . . .
After a few more seconds . . .
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.

To buy the grooming mitt – Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

“Can cat hair get into my lungs?”

How would cat fur bypass the body’s protective mechanisms?

Cilia

Mucus

Various tubes of decreasing size

“The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.”

Particulate Matter/Air &Radiation US EPA

Is fur 10 micrometers or less? No. If fur is pulverized into dust, then perhaps it could enter the lungs. Groomers inhale particles, but are the particles small enough and in high enough volume to cause lung problems later in life? That I don’t know. Since high-velocity dryers are currently a standard grooming salon tool, I would guess that more particles are being blown around nowadays. In earlier years, a “stand dryer” or a human-style blow dryer was used to dry pets.

What I do know is that you will not see a furry lung if you autopsy a groomer.

“Since the late 1970’s, we only monitored particulate matter pollution that was 10 microns in diameter or less, called PM 10. A micron (or micrometer) is a millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of how small PM 10 is, the dot above the letter “i” in a typical newspaper measures about 400 microns!”  From Hamilton County Environmental Services website. Good site!

Note: Micron = micrometer = millionth part of a meter.  A meter is 39.37 inches. PM = Particulate Matter.

“PM is the term used for solid or liquid particles emitted to the air. Some particles are large enough to be seen, and others are so small they can only be detected with an electron microscope.”

Relevant article from NAILS Magazine: “If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Inhale It.” Take home message: “Particles that are small enough to remain airborne and possibly be inhaled are not visible to the naked eye. In other words, says Will Forest, associate toxicologist for the Hazard Evaluation System Information Service of the California Department of Health Services, “If you can see it, you can’t inhale it.”

Micrometer

Well-groomed cats stay cool in summer. Shaving not necessary.

There are reasons to shave a cat, but temperature is not one of them. Best way to keep your cat cool? Frequent brushing, water, shade.

From MPC of Texas (Mobile Pet Care Clinics)

Unlike humans, the skin of dogs and cats does not contain the vast network of blood vessels and sweat glands designed to dissipate body heat during hot weather conditions. True, dogs do possess sweat glands in their footpads, but these glands play a minimal role in overall thermoregulation. Despite being sweat-gland deficient, dogs and cats have an uncanny ability to vaporize large amounts of water from their lungs and airways, water that carries heat from the body when they pant.

Shaving pets for the summer can actually predispose them to sun burn and to heat exhaustion/heat stroke. Long hair and thick undercoats act as insulation against the sun’s rays and their effects. Coats that are kept well-brushed and mat-free allow for good air circulation through the hair, which in itself can actually have a cooling effect. On the contrary, matted, unkempt hair coats stifle air circulation and do little to help cool the body. In other words, daily brushing is a must during the hot, summer months.

Here’s a prime example: My 2 year old Boxer, Titan (who has a short hair coat) and my 8 year old mix, Gobi ( who has long hair with a thick undercoat) love to go jogging with me. Both dogs are extremely fit, yet after 40 minutes in the Texas heat, Titan’s tongue is scraping the pavement, forcing regular water stops, whereas Gobi continues to just trot along like a canine version of Forrest Gump, seemingly oblivious to the heat. Keep pets cool and comfortable during the summer by keeping them well-groomed and by always providing a source of fresh water and shade. But don’t shave them. If you do, you’re only defeating the purpose and you may end up with a very expensive veterinary bill on your hands.”

BUT MOST CATS DON’T NEED TO PANT IN ORDER TO STAY COOL . . .

So how DO they stay cool? According to Dr. Bruce Carstens of Willow Rock Pet Hospital, “Because cats are generally around 10 pounds in size, they are small enough to regulate their temperature by decreasing their activity level and moving to the shade. The surface area of their skin is large enough in relation to their body mass to dissipate most heat build-up. If your cat gets hot or excited, you may see him pant for a short time, but it is not very common.”

 

Oily fur&stress go together like peanut butter&jelly?

Cat skin has sebaceous glands that secrete sebum, a greasy substance.  When stressed, the glands shift into overdrive.  This makes perfect sense. Many of the calls I receive come from homes in which the owner has either moved recently, just given birth or travels often. These can be high-stress situations for some cats.

Those glands must be pouring out oil when the vacuum cleaner monster invades the living room!

Cat fur should feel like a baby bunny

Do you know what you’re missing?

My cat, Emma, has fur so soft that she feels like a baby bunny. Does your cat’s fur feel like a baby bunny? It doesn’t? Oh dear!

Here’s what you do:

1. Use a Luv Glove and/or Zoom Groom to get out as much dead fur as possible.

2. Bathe your cat using high-quality, gentle shampoo.

3. Blow dry using a high-velocity pet dryer.

4. Run your hand over your cat’s fur and say, “Wow!”

(alternate method to replace first 3 steps:  Call a cat groomer.)

Emma says "I'm a bunny in disguise."
Emma says “I’m a bunny in disguise.”