Alternative title: "(hair)ball so hard."
Time for my first alarmist internet post about the cats. My cat
sleeps next to me on or my partner on our bed (especially when it's so cold). Sometimes she wakes up and decides it's Hairball Time, usually depositing them right where the foot of a person getting out of bed would land. Clever girl. Every once in a while, though, she prefers to leave them on the bed. Needless to say I'd rather clean hairball from hardwood.
I've become attuned to the little retching noise. This morning I woke up to see her standing next to me, doing the full-body heaving with which she summons these things. Not thinking clearly, I picked her up and deposited her on the floor next to the bed. She was clearly thrown off her rhythm, and after another heave, she stumbled and flopped over onto her side. No hairball, heaving stopped. She lay there for a second as if puzzled, then got up and trotted away to use her box and boss around the other cats as usual. Everything's normal now.
What did I just see? Obviously I shouldn't have interrupted the natural Hairball Time ritual. But was stumbling and falling over just a result of being picked up and flung about while in the middle of such an energetic, full-bodied procedure? Can you hairball so hard you drop?
The reason I ask is because I've never seen this before and in the haze of early morning it was terrifying, and because she's on a small dosage of a medication the vet said has a low but nonzero incidence of neurological side-effects. Yahoo Answers & the like are suggesting this is about the hairball interfering with her oxygen and her passing out briefly, which I might have exacerbated by moving her - can anyone verify? Her hairballs are usually mostly liquid (as opposed to the thick uncanny solids our other, hairer cat leaves for us). Is there a safe way to move a hairballing cat?