The eight-year-old long-haired-English cat was taken into Cromwell Vets in Huntingdon after her owners noticed she was poorly and unable to eat. Staff at the clinic discovered a large lump in her stomach and suspected an abdominal growth, but the X rays proved inconclusive and they were forced to operate. They removed the giant fur-ball and Gemma is now on the road to full recovery. Vet David Fennell told The Hunts Post: None of our vets at Cromwell have ever seen a fur-ball this size! Theyre relatively common in cats and many cats may vomit small fur-balls up once every one to two weeks not very pleasant but generally doesnt cause any harm. But Gemma was really ill there was no way she could vomit or pass an obstruction that size. He added: She would have died if it hadnt been surgically removed. Mr Fennell said there were a number of ways to prevent fur-balls developing in cats. Fur-balls occur when cats lick themselves, and the hair either gets caught in the back of their throat or builds up in the stomach, he explained. To prevent the build-up of fur-balls people should ideally get into the habit of grooming their cat on a daily basis. Regular flea treatment is also a good prevention, as is fur-ball control food.