Ragdoll Cats with Hairball Issues: Resolved by Getting Off of Dry Food

Pepper & Rigsby
Pepper & Rigsby

If I had a nickel for every time a reader e-mails me about a problem with their kitty, 95% of the time, it’s a dry food issue. That is, the kitty eating dry food is causing a problem – whether it’s a UTI, hairball issues, diabetes, etc. Fortunately, if the kitties are switched from another food other than dry food, the issue is usually resolved. I am so passionate about no dry food for kitties. Below is an awesome success story – fortunately, I get these often in my inbox and really should share them more often because it’s so exciting! I am so happy for Pepper & Rigsby and their humans – please see the last correspondence to see the benefits of being off of dry food!

Pepper & Rigsby’s mom sent me an e-mail on October 27, 2014 stating:

We thought we would write you and ask a few things regarding diet & hairballs. Our male, Rigsby seems to have them every now and then. We know it’s common, but wanted to make sure are doing everything we can to help.

Our cats (who are now 10.5 months) are currently on Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Grain Free dry during the day and the wet version at night. We are looking to eventually move them to wet both morning and night. Are there other things we can do for the diet to help with the digestion of these? I have read pumpkin, food geared toward hairballs, etc…but wanted your thoughts.

We are also open to other food brands (not sure if we are at the “raw” stage) that are good all natural foods that you suggest and we could transition to.

Thanks for your advice!

I replied:

My goodness – are they gorgeous!!

My guess is that it’s the dry food. Have you read catinfo.org?

Dr. Jean also told me about Vaseline in this interview – but that’s not necessary usually if there is no dry food.

Pepper & Rigsby’s mom replied:

Thank you and thanks for the additional read- we did not see before. We are definitely going to make the switch to wet food, clearly the benefits are worth it.

We appreciate your thoughts!

On December 16, 2014, Pepper & Rigsby’s mom wrote me to tell me:

I wanted give you an update on our kitties – because of your suggestions and who knows how much research, they have officially been off dry food for 1 month! One (Rigsby) had no issue, the other (Pepper)…well, she’s was an addict and took a little more convincing! She would eat it but it wasn’t filling enough for her…so we supplemented with raw, freeze dried chicken for “crunch” & rewarded her with Greenies…again she likes the crunch! We use blue buffalo right now, but the next step is a higher quality wet food once they are well adjusted.

What we noticed:

  • Reduced poop smell
  • Consistent poop schedule
  • More urine
  • They Drink less water
  • They weren’t overweight, but our female has become leaner
  • Coats are smoother
  • More active ( ok that’s the downside – LOL) as it takes more time to wind them down!
  • Almost no coughing up hair balls – I would say almost non existent…but we do work so not always there.

Thanks again for posting this great information!
Wishing you and your guys a wonderful holiday!

Learn about how we went about transitioning Charlie and Trigg from dry food to wet food only

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Sorry, but my Ragdoll HATES kibble and never eats it and still has chronic hairball issues :-(. I have tried everything: I brush him daily, sometimes twice daily; I give him slippery elm; he’s on probiotics; I’ve tried veg oil (he won’t eat it mixed in his food, so I have to put it on his fur); I’ve tried a dab of Vaseline 2x/day. Nothing works.

  2. peprandrigs says:

    Hello everyone!

    We are thrilled to share our experience and have Jenny share it on her site – my husband now thinks our cats are famous because of their Floppy Cat exposure! 😉

    Thank you Patti & Teresa for the kind words in your comments. I also want to echo Jenny’s comment about not being an expert. I think all of us who own these sweet creatures want to do what we can to give them the best life and it is great to have a resource like this to share and ask questions with fellow owners.

    Thank’s Jenny for your dedication to the site and all the resources the community shares! Look forward to hearing about and seeing more of all theses gorgeous cats…makes me want another one!

    1. You’re welcome – but thank you! And they are famous!

  3. Sherry Hyden says:

    Hi Jenny…Was so excited to read this since I have had Beau on a raw homemade diet since I brought him home. Being a new Rag mommy so much makes me nervous at this point. With you being the expert on Raggies I follow your informative articles faithfully

    1. Hi Sherry,

      That’s so sweet of you – but I am not an EXPERT!! I am always learning and never claim to be an expert – people that do claim to be experts, always concern me, as I never think you stop learning.

      Anyway, how is Mr. Beau?! I am in photo withdrawal!


      1. Sherry Hyden says:

        Say what you want,but in my eyes you are an expert…I do understand what you are saying about always learning,and that’s a win,win for all of us followers!!!

        Beau is fantastic and a pic is on the way!!

        1. Ok, as long as you don’t hold me accountable – in other words, you are welcome to think what you will, but know I don’t claim it!

          Yes, can’t wait for my Beau photo!

  4. Teresa Reid says:

    That is a wonderful story!!!! So happy that this nice family was willing to do that for their sweeties. My vet told me about switching all my kitties to wet food about 6+ years ago. She gave me the information and it was called the “Catkins” diet at that time. I had six cats at the time and unfortunately, for several of my kitties, it was too late because they succumbed to renal failure. It was so traumatic to deal with because one by one they got this horrible disease and wasted away before my eyes even though I did the IV fluids, etc. Felt like I let them down majorly.
    Now, all my kitties eat wet food AND I add enough water to cover the bottom of their dish to make a broth which they love. Have vowed to do everything in my power to give them everything possible to avoid renal failure and other complications that dry food brings on such as weight gain.
    I saw the very same things that are listed above in my older cats when they began on the wet food. The cats of normal weight just became very toned and muscular. The hefty ones lost a lot of weight and toned up. My manx lost from 20 pounds to 10 pounds over a few months.
    Saw the same result a few months ago with a lot less solid output and definitely less smell when we changed all kitties over to a higher quality cat food – Wild Calling. At first I became really worried, but talked to the owner of the company and he explained that they are using and metabolizing almost all of the food. Their coats are really shiny and healthy as well. My Gracie who has borderline IBS is thriving and is back to enjoying herself. Now, if I could just get her to wash her little chest after she eats that would be a great thing! Poor sweetie, she enjoys every bite of her food fully and wears it afterwards! If anyone has any suggestions for that, would love to know. She cleans everywhere else immaculately. Silly girl!!!

  5. Patti Johnson says:

    Great post, Jenny! Thanks for sharing this info!

    Pepper & Rigsby’s Mom: You ROCK! That’s for sharing your story and awesome results for your two babies! They are GORGEOUS! Glad everything worked out great!

    Big hugs & Happy Holidays!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbeanie 🙂 <3

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