My cat, Angel, is three years old, practically a grown up in cat years, and has never hoiked up a hairball, in spite of having a lush and lovely longish coat.
look at that beautiful tail!
So when I got home from the shop this morning to find a large, vomit covered hair sausage on my freshly washed tablecloth I wasn't pleased at all.
He eats a grain free dry food that says it improves digestion and reduces (or eliminates, I can't remember) hairballs and so far it has been remarkably effective.
So what has changed? Angel has been over-grooming because he has a lot (dozens) of prickly grass seed heads caught in his coat and most of them are in that beautiful tail.
He has been quite good about letting me snip out as many as I can while he is relaxed beside the computer or while he is crunching down his food. Then of course he does the extra grooming to clean up and smooth the newly snipped sections of his coat. And this morning it all came up. Poor Angel, I can't imagine anything worse than hoiking up something that size.
I haven't been able to cut many off his tail, so tomorrow morning he is off to the vet for a shave. This is done under anaesthetic, so he'll be nicely groggy when I bring him home again.
On the same night he collected all those prickles, he also lost his collar and that's unusual too. He sleeps in those grass beds all the time, sometimes all day, and has never caught the prickles. I found his collar the next morning in the middle of the road where it had been run over by a car, with the little bell being squashed completely flat. Angel himself isn't injured, so he wasn't hit by a car.
Here's what I think happened: on one of his forays into the dark, I think someone called him over and tried to grab (steal?) him by grabbing his collar. It's elastic so he would have been able to get out of it as the someone stretched it trying to maybe drag him away; then he might have panicked and run headlong through the yards here collecting prickly seed heads as he went. Or he ran into the grass bushes and someone dragged him out, (most of the prickles are from mid back to the tip of the tail,) and threw away the collar when that's all they got? I can't think of any other way his collar would get into the middle of the road. If this is what happened, I hope he scratched them.
I've noticed that since then, he looks around a few seconds before heading down into the garden, each time I let him outside and he spends more time inside sleeping under my quilt. He doesn't go out as often either. Which is a good thing.