Lykoi Breed Profile

Origin & History

The Lykoi is a very new breed that was created after a cat with the name of “Eva Hava” gave birth to two semi-hairless kittens with a striking wolf/ werewolf like look in VA, USA.

These two kittens were Wolfie Silver Lining (male) & Ray of Home (female). The two were given to Sphynx breeder Patti Thomas on September 4, 2010.

She named the soon to be new breed Lykoi, which roughly translates to “Wolf” in greek. Because of this, Lykoi cats go by nicknames such as wolves, werewolf cats or wolfkin.

Medical testing was undergone on the two Lykoi, and they were both found to be in excellent health and without any known feline diseases.

In 2011, two similar looking kittens were born in TN, USA, these two kittens were given to Dr. Gobble, in hopes that they could be used to establish a new cat breed. In 2011 the first intentionally bred Lykoi was born.

Outbreeding or outcrossing with domestic shorthair cats were used to reduce inbreeding and diversify the gene pool of the new breed to prevent health problems and maintain a healthy genetic variety within the breed. Domestic shorthairs are still the only allowed cats for outcrossing to grow the breed.

In 2013, the Lykoi was given preliminary new breed status with The International Cat Association (TICA). At this point, there were now 13 breeders around the world dedicated to breeding new Lykoi.

In 2014, Dr. Leslie Lyons of The University of Missouri conducted genetic testing on the Lykoi. She found that the Lykoi do not share the genes responsible for partial hairlessness in the Sphynx and Devon Rex breeds.

In 2015 the South African Cat Club governed by WCF announce the worlds first Lykoi Champion.

In 2017, the breed was classified as an “Advanced New Breed” and given championship status in TICA. An application for Misc. status in the CFA was submitted in 2017 as well.

As of January 2019, the Lykoi is currently listed as an experimental new breed in the CFA

Coat, Colors & Appearance

A medium sized cat with a muscular slender body, the Lykoi is an eye catcher in more ways than one. The roan coat makes it stand out visually and the intense golden eyes combined with the wide based, tipped and alert ears contribute to its energetic, almost mystical appearance.

For those that don’t know, a roan coat is a coat that has a mixture of colored hair and amelanistic hairs (hairs with no pigment). The ratio of this mixture can vary with 30% to 70% of colored hairs with 50% being ideal according to the CFA Breed Standards. This is found in a variety of other animals but the Lykoi is the only cat breed with such a coat. For example, if a Lykoi has black hairs as it’s pigmented hair, it will result in a silver look due to the mix of white and black guard hairs.

The amount of hairlessness can vary from cat to cat, while the undercoat is always lacking the density of the guard hairs varies with some being almost completely hairless while others being haired. Lykoi will molt most of their hair at least once. When it molts, it loses most or all of its hair for a while before it grows back again.

Furthermore, the absence of hairs around the eyes, chin, mouth, and muzzle give the Lykoi a unique facemask which contributes to its wolf or werewolf like appearance. The Lykoi also lacks hair behind the ears.

The Lykoi comes in a variety of colors such as pure white, black and red. However, black is the only color allowed for showing with TICA, whereas the other colors are acceptable for breeding only. The CFA allows all colors when it comes to the solid colors in the roan pattern. A Lykoi cat is born with a solid black color until the roan pattern emerges after one or two weeks. The only color patterns allowed for competition is mink, point, and sepia, while all other patterns and colors are allowed outside of competition.

Earlier this year (2019), Patti Thomas, the aforementioned founder of the breed shared the news on her Facebook page that the first longhair Lykoi has been born. The cat is white in color.

Males can be substantially larger than females.

Personality

The Lykoi is an affectionate and intelligent cat that gets a long well with children as wel as with dogs, which makes it a great family cat.

Because it is so intelligent it can almost seem dog-like in its ability to learn games like fetch.

Your Lykoi can entertain itself with toys but like all cats they should be stimulated with regular playtime so that they do not get bored and lash out. Your Lykoi may be a bit shy at first but usually warms up to new people, children, and dogs after it is certain that it is safe.

Even though they love to run around and have they also enjoy some cuddle time on your lap!

Health

The Lykoi is a generally healthy cat but due to its coat or lack thereof, it is important to keep it as an indoor cat only. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the skin to darken due to pigmentation, however, the skin should return back to its normal pink once it is kept away from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

There is very little inbreeding in this breed and it therefore has less genetical health issues that unfortunately can arise in popular breeds due to poor breeding practices from irresponsible “breeders”.

Like any cat it can develop health problems regardless of genetics and just because it is a generally healthy and well managed breed, does not mean it is immune to illnesses that affect other cats.

What Makes the Lykoi Different?

The partial hairless appearance of this cat is the first thing people notice. Being the only cat breed in the world with a roan coat does not only make them look unique but it furthers their uniqueness compared to other breeds.

The reason behind their hairlessness is also interesting as it does not share the same genes responsible for the hairlessness in the Sphynx and Devon Rex cat breeds. Scientific research discovered that their hairlessness comes from a very rare genetic mutation.

As mentioned earlier in this breed profile, the Lykoi was studied by Dr Leslie Lions in 2016, and she published her findings in the paper Clinical and Histological Description of Lykoi Cat Hair Coat And Skin.

The principle findings of the paper can be summarized with the following:

  • Lykoi have fewer hair follicles than normally coated cats.
  • The Lykoi has a unique feline phenotype that may serve as a novel dermatological biomedical model.

Their werewolf and wolf like appearance along with their love for playing fetch and hunt like a wolf in packs helps create even more mystery and intrigue surrounding this breed.

Grooming Your Lykoi

Much like the Sphynx, the Lykoi is fairly easy to groom, but should be bathed once a week or bi-weekly. Because of the lack of an undercoat, skin oils can build up and clog the pores of the skin if the cat is not bathed regularly.

In addition to bathing, regular trimming of the nails, and brushing teeth on a bi-weekly basis is recommended. It also recommended to clean the ears periodically with a soft damp cloth.

Even though the cat is partially hairless it is not considered a hypoallergenic cat. This is because it produces the same amount of Fel-d1 and Fel-d4, a protein unique found in the saliva, skin, and urine that causes allergies in humans. For more information on arguably the only hypoallergenic cat breed and why we are allergic to cats check out the Siberian Breed Profile.

Buying A Lykoi

Since the Lykoi is such a new breed, most kittens are sold to other breeders for continual growth of the breed. Those kittens that are sold to non breeders are Pet Quality Lykois and you should expect to pay $2500+, according to the World Lykoi Association.

Adopting a Lykoi

Due to the rarity of this breed, finding a Lykoi for adoption will not be easy. Your best bet is to look at the TICA and CFA registered catteries and see if they have some retired males or females up for adoption.

List of TICA Breeders

Alternatively, you can check out our friends at Specialty Purebred Rescue, an organization that deals specifically with the rehoming and adoption of purebred cats.

5 Reasons Why Cats Roll In Dirt

Everyone that has been around cats long enough has seen them suddenly dropping down and roll around in the dirt outside. This behavior is also referred to as dust bathing and is not unique to cats. Both of my cats love to do this, but they don’t limit it to dirt surfaces, they also love roll around on the stone patio outside or on the lawn. No matter the surface, the question still remains – why do they do this?

Based on research and my personal experiences my 5 theories for this behavior are:

  • Because it feels good. When I see either Thor or Freja roll around like this, it reminds me of when I scratch my back against the door frame or wall. One can hypothesize that rubbing against the dirt, pebble, grass straws etc. really scratches their itch, literally. 
  • Dirt can help cool down your cat. This is probably why this is Thor’s favorite activity on a hot summer day in the garden at my in-laws. 🙂
  • Scent marking. When cats rub their head against you they are marking you with their scent. Other animals can use this technique to spread their pheromones and scent so it is quite possible cats do it for the same reason.
  • Because it can remove fleas or unwanted bugs. Rolling around on the ground can help dislodge unwanted guests in your cats’ fur. Remember to routinely inspect the fur with a comb while looking for fleas, red spots or irritation on the skin. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has a flea problem.
  • To pass the time / entertain themselves. There is no question in my mind that cats find this an enjoyable activity. Whether that is because they find the activity itself fun, or because they enjoy scratching itches (I know I do), we can’t know for sure, but Thor even purrs sometimes while he is rolling in the dirt.

Of course, these are only some of the possible explanations for why cats do this, and it is hard to get a definitive answer. There was not much available in terms of academic or scientific material on the topic so it is left up to us to hypothesize.

What are your best theories as to why your cat likes to roll in the dirt? Share in the comments below!

Best Flea Collar for Cats Buying Guide

Our Top Pick

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

This flea and tick collar is the best collar in this Buying Guide and in our opinion, one of the best on the market in general. It boasts a sensational 8 months coverage (the active ingredient is released in small doses over 8 months), and promises to help in preventing in re-infestation by also repelling fleas and ticks. It seems to keep true to what it promises with thousands of happy customers, and we could not make a clearer recommendation!

Our Top 4 Picks

Ranking

Product

Our Rating

Price

1

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

 5/5 See on Amazon

2

Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick, Cat Collar

4.5/5 See on Amazon

3

Hartz Mountain CHZ90745 Flea and Tick Cat Collar, 13-Inch

4/5 See on Amazon

4

Pet Gallo Flea & Tick Cat Collar

 3.5/5 See on Amazon

Why & When Should You Use A Flea Collar?

It is important to note that flea collars traditionally were only meant to be an additional tool in fighting flea infestation and is not meant as the only method or even the main method for treating a flea infestation. The flea collars on the market before were only useful over the span of a few days, and even then the beneficial effect was dubious.

Flea collars (both insectoidal and IGR) were meant to be used as a short term treatment, and according to The University of Florida, it should only be used for six days or less at a time and stored in a sealed jar in between use. New advancements in the field have been made, however, and the biggest representative of this progression is our number 1 pick, the flea collar from Seresto. It offers a revolutionary 8 months(!) coverage against fleas and promises to also help in preventing re-infestation, something that the older flea collars never could.

Cats and kittens older than 10 weeks can use flea collars. If your cat has any allergies or other medical conditions, consult with your veterinarian before you use a flea collar.

Types of Flea Collars

There are two types of flea collars – insectoidal or flea collars with insectoidal Growth Regulators (IGR). Flea collars that are only insectoidal. These kill adult fleas with pesticides but do not prevent re-infestation or continued growth of immature fleas. IGRs prevent new eggs to hatch into larvae and suppress the maturation of fleas into adult fleas. There are several IGRs on the market like Percor (methoprene) and XXX (XXX).

What Makes a Good Flea Collar (How did we score our picks)?

These are the criteria which we have judged the flea collars after as we believe that these are the most important factors for whether a flea collar is a good choice or not:

    • Does it protect the cat for an extended period of time?
    • Is it safe to use? *
    • Is it good value for your money?
    • How effective is it at killing fleas?
    • Does it help prevent re-infestation?
    • Does it use IGRs to prevent hatching or maturation of eggs or larvae?
    • Is it waterproof?
  • Does it have a security mechanism to release the collar if your cat should get trapped/choked?

* Every flea collar has a risk connected to using it. Your cat may get allergic reactions or burns from using the collar. If you suspect this to be the case, stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian.

#1 Bayer Seresto Flea & Tick Collar

Our rating

This flea and tick collar is the best collar in this Buying Guide and in our opinion, one of the best on the market in general. It boasts a sensational 8 months coverage (the active ingredient is released in small doses over 8 months), and promises to help in preventing in re-infestation by also repelling fleas and ticks. It seems to keep true to what it promises with thousands of happy customers, and we could not make a clearer recommendation!

Pros

    • 8-month protection is unmatched among the competition. Point 1
    • Promises to also repel fleas and ticks as well as kill them.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.
  • This collar is quite a lot more expensive than the competition, but we believe that you get what you pay for.

View on Amazon.com

#2 Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick, Cat Collar

The Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick Collar comes in at a solid second place in our buying guide. It offers 7 months of protection which is just one off Seresto and it costs much less. This collar also has IGRs in it, which is a big plus as it prevents eggs from hatching and become larvae. More customers, however, reported the killing of fleas to be inefficient with this one, compared to flea collar from Seresto.

Pros

    • 7-month protection.
    • Has IGR, preventing eggs from hatching.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.
  • Some customers report that it is less efficient at killing fleas.

View on Amazon.com

#3 Hartz Mountain CHZ90745 Flea and Tick Cat Collar, 13-Inch

This flea collar is essentially the same flea collar as the Hartz UltraGuard, but the difference is that it does not contain any IGRs and as such does not offer protection against re-infestation. It is, however, still great value for your money if you are looking for another tool to fight flea infestation.

Pros

    • 7-month protection.
    • Very good value for money.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.

View on Amazon.com

#4 Pet Gallo Flea & Tick Cat Collar

This flea and tick collar from Pet Gallo is a cheaper alternative to the more established brands in this industry. It promises 6 months protection and whilst it is 2 months less than the collar from Seresto, it is still quite a lot of protection especially when you factor in that it retails at half the price of the collar from Seresto. Some customers have complained however that it is not effective for that long. While it is waterproof like the others, it is not a breakaway collar like the top 3 collars in this Buying Guide are, which is a negative.

Pros

    • Decent protection at 6 months
  • Good value for money.

Cons

    • Some customers complain about its inability to kill fleas.
    • Some customers complain that it falls off their cat or dog easily.
  • No breakaway Mechanism.

View on Amazon.com

3 Theories of Why Cats Are Afraid of Brooms


Meet Thor. He is a courageous cat that loves to hunt animals, climb trees and does not shy away from play-fighting with Freja. Yet there is one thing that seems to fill him with fear, his arch nemesis…the broom!

After doing some digging it seems like the most likely reasons are:

  • Sudden Quick movements & the sound created when sweeping.
  • Traumatic past experiences.
  • That the broom is seen as an alien object that creates unease, especially when in motion.

Since we cannot ask cats directly why they are afraid of brooms, we can only arrive at theories and not definitive answers. In order to come up with viable theories, we tried to understand how fear works in cats and why cats become afraid through information from science and experts on cats.

1) Sudden Quick Movements & Sound

This one is arguably the most obvious theory of why brooms are scary to cats and probably the first one you think of.

When we sweep the floor, we generally do so in a long sweeping motion that can appear quite sudden. From a cat’s point of view, what you see is this very tall and strange object moving as fast as a cat along the floor in a very mechanical fashion (meaning movements they would not commonly see in nature).

Some even theorize that the sound the broom makes is akin to that of a hiss. That hypothesis is difficult to test as it is hard to sweep the floor without making any noise, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless.

For the same reasons a vacuum cleaner is scary to cats because of the loud noise and sudden movements, it is at least probable that cats are scared of the broom for the same reasons. You may have noticed that your cat does not seem scared of your vacuum cleaner if it is just sitting in the corner of the room for example.

Animals (and humans) have the fight or flight response ingrained in them. And as a study shows, there are many factors that contribute to how an animal responds in a dangerous situation such as distance to safety, its health, physical factors etc. What we can gather loosely (I am not a scientist) from this is that each cat has different thresholds for when their flight reaction kicks in.

2) Traumatic Past Experiences

Just like humans, cats associate objects, sounds, smells etc. to traumatic experiences earlier in their life and might, therefore, react in a seemingly irrational way towards objects such as brooms.
We adopted Thor when he was 3 months, but since he was a “street cat” that had lost his mother (who either abandoned them or died), we don’t really know of any traumatic experiences he had before we got him.

Since he was out on the street for the first 3 months of his life and not around humans in a household it makes it less likely he has encountered many brooms, but we cannot rule it out in his individual case.

3) It Is an Alien Object That Creates Unease

Cats like all animals react on instinct that comes from thousands of years of evolution + personal experience. Your cat loves it when you mimic the movements of prey in nature with a toy during playtime because this plays to their instincts.

Humans have a greater contextual understanding of a broom sweeping the floor. When we see a broom, we know what it is, why we need to use it, and we expect it to be used in a sweeping motion and produce a certain sound. To a cat, a broom is, therefore, an alien object that does not resemble what they are used to in nature, and we can theorize that this causes fear or at the very least discomfort for a cat.

4 Reasons Why Cats Show You Their Stomach

Most people would interpret a cat rolling over and showing their belly as an open invitation to give a belly rub and cuddle. It is not!

A cat can show you their belly for a few reasons:

  • As a sign of trust.
  • As an act of defence.
  • To relax or while stretching.
  • As an act of mating when they are in heat.

1) As a sign of trust

Like dogs, cats can show you their bellies as a sign of trust. The cat is both a predator and prey in nature. The stomach is a vulnerable area to attacks from other predators. Cats will instinctively avoid showing you their belly, especially if they don’t feel 100% safe or secure.

This means that you should be even more honored if they show you their belly. Your cat is, in essence, saying “I trust you with my life” when they do so. This also means that if your cat never shows you their belly you should not take it as an insult. You should respect their boundaries and know they are acting on evolutionary instinct.

Our two cats Freja & Thor happen to be the perfect examples for this blog post. Freja shows her belly as a sign of trust quite regularly when she feels safe and happy. Thor does it very sparingly, although it does happen, as documented in the photo below!

Thor showing his belly. No cuddling allowed!
Freja showing her stomach in front of the fireplace.

2) As an act of defense

Rolling on their back may actually be a defensive measure, especially in a fight. You may have noticed this if you have ever observed cats fight or play-fight. If your cat is flattening its ears, making agitated sounds and looks like it is under stress it is better to back off and give them space. The photo below is of Freja & Thor when they were play-fighting, and Thor used this technique to defend himself and attack off of his back. Since they were play-fighting they weren’t making any agitated sounds like a cat would in a real “combat” situation.

3) To Relax or When Stretching

This one is rather self-explanatory. While stretching, many cats may roll onto their back while stretching or when they just want to relax a bit. As mentioned before, this is not an open invitation to touch their belly and you should proceed carefully and with respect for their boundaries (see further down for how to rub your cat’s belly in a way that does not annoy your cat). Freja gladly demonstrated the Stretch/Relax with the picture below 🙂

4) As an Act of Mating When They Are In Heat

Here neither Freja nor Thor can demonstrate for you as they are both spayed and neutered. When female cats are in heat they may show their bellies, especially when they roll around on the ground (which is a symptom of a female cat in heat).

Why does my cat still bite me when I rub their tummy?

Just because your cat is telling you they trust you, does not mean they are telling you to rub their belly. Cats generally do not like to get a belly rub for reasons mentioned above, so do not get surprised if your cat bites you.

Again, our two cats are the perfect examples of individual differences. Freja enjoys a belly rub from time to time – on her terms, whilst Thor will never let you pet his belly under any circumstance.

How Should I Rub My Cat’s Belly? (If They Like It)

With Freja, I always ask for permission first and follow her lead. Your cat is showing you an incredible amount of trust, so you should respect their boundaries! I ask for permission by slowly sitting down next to her or bending down close to her. If she stays on her stomach, I try to carefully place my hand on her stomach, and if her body language is positive I will begin to gently rub her belly.

Always Watch Your Cat’s Body Language

If she wags her tail, that is a sign that she is feeling uncomfortable and would rather have me stop, and of course, if she bites me it means “hands off right now!”. As soon as she wags her tail, even slightly, I respect her wishes and live her alone, and so should you if your cat does the same. Unlike dogs, cats wag their tails when they get annoyed, stressed or uncomfortable and this is a certain sign that you should stop.
Sometimes, she enjoys it though. Signs of this include purring, kneading with her paws in the air while the tail remains completely still. As long as your cat displays positive body language like this, you can continue to rub their belly. Remember to stop the moment the body language changes and they want you to stop. Another way for me to know that she wants to cuddle is by looking at her a bit and make eye contact. If she wants cuddles she usually lets out a “meow” to let me know she wants attention.

Should I Rub My Cat’s Belly?

In general, my advice would be resisting the urge to rub your cat’s belly. Be happy that they show you such a sign of trust and love and try not to violate it. If you want to try to see if your cat is one of those that like to have their belly rubbed, always look at their body language.

How to Entertain a Cat in a Small Apartment

Cats are adaptable animals and can adapt to their living spaces and a variety of situations fairly well. That being said, living in a small apartment together with your cat or cats can present some challenges for both you and your feline friend(s). If your cats´ living space is limited, that also means you get in each other’s way more often. It can also mean your cat does not get enough stimulation and ends up using you or your furniture as a scratching pole or prey to stave off boredom.

No one wants that to happen, not you, nor that cozy but slightly too expensive chair you got yourself as a present.

To keep both you and your cat happy, it is important that you stimulate your cat actively (by playing with him/her) or passively (by making sure their environment has stimuli like toys, areas to climb, hide or even another cat.

Ways to entertain a cat in a small apartment:

Buying cat trees or toys where your cat can entertain themselves Cat trees, such as the Go Pet Club 62″ Cat Tree is great for a few different reasons. It uses the space efficiently, your cat can climb and jump as if they were in a larger area or outdoors. The different textures are stimulating to your cat. The ability to scratch on the posts, helps your cat be able to fulfill this natural instinct and to maintain the length of their nails. (this is not an excuse not to cut your cats’ nails, however).

You can also create your own cat trees with cardboard or wood + some string. We are planning a complete guide on how to create cat trees yourself, so be on the lookout for that. We have included a picture of one of these being built below. Martina (the beautiful Persian mix) seems to be enjoying it already! 🙂

Make use of vertical space!

Cats love to climb, jump and to survey their territory from a vantage point. If you use your vertical space well, you can make your apartment seem a lot bigger and more exciting for your cat. You can either buy cat furniture for your cat to climb and mount it on the wall like this one on Amazon or you can make them yourself.

Have a set structure in regards to meal time and playtime for your cat.

Cats are creatures of habit, and it is a lot easier to not get them to wake up because they want food if they are used to getting fed during the day and evening. Ideally, you should feed your cat every 6-8 hours. Never free feed them, as this takes away the routine but also makes it much easier for the cat to become overweight since cats usually eat more than they need to if they have access to food since, in their mind, there is no guarantee for the next meal to come. A consistent routine reduces this innate fear.

Similarly, playing with your cat before bedtime (and during the day) is a great way to manage their energy level and make sure that they have healthy ways to expand their energy instead of letting it loose on your furniture or you. By managing their energy and ensuring that your cat’s energy levels are depleted around your bedtime will increase the chance of both you and your feline friend sleeping well through the night.

Getting a second cat:

If you have one cat you might want to consider getting a second cat so that they can keep each other company. However, it is important to consider if your apartment is suitable for one more cat. Do they have enough spaces to hide in, or to have their own spaces? This is especially important when introducing a second cat. You ideally want to keep them separate for the first few days, but this might be difficult if you have a small apartment. If you cannot keep them separated, you need to be monitoring how they interact together. The hiding spaces are important because both the new cat and your old cat may want to retire to a hiding spot or safe place when they feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. A tip is to invest in cat-friendly furniture like furniture with small spaces or shelves where your cats can hide. Make sure your cats have access to “higher ground”, like the top of shelves, closets etc. Cats love to survey their surroundings from a vantage point, and it is also stimulating for them if they can move around their territory on a few different levels. Also having the ability to climb and jump is a great way for your cat to stay fit.

What can happen to an under-stimulated cat?

Getting Bored:

A cat living in a small apartment may find themselves more easily bored because they have less space to explore and to run around in. This boredom can manifest in many different ways and cause unwanted behavior such as the destruction of furniture and other aggressive behavior. Your cat may also start to show signs of depression if they are not receiving enough stimuli during the day.

Your cat can get too inactive.

This is a danger for all indoor cats, but especially if your apartment is on the small side. Long spells of inactivity can lead to problems like obesity, depression etc. An important way to prevent this is to keep you entertained and have scheduled times during the day which is dedicated to playtime with your cat. Make sure you do this daily, even if it is only 15-20 minutes, and stick to it! Your cat will thank you for it! If you have an especially active breed cat, such as the Bengal or the Somali, this is especially important as these cats need even more active stimuli than say a Persian does.

Your Cat Can Disturb Your Sleep

If your apartment is as small as mine, that means that your bedroom is also part of where your cat roams around, also during the night. No one wants to feel like they are shutting out their cat, especially if they have a very small area to stay in if you block them out of your bedroom. Cats are the most active during dusk and dawn, and they can also be quite active during the night. This clash of rhythms can lead to disturbed sleep for you and conflicts and stressful situations with your cat and around sleep.

Using a regular and strict feeding schedule and playtimes before bed as mentioned earlier goes a long way to solve this problem, as well as making sure the cat has ample opportunity to stimulate him or herself with toys and or the environment.

Balinese Breed Profile

 

Origin & History

Balinese cats are derivatives of the Siamese cat breed. While little is known about the exact history of the Balinese cat, breeders believe Balinese cats come from a genetic mutation of the Siamese cat that makes their hair long instead of short. For years, Siamese cat breeders would occasionally find long-haired Siamese kittens in their litters. These cats were adopted out as pets, but were never used to breed. That all changed in the 1950’s. Two breeders, Marion Dorsey of California and Helen Smith of New York each had a fluffy, long haired Siamese cat in their litters. They fell in love with these long-haired Siamese cats and decided to breed them. Because of their lanky, graceful bodies, Smith named this breed “Balinese” because they reminded her of the dancers that made the island of Bali famous. While the Cat Fancier’s Federation officially recognized the Balinese breed in 1961, although records show the first Balinese cat was registered with them in 1928.The breed is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association. In 2008, breeders voted to combine what was formerly known as the “Javanese” (any tabby, tortie or other non-Siamese patterns) breed with the traditional Siamese colored Balinese cats. Balinese cats are well-loved by those who own them. They are playful cats, highly sociable and loving. They are very active and clever and while they are affectionate, they are not lap cats. However, Balinese cats are not as popular as their Siamese counterparts. Perhaps it is because they are slightly different looking, with larger ears and eyes that are more wideset and almond shape and a more lean and lanky body.

Personality

As descendants of Siamese cats, Balinese cats are also extremely active. If you’re looking to add a Balinese to your home, consider cat trees or other modifications to your home as the Balinese love to climb and perch wherever they can.Balinese cats are powerful jumpers; owners often find them on top of bookcases, shelves, refrigerators and more. It is also wise to provide her with plenty of space to roam and run. Balinese cats certainly look sophisticated, but at heart, they are all about fun and attention. They love their owners and are known to follow them around the house, constantly demanding love, attention or playtime! They want to “help” with whatever you are doing. Balinese cats are exceptionally smart and paired with their desire to please you, they are also pretty easily trained. You might be able to teach your Balinese to play fetch, walk on a leash or do other little tricks.However, living with such a smart cat can be difficult and tiring, so make sure you are willing to commit to the time it takes to live with this breed before you bring one into your home. The active and social life of a Balinese cat blends perfectly with a family that has children or even cat-friendly dogs. In fact, your Balinese cat will likely play all of the games that you already play with your dog! A Balinese will live peacefully with other cats and dogs and will love being showered by the attention of your children. They love to talk, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to walk in on your child having a full on “conversation” with your family’s Balinese cat. You will never be without a friend when you own a Balinese!For as lively as these cats are they are also extremely loving and affectionate; they want you to pet them! You might not find them sitting on your lap for long, but you will constantly find your Balinese cat underfoot, weaving between your legs, and pawing your hand for attention. They will sit quietly when tired, and enjoy some pets and purrs.

Coat, Colors & Appearance

 

Balinese cats were first recognized in four colors: blue, chocolate, lilac and seal, but in 1979 cream, tabby and tortoiseshell patterns of all color combinations were added to the list. In recent years, white was also added as an accepted color. The pattern of the Balinese is known as “points” as the body of the cat is typically one color with the points, like its face mask, ears, legs, tail and feet being a darker color. The coat is very long, silky, and soft. Unlike most longhair cats that have a double coat, Balinese only have a single coat (no undercoat), which makes them unlikely to have matted fur and adds to their slim appearance as the hair stays close to their body. Their tails are reminiscent of an ostrich feather, spread out like a plume, with very long hair. Balinese cats are arguably the more elegant and graceful counterpart of their Siamese ancestry. Everything about this cat is long and lean. They are slender and long, with fine bones and a tubular body that is sleek and dainty. They are active cats, and their lean, muscular bodies show it. The head is triangular in shape and the ears are large, pointed and set far apart. Their eyes are also wide-set, and have an eastern Almond slant to them that is very distinct. They have very elegant oval paws, where the fur should be somewhat shorter in length. The Balinese’s back paws are slightly longer than its front paws, and while they are classified as a medium sized cat, the Balinese males are often larger than their female counterparts.

Grooming Your Balinese

The beautiful, long coat of the Balinese is relatively easy to care for. They do not shed much, as they have no undercoat and their coat is not easily matted. Brushing the cat’s coat once or twice a week with a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair is recommended.A bath is rarely needed, but at least once a week you should wipe the corners of their eyes with a warm, damp cloth (using different sections of the cloth on each eye to prevent the spread of infection) to remove discharge.Balinese cats do need weekly nail trimming and ear cleaning. Wipe out the inside of their ear with a cotton ball or cloth dipped in warm water or a 50-50 mix of water and cider vinegar. You should not use a cotton swab, as they could damage your cat’s ear. Like any other cat, it’s important to brush your Balinese’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste from your local pet store or veterinarian to prevent periodontal disease and wipe any discharge that comes out onto the fur around their mouth while you brush.Balinese cats are very particular about the cleanliness of their litterbox, so it is important that you clean it out daily, ensuring that all feces and urine is removed. Keep in mind, you should also have at least two litter boxes in your home per cat. It is best to keep Balinese cats indoors. Their long hair could easily be matted by burs and filled with dirt, and there is always the risk of disease when a cat is kept outside.

  • Brushing the coat a couple of times a week at least is recommended. If you can do daily brushing, that is great!
  • Daily Dental hygenie is reccommended, at a minimum once per week.
  • Checking the ears once per week and keeping them clean is reccomended.
  • Trimming the nails once every other week is advised.
  • You should clean the area around the eyes with a damp cloth periodically.

What Makes The Balinese Different?

Balinese cats are great for those who want a Siamese cat with a more graceful, elegant long coat. They are nearly identical in all other aspects, except for their coat. Balinese cats are the perfect combination of sleek and beautiful, while also being active, loving and very sociable creatures. They are entertaining, smart, and playful and would make a great addition to any family. They are easy to care for, talkative and loving, making them a joy to be around.

Health

Balinese cats face the same health concerns as their Siamese counterparts, however, they are generally very healthy animals, but all cats, whether they are purebred or mixed breed have the potential to contract diseases or inherit them. You should never buy from a breeder who doesn’t give a health guarantee. While it doesn’t mean your cat is guaranteed to be free from disease, it does mean the breeder stands by what he or she makes. According to VetStreet.com, Balinese cats can contract lysosomal storage disease, a condition that can affect them neurologically and feline acromelanism, a condition that can causes changes in coat color when the temperature changes. Your Balinese can also suffer from:-Amyloidosis, a disease that most commonly affects the liver of Siamese and Balinese cats-Asthma/bronchial disease-Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis-Crossed eyes-Gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus-Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted-Lymphoma-Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement-Progressive retinal atrophy, for which a genetic test is availableWhile Balinese are so active, they are rarely obese, it can happen if an owner is negligent. Make sure to always provide your cat or kitten with enough opportunities to be active.

Buying a Balinese Cat

When looking to adopt a Balinese cat, always look for a reputable breeder who gives you a health guarantee. Do NOT buy a Balinese cat from a pet store; it is hard to determine where these cats came from and their true health. You can expect to pay more than $600 for a pedigreed Balinese cat that comes from a reputable breeder.

Adopting a Balinese Cat

It is rare for you to find a Balinese kitten in a shelter, but sadly, you can occasionally find adult Balinese cats at your local shelter, or often by working with local cat rescue groups. Resources like petfinder.com or adoptapet.com in helping identify adoptable Balinese cats near you. While not all Balinese cats found via rescues may be purebred cats, you’d be surprised at how many are and they will cost you far less than buying from a breeder.Plus you have the added benefit of knowing that you saved a cat’s life. Like any animal, slowly introduce your Balinese cat to your existing family members, particularly children and another cats and dogs. More information can be found here.

 

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder Review

PetSafe Healthy Pet™ Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

 

Features

 

Quality

 

Price

 

What We Like

  • Large Food Capacity: 24 cups (5.6 liters)
  • Up to as much as 12 meals per days.
  • Slow Feed mode for pets that vomit from eating to fast.
  • Conveyor mechanism to avoid food getting stuck while dispensing.
  • Sturdy build to make it near impossible for your cat to reach the food.

What We Don´t Like

  • No Batteries included (needed to use the unit out of the box).
  • No way to feed more than 1 pet out of the box.
  • Some customers find the user interface hard to understand and use.
  • A bit pricey for some.

 

Final Verdict:

 

4.5 / 5

The Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is our pick as the top automatic feeder for your pet. It’s built better and is more solid than the competition with a latch mechanism to open the hopper, making it near impossible for your pet to reach the food. The unique conveyor mechanism makes sure that the food doesn’t get stuck while dispensing and the scheduling functionality makes sure it is dispensed precisely on time for your cat´s meal. The price might also be a premium compared to the competition, but we believe it is well worth it, but for you and your furry companion(s).

View on Amazon

Have you ever been woken up by your cat during the night or early mornings with their insistent meows for food? If so, you are not alone. Cats and humans have different schedules, both when it comes to activity and meal time, and they don’t always go hand in hand. This feeder will also put your mind at ease for when you are away, knowing that your cat will be fed like usual.

Why You Should Buy An Automatic Feeder

If you have the money, an automatic feeder provides you with an easy way to make sure your cat is fed the correct amount of food on a consistent schedule. This makes sure your cat doesn´t have to wake you up in the middle of the night to ask for food, and it makes your cat less stressed about if he or she will have access to food as it gets used to the schedule you have set up.

Why You Should Buy The PetSafe Automatic Feeder

We think the PetSafe Automatic Feeder is the best choice for anyone who wants to get an automatic feeder, it´s better than the competition in almost all areas and as such, we think it´s well worth the extra money. It´s built in a solid sturdy way making it very difficult for your cat to tip it over, which is a common problem for the other automatic feeders. If you have a dog as well, it might be able to tip it over if your dog is big and strong enough. Then you would be wise to place something heavy surrounding it to make it even harder to move for your pet.

The conveyor belt mechanism ensures that the food does not get stuck when dispensing. A problem that is known to happen with the competitors.

Usability

Set and edit your schedule and other options on the input panel on the unit.

Set and edit your schedule and other options on the input panel on the unit.The level of control and customizability the feeder gives you is quite impressive. As seen in the image above, it has an LCD display and an input panel consisting of physical buttons to interact with the settings. The controls include directional navigation buttons to navigate the menu, a Set Time button, a Slow Feed Button, an Immediate Feed button as well as a Pause Feed button. The navigation and setup are not completely intuitive so you may want to consult the product manual to get acquainted with the controls.The Slow Feed Button allows you to dispenses the scheduled meal over a 15 minute period, which is useful if your cat usually eats too fast and throws up after being fed. Immediate Feed does what you expect it to, and dispenses the next meal in the schedule right away, and after that goes back to following the normal schedule. It even has a safety mechanism that ensures that two meals cannot be dispensed consecutively using Immediate Feed, but instead you have to wait until the scheduled meal-after-next is dispensed. This may, however, be an inconvenience if you were using the dispenser to feed two cats and for some reason needed two meals quickly.You can choose a 12 hour or 24-hour format for your schedule. Setting the feeder to a 12-hour format will make it use the American cup measurements for the meals, whereas the 24-hour format sets the feeder to use milliliters (ml).

The feeder has 3 settings. Cat (default setting), dog (default setting) and user defined (signified by the text “usr” when setting up the feeder). If you use the user mode, you can customize the size of the meals, how many meals and at what times you want them dispensed, giving you full control.​The default settings, in contrast, are programmed for the nutritional needs of an adult dog and an adult cat. It gives you two, 2 cup (473 ml) meals per day for dogs and two, 1/4 cup (59 ml) for cats.The hopper is translucent allowing you to control quickly whether you need to refill it. The capacity of the hopper is 24 cups or 5.6liters and it can schedule up to 12 meals per day should you want more frequent and small meals for your cat.

The Competition And The Differences

PetSafe Automatic Feeder

PYRUS Automatic Feeder

PETAMO Automatic Pet Feeder
Food Capacity 24 Cups or 5.6 liters 5.5 liters 240 ml
User customizable Highly Customizeable, 4 programs, up to 12 meals per day can be scheduled. Limited Somewhat
Pet proof For cats, yes, some dogs may be able to tip it over though. Cat can sometimes access food

Cat can sometimes access food

When comparing the PetSafe Automatic Feeder to the competition the difference in quality and features are even more evident. As seen in the table above we can see that it has the most food capacity (although only by 60 ml on the PYRUS automatic feeder). It’s built quality and difficulty to access food or tip over is superior to the competition. It also jams up less than the other feeders. Customers of the competitors also mention that their cat is able to reach the food using their paw.

The Negatives

There are not too many downsides to the PetSafe Automatic Feeder, but a small one is that the batteries required to power the unit do not come with the unit. You can, however, choose to buy a power adapter as an accessory. If you don’t feel like spending the extra money to not be dependent on batteries, it does not matter too much as the power usage is low due to the fact that the feeder “hibernates” when it’s not feeding, as such it has a long battery life (the manual says 1 year). Using batteries in the unit will of course also ensure that your cat gets their meals in the event of a power loss in your home.As mentioned in the usability section, the button interface and controlling the unit is not as intuitive as it could be, but you should be fine if you consult the product manual that comes with the unit. It should also be noted customers have complained that the bowl that comes with the unit is a bit flimsy/light, so you might prefer using your own bowl instead.There are no out of the box solution to feed more than one cat at a time (other than scheduling two meals in close succession or manually dividing a bigger meal. Precision 3D Prints have made a custom chute however, that should work for feeding two cats at the same time.

Conclusion

When you sum it up we believe that the “The Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder” (that is quite a mouth full, isn’t it?) is in our opinion the best automatic feeder on the market. There are more economic options for those who are on a smaller budget, such as the PYRUS Automatic Feeder, but if you can afford it, the PetSafe Automatic Feeder is the way to go. We are certain you will not regret it!

Accessories for The Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

In terms of official accessories you can buy, we mentioned that PetSafe sells an AC Power Adapter for just over $20 to use with your unit if you don’t want to rely on batteries. In addition to that, there is also the aforementioned custom chute to divide one meal into two bowls at the same time.

Two-Way Splitter Adapter for PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder by Precision 3D Prints. *This is not an official PetSafe product or accessory.

View on Amazon

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Power Adapter

View on Amazon

Sphynx Breed Profile

Origin and History

The Sphynx is a very new breed compared to most other cat breeds and is also the only cat breed to originate in Canada. The Sphynx was a result of a natural genetic mutation when a domestic cat in Toronto, Canada gave birth to a hairless kitten.

This cat was then bred with furred cats, whose offspring was both hairless and furred due to the recessive nature of the hairless gene. This process led the Sphynx to have an extensive and varied gene pool making it less prone to inherent problems in the breed.

These cats were first known as Canadian Hairless Cats, but the breeders eventually landed on Sphynx as a name for the breed, a reference to the ancient limestone statue in Egypt.

Today, the Sphynx is recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association among others.

The Sphynx cats are also stars on the Big Screen with the biggest star being Mr. Bigglesworth, portrayed by Ted NudeGent in the Austin Powers movies.

Coat, Colors & Appearance

This medium sized feline stands out with its hairless appearance and big lemon sized eyes perfect for catching the attention of anyone in the room, which is precisely what your Sphynx wants. The ears are large to very large, broad at the base. Males are generally larger than females, but both have surprising weight for their size.

Their pronounced cheek bones and unusual look have given these felines monikers such as “The E.T.” of the cat world.

Their tail is almost whip-like, tapering to a point at the end.

Even though they seem to be hairless at first glance, the Sphynx has hairs at the bridge of the nose and ears, and some Sphynx´ are covered with a short fuzz. The body is warm to the touch and has a smooth peach-like texture.

The Sphynx cat comes in a variety of colors:

White to pink with pink nose leather and paw pads. Black with black nose leather and black to brown paw pads.Blue with blue nose leather and paw pads. Brilliant Red color with brick red nose leather and paw pads. Cream with pink nose leather and paw pads. Chocolate color with brown nose leather and cinnamon or brown paw pads.Lavender color with a pink tone on the body as well as the nose leather and paw pads. Cinnamon color with cinnamon colored nose leather and paw pads. Fawn color with pale fawn colored nose leather and paw pads. Classical Tabby Pattern as well as many other tabby patterns.

Personality

The Sphynx is a high energy cat that craves and loves your attention. Being a real people person (cat), expect your Sphynx to be the first one to greet guests who stop by with endearing headbutts or other signs of excitement. The Sphynx cats are usually attached to their owners and love to snuggle up to their owner for warmth and cuddles.

They usually do well with both other cats, dogs or children, but might get jealous if you give too much attention to other members of the household.

If you are away for many hours of the day, it is, therefore, a good idea to get another Sphynx or cat, not to make your Sphynx feel lonely.

While an absolutely lovely breed of cat  they do need a lot of attention and like being near you if not ON you at all times. They are often called Velcro kitties and they are not a breed to be independent or left alone for long periods of time.
Tara,
TICA  Registered Breeder of Sphynx cats at Mighty Bare Sphynx Cattery near Seattle, WA

Grooming and Care

You might think that this hairless looking feline is allergy friendly and requires no grooming, but this is incorrect. The reason people are allergic to cats has nothing to do with the hairs in their coat but rather enzymes in their saliva and the oils they produce in their skin. The Sphynx produce these oils and enzymes just like any other cat and is therefore not allergy friendly.

Bathing your Sphynx once per week will help alleviate allergies, but will not completely prevent allergic reactions. Another important reason for bathing your Sphynx is that they lack a coat to absorb their skin oils. If you do not bathe your Sphynx his pores can clog and his skin will become very oily and may rub off on your furniture, carpets and clothes.

In addition to the weekly or bi-weekly bathing, regular “cat maintenance” applies, as listed in this grooming checklist below:

    • Weekly or bi-weekly bathing.
    • Weekly or monthly cleaning of the paws to remove build up of vax.
    • Weekly or monthly brushing of the teeth.
    • Weekly or bi-weekly cleaning of the ears.
  • Weekly or bi-weekly cleaning of the area around the eyes with a damp, soft cloth.

What Makes the Sphynx Different?

The obvious thing that stands out with the Sphynx is their hairless appearance and their large lemon shaped eyes giving them a very striking and unique look. Their reputation as heatseekers due to their lack of a coat to keep them warm often causes them to want to snuggle and sleep with their owners under the covers.

I think the most obvious trait would be their lack of a full fur coat, although some do grow peach fuzz like hair. They have big bat ears and come in a range of colors.
Tara,
TICA  Registered Breeder of Sphynx cats at Mighty Bare Sphynx Cattery near Seattle, WA

Health

The Sphynx is a generally healthy breed, but like any cat, it can develop genetic health problems. If you are buying a Sphynx, it is important to buy from a breeder that can give you extensive information about your Sphynx´s health and genetic background to know if there are any diseases present in the line.

If the breeder claims to guarantee that your Sphynx will not develop genetic diseases such as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy ( a common health condition found in cats, that thickens the heart muscle) or any other genetic disease, then they are misinforming you. No cat, no matter the breed or genetic background is immune to potentially developing genetic diseases. [1]

In addition to Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), The Sphynx Cat is also prone to hereditary myopathy, a muscle condition characterized by muscle weakness, tremors and difficulties walking that which will eventually lead to death when the cat is no longer available to swallow. [1] This is, however, a rare occurrence in the breed, and it can be screened for with DNA tests [2].

The Sphynx can also develop skin conditions like Urticaria Pigmentosa and Cutaneous Mastocytosis [1].

Sphynx cats are also prone to developing periodontal disease. To help prevent this it is important that you give your Sphynx the proper dental care that it needs by brushing the teeth weekly, or at a minimum, monthly.

Buying a Sphynx

There are many things to take into consideration before bringing home one of these beautiful creatures. Don’t be tempted to buy them at a pet shop! You generally will have no idea where it came from, which is important to ensure you are getting a cat from a healthy lineage to minimize the risk of future health issues for your cat.

How much does a Sphynx cost and what other costs are there?

pet Sphynx from a reputable breeder in the USA is about $1500 on average. Most reputable breeders will include all vaccinations, worming, vet checks, microchip and spaying/neutering along with a great health contract and papers.

Plan on having a good quality diet, small budget for minimal grooming supplies and getting them echo-cardiograms by a feline cardiologist yearly. In other words, pet insurance is a great idea with Sphynx cats.
Tara H,
TICA  Registered Breeder of Sphynx cats at Mighty Bare Sphynx Cattery near Seattle, WA


Insuring your Sphynx

Meet Mr Wrinkles, a 1 year old made up Sphynx from Parma, Ohio. He has completed all veterinary check ups and have shown no signs of any disorders or diseases. He is the cat we asked for a quote from from a number of pet insurance providers, to see where we could find the best value.

Pets Best offers a Plus Plan at $19.24 per month for an unlimited coverage that has an annual $250 deductible (the amount you need pay before the coinsurance is applied each year.) In this plan they reimburse 80% of your vet bill. For $21.38 a month their plus plan will reimburse 90% of the vet bill. Their Elite plan will also cover Rehabilitative, Acupuncture & Chiropractic Coverage and that plan is  $20.13 per month for 80% and $22.37 per month for 90% reimbursement. Get your own quote here.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation offered us a unlimited coverage plan with a $250 deductible for $21.26 where they reimburse 80% of the veterinary bills. They also offer a plan with the same deductible but 90% reimbursement for $24.91. Get your own quote here.

Who is the ideal Sphynx owner?

I think that Sphynx are great with single people, couples and families as long as they are prepared for the demanding attention. If you are gone for long periods of time, the Sphynx may need a friend to keep them company or else they’ll become depressed. They have to have an owner that will not mind their cat following them around, chirping at them, greeting them at doors and wanting to be on them (their lap, their shoulder, under their shirt, next to them in bed).
Tara H,
TICA  Registered Breeder of Sphynx cats at Mighty Bare Sphynx Cattery near Seattle, WA

Adopting a Sphynx

If you want to adopt a Sphynx, your best bet is to check out resources like the Fanciers Breeder Referral list or the Petfinder listings and websites like Adoptapet.com. You can also enquire in shelters near you if they have a Sphynx in need of a new home. You can also check out our friends at Specialty Purebred Rescue to see if there are any Sphynx cats in need of a home!

If you liked the Sphynx Breed Profile, please consider sharing and pinning it on your favorite social media outlet!

How to Get Rid of Hairballs In Cats

Although a natural by-product of grooming, hairballs are often indicators of more serious conditions. Understanding the underlying cause of your cat’s hairball problem is important to know how to properly address it. That said, there are a few preventative measures and remedies to get rid of hairballs and decrease the likelihood of their formation:

  • To lessen their digestion of fur, groom your cat daily with a comb, brush, or glove, followed by a wipe-down with a clean cloth to remove excess the excess hair from their coat.
  • Ensure that your cat maintains proper hydration by providing plenty of clean, fresh water on-demand.
  • A fiber-rich diet keeps the gastrointestinal tract moving and aids in the pushing of hairballs through the digestive system. Consider growing cat grass as it’s a cheap, natural source of fiber that cats love to snack on.
  • Food intolerances or allergens can contribute to frequent or difficult-to-pass hairballs. Consider a grain-free or wet food diet for cats that are particularly problematic.
  • Different types of laxatives and hairball treats are available that are packed with digestive lubricants, additional fiber, or emulsifiers that make it easier for hairballs to pass.
  • Special foods that are formulated for hairball control are available with added enzymes, fiber, or emulsifiers that aim to aid in the breaking down and excretion of hairballs.
  • Supplements for digestive support, such as digestive enzymes and omega-3 fatty acids help your cat maintain a healthy digestive tract.
  • Discourage the compulsive grooming habits that lead to excess hair ingestion by alleviating allergens or stressors from the environment.

What Are Hairballs?

Medically referred to as a trichobezoar, a hairball is exactly what it sounds like — a mass that is comprised mostly of hair but also containing fat and protein, which is a natural by-product of your cat’s grooming habits. Hairballs form within a cat’s gastrointestinal tract and are typically expelled. Despite their name, these masses are usually elongated and can vary in size.

Generally, their presence is no cause for concern, however, frequent vomiting of hairballs could be due to some underlying issue and should be addressed. If hairballs are unable to be expelled, they pose the risk of creating a life-threatening blockage, either within the stomach or intestines, which may require surgery to correct. Another potential problem of hairballs is that sometimes they can obscure the presence of respiratory problems, such as asthma, due to the similarities between their symptoms.

Why Do Cats Get Hairballs?

Because of the rough surface of their tongues, as our cats groom themselves, they tend to swallow a lot of loose, indigestible hair. While most hair that is swallowed will eventually pass through their digestive tract and on into the litter box without a problem, some of it remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a massive clump of hair, fat, and proteins. At this point, the mass will typically be expelled through vomiting.

There are several factors that can contribute to the likelihood and frequency of hairballs. According to Dr. Richard Goldstein, of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, a hairball once every week or two is not uncommon. If your cat is retching up hairballs more frequently, this could be a sign of an underlying illness or other condition.

Older cats, who are much more experienced groomers, are more likely to develop hairballs than kittens and younger felines. Long-haired breeds like Persians and Maine Coons are also at a greater risk for hairballs than their short-haired brethren. Some cats are, just by their very nature, much more fussy groomers and are more likely to experience hairballs on a regular basis.

The presence of certain illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease, can cause a cat to have difficulty moving hair through their gastrointestinal tract. If the cat is also retching up undigested food, this could signal the presence of a motility disorder — abnormal intestinal activity such as spasms or paralysis. The presence of neoplasms, tumors or masses which can sometimes be cancerous, can also obstruct the passage of hair and cause an increase in the presence of hairballs.

Some conditions can cause a cat to ingest an abnormal amount of hair due to obsessive grooming. Cats will lick any area of their body that is painful or itchy. Flea infestation, skin disease, and food or environmental allergens are all factors that can cause a cat to compulsively lick themselves, according to Dr. William Miller, Jr. of Cornell.

If all medical issues have been ruled out, then stress may be the culprit. According to Dr. Miller, compulsive grooming can be the result of anxiety or other behavioral issues. Psychogenic alopecia, also called psychological baldness, is a condition that primarily affects indoor domestic cats and is often caused by anxiety, boredom, and stress.

Preventing Hairballs in Cats

Hairballs may be a natural part of our cat’s lives, but there are a few steps that can be taken to minimize their development and the complications that can arise from their presence.

Regular grooming is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get rid of excess hair, ensuring it doesn’t end up in our feline friend’s bellies or, as an added bonus, on our furniture. Most cats love a good brushing, and it can be a great way to curb the formation of hairballs as well as get in some bonding time, which helps lessen their stress and anxiety, if that’s a concern.

There are many specialized grooming brushes, combs, and gloves available to best suit your cat’s fur type or your own ergonomic needs. To remove any remaining loose fur, follow up brushing by wiping your cat down with a clean cloth.

Proper hydration is one of the most important factors in a cat’s digestive and overall health. Some cats can be quite discerning about their water source so be sure to provide them with fresh, clean water. Try using a fountain-style or gravity-fed water dish to ensure their bowl is always full and fresh.

Fiber-rich diets promote gut health and help to encourage the movement of hair through the digestive system. High-fiber cat foods are available, some specifically formulated for hairball control. Cat grass — a perennial grass, not to be confused with catnip — is a great natural source of fiber that cats love to snack on.

Discourage excessive grooming by addressing the underlying cause, whether physiological or psychological. Visit your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes of over-grooming. Allergies or parasites — such as fleas, ticks, and mites — can all contribute to a cat’s urge to compulsively lick and are easy to remedy.

To try and discourage stress related licking, spend plenty of playtime with your cat. Incorporate lots of toys and cat furniture to provide them with enough entertainment and safe spaces. “Most cats really enjoy interaction. Finding what your cat likes, whether it’s cuddle time with you or a favorite toy that is like a security blanket, can relieve stress,” says Dr. Pamela Perry of Cornell.

As a last resort, prescription medications may be needed and are available from your veterinarian to address any sort of skin inflammation or anxiety symptoms.

Address environmental factors that may be contributing to your cat’s stress levels or increased urge to groom. Try to reduce stressors on the feline by introducing people or change gradually. Keep the home clean and free of bits of human hair, thread, twist-ties, and other materials that could potentially be ingested and contribute to GI blockages.

What Are the Symptoms of Hairballs in Cats?

Though they may be uncomfortable, it is normal for a cat to encounter a hairball every now and then. Hairballs can occasionally be accompanied by a reduced appetite or mild constipation. Your cat may experience retching or gagging while expelling the hairball through vomiting.

Symptoms that are more severe or last for several days are more cause for concern. If your cat is lethargic, refuses to eat for a day or two, or has repeated episodes of vomiting or unproductive retching, you should consult with a veterinarian immediately, advises Dr. Goldstein. Below are a few of the symptoms to be on the lookout for that can indicate a much more serious condition.

  • Frequent vomiting or an increase in the number of hairballs may be one of the easiest symptoms to spot and is often a surefire indicator that something else may be going on. Persistent vomiting can lead to esophageal damage and weight loss. It’s best to visit your veterinarian without delay to find out the cause.
  • Regurgitation of undigested food can be a strong indicator of an intestinal or stomach blockage. Expelled hairballs will commonly have bits of food in them, but if your cat is expelling whole, undigested bits, you should seek advice from your veterinarian immediately.
  • Dry, unproductive retching is often an indicator of a more serious blockage, however, it can also be a sign of a respiratory ailment, such as asthma. Make a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible if this symptom presents itself.
  • Increased lethargy, depending on the breed and age, may be a bit harder to spot than other symptoms, as cats are known for being particularly “lazy”. However, if you notice that your cat seems to be sleeping more than usual and is being less judicious about self-care grooming, there could be a serious problem.
  • A sudden loss of appetite is always a cause for concern and can be indicative of any number of underlying health issues. If your cat doesn’t want to eat for more than a day or so, and it’s not due to a change in their food, then you should definitely consult with a vet.
  • Frequent bouts of diarrhea or constipation are another good indicator that something is not quite right with our feline friends. Constant constipation or diarrhea often accompanies problems within the GI tract and can be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease. Consult your veterinarian immediately if these symptoms persist.
  • Weight loss can be a sign of a food intolerance, serious blockage, or other ailments. If you notice that your cat has started to lose weight, and you’re sure it’s not due to an increase in activity or change in diet, then you should visit your veterinarian immediately to discern the cause.
  • A swollen abdomen, or abdominal distension, may present itself with several serious conditions — such as abnormal fluid build-up, dietary intolerances, worms, cancer, or a gastrointestinal obstruction. Always visit your veterinarian for a physical examination when there is sudden swelling in your cat’s belly. Blood tests and ultrasounds will be able to discern the cause of the swelling.

Methods to Get Rid of Hairballs

It’s important to remember that, while problematic themselves, hairballs are usually the symptom of something else. Care should be taken to make sure that the underlying cause is understood so that it can be properly addressed. That said, there are ways that you can combat a hairball problem.

Dietary changes are probably one of the easiest and least invasive methods of hairball control. According to Dr. Debra L. Zoran of Texas A&M University, food sensitivity and intolerances are one of the most common causes of vomiting in cats. One study published in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association also suggests that adverse food reactions are the leading cause of excessive itching and skin inflammation in cats.

  • A grain-free diet may be a smart switch if you think that your cat is experiencing dietary intolerances. For optimum health, cats require a diet that is moisture-rich, high in meat-based protein, and low in carbohydrates, Dr. Zoran advises. But be careful to inspect the labels of foods that read “grain-free” because these foods can still be packed with high-carb ingredients like peas and potatoes.
  • Digestive support through the use of supplements such as omega-3 essential fatty acids and special digestive enzymes for cats can help to alleviate hairballs by promoting digestive health. According to a paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Science, consumption of excessive amounts of carbohydrates encourages fermentation in the colon and can cause adverse gastrointestinal effects. Supplementing with enzymes may aid in the digestion of carbohydrates and decrease the likelihood of such adverse effects.
  • Specialized cat foods are available that are specifically formulated for digestive health or hairball control. Switching over to one of these formulas may help your cat to pass any digested hair more easily. Some. Canned food may be a better option for aging cats or cats that are experiencing gastrointestinal issues.

Remedies are available from your vet or over-the-counter that can help to get rid of hairballs, either by lubricating the GI tract to help with the expulsion of the obstruction or by the breaking down of the fats within the hairball.

  • Laxatives may be used to help move the hairball on through the digestive system. Laxatives tend to be petroleum based and aim to lubricate the intestines to aid with excretion of the hairball.
  • Hairball treats are an over-the-counter remedy that is typically comprised of fiber or emulsifiers that, like laxatives, aim to aid in digestion and movement of the hairball through the gastrointestinal tract.[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZjtnndUdw8[/responsive_video]

Of course, as the saying goes, the best offense is always a good defense, so be sure to keep up with the preventative measures we discussed earlier. Take measures to ensure your cat eats healthily, is regularly groomed, well-hydrated, and stress-free to help discourage the formation of hairballs in the first place.