Is That a Hairball?

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A lion grooms its paw

Do big cats get hairballs?

March 22, 2018

NOEL KIRKPATRICK

Ah, the hairball. A gross, wet glob of hair that your beloved cat throws up, often into one of your favorite shoes. While we know that domesticated kitties get hairballs — and they should really only get one or two a year, by the way; if they have more, consult your veterinarian — what about big cats that live out in the wild? Do the lions and tigers of the world hack up those mounds of hair and just leave them on rangers’ vehicles?

Big cats aren’t very likely to cough up a hair ball, so the vehicles of park rangers are safe, but they do happen every now and then.

When house cats groom, their bristle-like tongues gather up some hair in the process. This hair, while indigestible, often moves through the digestive system and comes out in the litter box. If there’s a build-up of hair, your precious kitty spits out the hair as a hairball.

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