Tag Archives: cat food

4-Questions on Hairballs

RomeoTheCat.com and National Hairball Awareness Day

Did you know that today is National Hairball Awareness Day?

Once upon a time, I had a roommate who shared his life with a long-haired cat named Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty didn’t like me. I know this because she told me so in very subtle, cat-like ways. She had a habit of leaving hairballs on my bed. It was not a pretty sight. Even less beautiful was the horrible noise she would make, in the middle of the night, right beside my pillow, as she coughed up one of her famous furballs, just before she would smack me with her paw so that she could laugh at me.

Today, in honor of Miss Kitty, I’m joining Romeo the Cat to celebrate National Hairball Awareness Day.

Rasputin is too cool for hairballs!

Long-haired cats, like Rasputin, can be prime candidates for hairballs.

What are hairballs?

Hairballs are a common problem in cats. Although they rarely cause serious problems, they can cause the cat obvious discomfort. In addition, they cause messes that can be difficult and inconvenient for the cat owner to clean up. While long-haired cats appear to have more problems with hairballs, nearly all breeds of cats (with the exception of Sphinx cats) can develop them.

The act of grooming for cats involves ingesting significant quantities of loose hair. For the most part, this hair moves through the digestive tract and is excreted. Sometimes, however, the ingested hair forms a mass in the stomach too large to continue passage into the intestinal tract, especially in animals with longer hair, and is expelled orally as a hairball. Some cats show signs of distress during the process. Some cats may also vomit for several days prior to a hairball.

Frequent hairballs rarely present true health problems, but may cause major inconveniences to cat owners, and may occasionally be the cause of a cat being relinquished for adoption.

Is there help for cats with hairballs?

The first, and most basic, step to help reduce the risk of hairball formation in cats is frequent brushing. By brushing away loose hair, you can reduce the amount of hair your cat will ingest. Therefore, you also reduce the chance that the hair will gather in the digestive tract.

Some cats groom themselves and their housemates. Therefore, it’s a good idea to brush all the cats in your house. Baths or professional grooming during a change in season help by ridding the cat of the loose hair from normal, seasonal shedding.

Iams Hairball CareWhat about hairball diets?

Nutrition — provided through a specially designed diet — is another way to decrease the likelihood of developing hairballs. Dietary fiber is usually the way special diets accomplish this. Eukanuba Hairball Releif

Most special diets contain one type of fiber to help move bulk through the intestines (nonfermentable). Nonfermentable fiber, such as cellulose, isn’t broken down by the normal bacteria in a cat’s intestines. Instead it passes through the digestive tract, helping other material, such as hair, move along as well. Other special diets contain a combination of nonfermentable fiber and another type of fiber (moderately fermentable). Moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, helps move bulk and helps provide nourishment to intestinal cells which, in turn, helps maintain intestinal health.

Iams Active Maturity Hairball Care Because of the special fiber content, these diets are most effective if they are fed as the sole diet. Mixing with other foods can dilute the fiber that help reduce the risk of hairball formation.

Likewise, switching between a special diet and another cat food may decrease the benefit.

Iams Indoor Weight & Hairball CareAnother way that nutrition can help reduce the likelihood of hairball formation is by promoting skin and coat health. High-quality diets containing animal-based proteins, such as chicken, and a combination of fats — more specifically, a ratio of certain fat components (5-10 omega-6 fatty acids to 1 omega-3 fatty acid) —have been shown to promote healthy skin and coat. Feeding a diet that provides these ingredients can help keep skin and hair healthy and, therefore, may reduce the risks of excessive shedding, ingestion of hair from grooming, and, consequently, hairball formation.

Hairballs. Not a pretty topic. I’m glad that National Hairball Awareness Day is not an entire week!

And to all my favorite feline friends out there, are you a “Miss Kitty?” Do you leave hairballs where your human friends will find them?

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DISCLAIMER: This is my personal blog, and I am an employee of P&G Pet Care, North America. When I speak of company business (the nutritional benefits of Iams/Eukanuba products, et cetera), I am the voice of my employer. The personal things I post about my life, my dog, or my opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent the corporate position of my employer. Information posted on my blog (or on the Internet for that matter) should NEVER be substituted for the guidance and advice of your veterinarian or your animal behavior professional.

Skeezix Comes for a Visit

It will be two weeks tomorrow since eight bloggers arrived in Dayton to attend our blogger summit, Behind the Paw. Today, I want to tell you about Skeezix the cat.Our guests (Caroline, Amy, Lana,  Nicole,  John, Dr. Janet, Dr. Eric, Karen and Skeezix) arrived on Wednesday September 9 in the afternoon. Our first activity was a get-to-know-you dinner at a very nice restaurant. Karen and Skeezix were the last to arrive–in fact, they were driven directly from the airport to the restaurant where we had just started on the appetizers.

As we sat around the table getting acquainted, we talked about our pets. Karen (also known as the Food Lady, or FL, on Skeezix’s blog), told us that she never traveled anywhere without her cat, Skeezix, and did we want to meet Skeezix? (Remember, Karen came to the restaurant directly from the airport, and she came in with a large shoulder bag which she had pushed underneath the table when she sat down next to me.)

Meet Skeezix? We’re in the middle of a fancy restaurant….does she mean that her cat is in that big bag she had pushed under the table? Poor kitty, stuffed in a bag under a table!? What if the wait staff saw him?–we’d be thrown out! Does the hotel know she’s traveling with her cat? What would we do with the kitty the next day when we toured our Pet Health & Nutrition Center?

I looked across the table at my boss, Marti. Her eyes were glazed and the size of our dinner plates. I watched her reach for her cell phone and I knew she was about to make a call in search of a kitty sitter. Everyone else at the table watched Karen, and we all expected to see a furry feline at any moment.

Next to me, Karen leaned down and pulled her bag out from under the table. I watched as she opened it. All I could see were her laptop and some file folders–was the kitty hiding in the part that was still under the table?

And then, she pulled out the Flat-Cat!9-22-09 1 Kitty-at-Dinner

Skeezix-the-Flat-Cat was an immediate hit with all of us and became our blogger summit mascot. He had dinner with us. And then joined us for ice cream.9-22-09 2 skeezix-ice-cream



9-22-09 3 skeezix-and-romeo

Discussed kitty politics with Caroline, who is a staffer for the famous Romeo-the-Cat.






9-22-09 4 skeezix-bowlingSkezzix went bowling with us, where we competed in the first ever Pins for Pets Tournament (more about that later).


9-22-09 5 skeezix-breakfastSkeezix entertained us during breakfast,

9-22-09 6 skeezix-bus-rideand acted as tour guide when my voice gave out. Skeezix even made friends with my Substitute-Bailey while the humans talked with Dan Rajczak and other Iams/Eukanuba key people.

9-22-09 7 skeezix-and-baileySkeezix-the-Flat-Cat is a charmer! (More photos here.) If you visit Karen’s blog or Skeezix’s blog you will find all kinds of photos of him and his travels. Karen told me that she will soon be posting directions that anyone can follow and create their own Flat-Cat or Flat-Dog.

I see a Bailey-the-Bichon-Flat-Dog in my future!


Wednesday at 3 o’clock everybody at work received an email saying that there would be a mandatory company meeting at 8:30 yesterday morning. The message gave us just barely enough time to rearrange our schedules, but not enough time to really sniff out what the heck was going on.

5-29-09 Iams-HQFor several years now, we have all seen many of our teams migrate south to other P&G offices in Cincinnati so that we can take advantage of efficiencies and streamline our work flow (OK, I realize that sounds like corporate-speak—but at least I’m not using words like “synergy” and “leverage”). The number of people actually working from our HQ in Dayton has shrunk considerably to the point of being cut in half over the past couple of years.

I won’t say I lost sleep in speculating on the topic of the meeting, but it was the last thing I thought of as I dropped off to sleep last night, and the first thing I thought of this morning.

So yesterday morning we all trooped in to the biggest meeting room in the building. And the topic of the meeting? We’re going to sell our building after we all move down to P&G’s Mason Business Center (MBC). The announcement was met with hardy applause. Quite a few of the people who work in our Dayton office must commute from Cincinnati.

To me, this is a little bitter-sweet.

Our building at 7250 Poe Avenue became our corporate headquarters in February of 1985. When we moved in, we occupied three-quarters of the first floor. By July of 1990 we occupied the entire 4 floors of the building. Before 1995 we had built a 2nd 4-story building of offices to the north of the original building, connecting the two through a lobby. I started with the company not long after we expanded into the 2nd building. I’ve worked from this building for nearly 14 years.

5-29-09 Iams-HQ-signI will miss this old building with the Paw Print carved into its concrete façade.

But I won’t miss our cafeteria—the one at the MBC is much nicer with a larger selection of food and a bank of windows that looks out onto a green space.

Plus our new digs has a fitness center, on site banking, a dry cleaning service, and a little corner shop in case your pantyhose gets a run. There is a beautiful outdoor walk surrounded by lots of trees. We will be investing in an on site dog park, so that we can continue to bring our dogs to work with us. And we will all be together under one roof instead of scattered between Dayton and Cincinnati.

We will continue our relationships with the three shelters here in Dayton. And we get to keep our jobs, which is really the very best part of the deal in this economic climate. Did I mention that it will be 10 years ago in August that we were acquired by P&G? And we are now, finally, moving in together. I think this will be a good thing for P&G Pet Care (AKA The Iams Company).

Here’s what the press release says:

Cincinnati, May 28, 2009 – Procter & Gamble, maker of Iams and Eukanuba pet foods, announced today it will move its North American operations for this business from Dayton to Mason, Ohio.

These operations will now become part of P&G’s Mason Business Center, where the company’s oral care, personal health and pharmaceuticals business are also based.

P&G said that moving its NA Pet Care business to Mason will increase productivity and enhance collaboration among even more of its health care employees at this site. About 2000 P&G employees work in Mason.

About 240 P&G Pet Care employees, currently based in Dayton, will now work in Mason. P&G said it expects the move to begin in early October.

“Our home address is changing but not our commitment to improving the well-being of all dogs and cats,” said Dan Rajczak, vice president of P&G’s pet care business in North America. “If anything, this will help us do an even better job of connecting with our colleagues in health care to bring great innovation to pet care.”

P&G acquired The Iams Company in 1999. Since then, sales of its Iams and Eukanuba brands have more than doubled. The pet food category remains attractive to P&G. It is large, growing and fits well within the company’s core strengths.

5-29-09 PetCare-Sign