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Yes, my 13 year old cat Cleo occasionally has a hairball. In the past, I've come home to find one on the carpet or I would observe hairball hack as if trying to expel one.  

I think hairballs are something many cat owners have had to deal with?  

I used to give her Purina Friskies Hairball Remedy cat treats to help with hairballs. But Petsmart and Petco have both discontinued the product. In the past 3  months, she hasn't gotten her usual hairball treats.

And since then, there's been a definite increase in hairballs or hairball hacking as if trying to expel a hairball. In the past 2 months, I've come home twice and found a hairball on the carpet. This would normally happen once a year. I've noticed a big increase in hairball hack, especially recently.

Yes, pet stores sell Laxatone and other lubricant hairball remedies you put on a cat's paw for them to lick off. However, this doesn't work too well for me because Cleo hates having it put on her paw. Instead of licking it off, she shakes it off her paw.

I called Banfield Pet Hospital this morning to ask. They said I could try and treat this over the counter unless I wanted to bring her in. I brought her in because she was due for a 3 year rabies booster soon anyway.  

The doctor examined Cleo - she found everything normal. Heart, lungs, abdomen all sounded and/or felt totally normal. Her weight was up slightly from 8.4 to 8.8 lbs the past year but her weight is still in the ideal range.

The recommended treatment is as follows:

(1) Brush her daily so there's less hair to ingest.
(2) Feed her 1/8 cup of pumpkin
(3) Add some wet food to diet to increase moisture.
(4) Switch from the Wellness dry cat food to Science Diet Adult Hairball Control dry cat food. Note: I wanted to switch to Blue Buffalo hairball formula instead, but she specifically wanted the Science Diet.

I've already started the above treatment. She eats all of it no problem. She eats the Science Diet no problem, but I was told to gradually change her.

But this is the part of the visit that made me anxious. While the Vet agreed this was probably a hairball issue, she wanted to do two preventative tests to "rule stuff out." First, she wanted to do a heart worm test even though Cleo is 100% indoors. I said okay, because that was $22.

Second, she wanted to do an abdominal radiograph to rule out Cleo ingesting a foreign object and trying to expel that vs. a hairball. The X-Ray "prep" was $92 and the X-Ray itself $199 for $291. I had a mental freeze when she proposed that. I didn't know what to do. Should I spend $291 today for how remote a chance?  I asked her how remote a chance are we dealing with and she couldn't give me a percentage. I decided to try the above remedies first, and if it doesn't improve then do it.

I asked "What happens if it is a foreign object?"  She replied "Then we put her on fluids for 24 hours and if she doesn't pass it we do surgery."  

I guess the foreign object talk even though presented as unlikely because there is no appetite or activity change has me flustered.

I don't have the expertise to know when a Veterinarian or anyone else is being overly conservative and I'm spending a lot unnecessarily.  

The whole thing has left me feeling strangely. I'm feeling down on myself wondering if I'm the only person who nearly got charged $291 for a probable hairball problem? Of course, I don't have the expertise to know what to think.

I started to going to Banfield Pet Hospital in 2006. Why? They were open weekends, so I didn't have to take time off work. Most Vet clinics are open just Saturday mornings and it fills up fast. Look at how convenient it was. I called this morning at 8 AM and was seen at 9:30 AM on Sunday. Also, Cleo needed her first dental cleaning in March 2006. They charged $287 for that - nearby clinics all ranged from $337 to $450.

I hope it all works out. I guess the whole experience left me unsure what to think or feel. I called one of my best friends who comes over every couple weeks. She would not have spent the $291 and told me "your place is clean. What foreign object would she have ingested?"

And after writing this diary draft, I went out to K Mart to buy something. Guess what I found in the pet section?  They carry the Friskies hairball treats.

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