Apr 16, 2014

Feline/Canine Hairball Disparity - A (Somewhat) Scientific Approach

So, super thoughtful, charming Significant sent me this Youtube video: Cats Puking to Techno.  I wouldn't recommend it.  I like the song, and have definitely thumbs-ed up it on my Pandora station, but the cat part is kind of gross and maybe only a tiny part funny.  Like 1 or 2%.

However, it led me to wonder why cats get hairballs and dogs don't.  To my astonishment, this man of mine, whose intellect I always begin to doubt when he sends me these things, immediately shot off several different hypothesis.  For your edification and amusement (mostly amusement)...

Why Cats Get Hairballs and Dogs Don't (Significant's Hypothesis)

  1. They don't lick themselves nearly as much.
  2. And, I guess, the hair vs throat size ratio is different.
  3. Or their stomachs just don't give a shit.
  4. Cats have those rough tongues too, so they probably get more hair-per-lick.

The Researched Answer

Yep.  I looked it up.

I was tempted to link to a really cruddy source, like Yahoo Answers, as a continuation of the levity of this post, but I couldn't make myself do it.  I hate those open forums where it's random (and often uneducated) people answering someone's question instead of a credible source with at least a nodding understanding of the topic (not to mention punctuation).  And, oh, the pet owners.  So self righteous!  And THEN there's the "you should look it up" people.  How that bugs me!  I, personally, got to the question by looking it up, and unfortunately the popularity of these stupid forums puts them right to the top of my search list, and here you are providing a completely useless answer!  (Although I have to admit, when I take the time to format my queries instead of just typing the whole question, I don't get nearly as many of these.)

Anyway.  Here's the real answer.  Dogs can get hairballs.  They just get them less frequently because they don't have the extensive grooming habits that cats do.  Or #1 in The Significant Hypothesis list.  Though I'd like to think his other guesses contribute as well.  This is from PetCareRx.com: Hairballs in Dogs and JustAnswer.com: Can Dogs Get Hairballs Like Cats?, where at least the people answering the questions are professionals.  So I guess if a vet says it, I can believe it.