Social Media Expert

Associate Spotlight: Ryan & Ruthie (cat with hairballs)

[ Edited ]

Hi guys! This is Ryan from the Petco headquarters in San Diego. I hope you enjoyed seeing Ruthie's story on YouTube. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out: 




Ruthie and I have made huge progress in controlling her hairball problems, so I wanted to share a little more about how we got here. The two major factors were nutrition and grooming. 


Hairball food


Getting her on the right nutrition was the first step. I tried lots of things before I finally landed on a formula that worked for Ruthie. We tried grain-free varieties, sensitive stomach varieties, wet food, and hairball-specific varieties. Depending on your cat, any one of these may be the winner. For us, Hill's did the trick.  I really like the hairball line from Hill's because they have 3 varieties: adult, adult light, and senior. Since Ruthie is spayed, she loves to eat more than she needs and its easy for her to pack on a little extra weight, so I love that Hill's offers a hairball solution that is also reduced calorie. 


Ruthie waiting


The second step was starting a regular grooming routine. Like I said in the video, grooming was really a new concept for me. I always thought cats took care of that themselves! Little did I know, that is the very cause of hairballs. 


My biggest advice for grooming is this: make it a habit. If you don't make it part of your regular routine, you'll forget to do it, and the hairballs will keep on coming. For Ruthie and I, we groom every morning (living in San Diego, the warm weather leads to heavy shedding year-round; you may not need daily grooming during winter where you live). She usually sits right outside my bathroom while I'm getting ready for work. As soon as I'm done, it's time to groom and she leads me down the hallway to her favorite spot in the den. 



Shed tools


I've had to experiment with a few grooming tools to find what was right for us. Even though Ruthie is a short hair, she sheds a LOT. My basic plastic-bristle brush  was just not doing the trick (and she was more interested in chewing the bristles than getting brushed, which made it very difficult). 


Then, I discovered the basic shedding blade at Petco. It was incredible! This tool was really affordable (around $10) and worked wonders at removing all the loose hair from the undercoat. This made a huge difference and I highly recommend it. The only drawback is that fur flies everywhere when you use it. I would have to vacuum every time I used it, or put Ruthie in her harness and leash and head outside to the porch. So for us, it was really difficult to keep a normal routine with this tool. 


After the shedding blade helped me realize the need for regular grooming, I was ready to invest in the most amazing grooming tool I've ever found - the FURminator! It does a masterful job getting out the loose hair and undercoat and it traps the fur in the tool, so it doesn't go flying all over the house. It gets all the loose fur and undercoat without damaging the top coat or cutting any fur. Best of all, Ruthie LOVES getting brushed by this. As soon as I start, Ruthie drops to the floor and purrs. 


Ruthie sleeping


Thanks for checking out our story! Good luck to everyone tackling their hairball issues. If you are having trouble, let us know in this thread or head to your local Petco. We'll share all the knowledge we can to help you find a solution.


Here are a few links that may come in handy: 


Hairball food varieties: 



Petco de-shedding blade: 



FURminator deShedding tool (short hair, large): 





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