The "ick" factor of cat hairballs

I was brushing my cat the other day, and as my brush filled with hair i cleaned it out and sort of built up a huge pile on the floor. My gf walks in with the customary EWWWWW!!! when seeing a hairball. That got me to thinking, what was REALLY so gross about it? Its the EXACT same hair that she was petting like 5 min ago with nary a single Ewwwww. I dont doubt the grossness factor of hairballs but why? The hair is no dirtier or inherently grosser than it was when it was still attached. Finger nail clippings also seem to have this ick property although i cant explain this either.

Nah, I find sweeping up other people’s finger nail clippings way grosser than what is effectively dry hairballs off a cat.

The wet hairballs are a different story, mind …

Jeez, that wasn’t even a hairball! A hairball goes at least partially through the cat.

Did i miss the rule where a ball of cat hair CANT be called a hairball?

There’s not much that I think is gross, but this is someone who has snaked out his own sewer line.

I’ve stepped in a wet hairball before. It’s not the most pleasant experience, but more annoying than gross. Same with cat puke.

And NOTHING a cat can bring up can touch what a dog can produce from either end.

I’m with Boyo Jim. A hairball has to pass through the cat. What you came up with was a pile of shed hair. Next time your girlfriend objects, suggest she spin it to knit a sweater with.

Hey, we get enough hair off the golden retriever and yellow lab to knit a sweater a week; why not a cat fur sweater, too?

I had to clean up a real hairball this morning from the dining room carpet. It was about 3 inches long and covered in partially-digested grass. Thanks, Cookie.

I would call the dry thing a fur ball maybe?


What you had was not a hairball, but rather a pile of cat hair. Not quite the same thing.

Still, why is hair icky when it’s off the cat? Probably because it goes everywhere. When it’s still attached, it’s nice and soft and neat.

According to my husband, what you had was “Spare cat manufacturing material.” There.

My cat’s hair is nice and soft whether it is still attached to the cat or a roaming ball of fluff rolling around the floor. The only time I consider my cat’s hair (in that state) icky is when there’s something else mixed into it.

Hairballs, on the other hand, are very icky. Fortunately, my cat usually coughs them up on this old area rug I had in the dorms. All I do it wait for the mass to dry up, and I have no problems with clean-up. However, my cat has also developed this new habit of coughing up hairballs in my bed. With me sleeping in it. Bad kitty.