Best Cat Food for Hairballs

As you will already know, cats are known for grooming themselves, which involves a lot of licking to leave fur smooth and soft. But, this licking can create to a pretty disgusting problem – hairballs! Every owner of a perfectly preened kitty knows what is going to happen when his or her furball hunches over and begins to heave; it’s not going to be pretty.

Hairballs are not avoidable, it’s just part of owning a cat, however, they can be prevented with the right food and that’s why we have curated a list of the best cat food for hairballs.

Keep on reading our article to learn more about hairballs and how a simple dietary change could work wonders. Plus, we’ll go over a few common medicines, too!

Cat Food for Hairballs Comparison Table

NameMain IngredientsProteinFatFiberPricing
NUTRO Specialized Care Adult Dry Cat FoodChicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Whole Brown Rice, Dried Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Oat Fiber33%16%6.5%Click Here
CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Cat Dry FoodChicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, suncured alfalfa, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried whole egg36%20%6%Click Here
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Foodhicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Deboned Chicken, Pea Fiber, Turkey Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)36%16%5.75%Click Here
BLUE for Cats Adult Dry Cat FoodDeboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Tocopherols)32%16%3.5%Click Here
Greenies Smartbites Hairball Control ChickenChicken Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Wheat, Animal Plasma, Wheat Flour, Powdered Cellulose30%17%6.5%Click Here
Weruva Grain-Free Canned Wet Cat FoodTuna Red Meat, Water Sufficient For Processing, Shirasu, Vegetable Gums (Locust Bean, Guar, Carrageenan), Sunflower Seed Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate12%1.6%0.5%Click Here
Hill's Science Diet Adult Urinary Hairball Control Cat FoodWater, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Pork By-Products, Pork Liver, Turkey Heart, Powdered Cellulose36.4%21.1%9.2%Click Here

This recipe has a very good balance of digestible fibers, which don’t just help reduce number and formation of hairballs, but help hair which has been ingested to move through the digestive tract with minimal fuss.

It is formulated with pure chicken and chicken meal, which are very good-quality protein sources which are the top two ingredients offering crude protein at 33% and crude fat at 16%. It is the additional ingredients that give this food all of its glory, though.

This formula contains stuff such as chelated minerals chemically bound to proteins– making them easy for your cat to digest – for absorption and plenty of fatty acids which promote a healthy skin and coat. A healthy skin and coat also means less hair is ingested by your cat, so it’s a win-win situation! 

It also has a fresh natural flavour which means even the fussiest cats will eat it up with no problems.

Again, you can trust in this product because it is made by The Nutro Company who produce natural pet food products. Nutro are known for using only the best quality sourced ingredients in their recipes; all their food is nutritionally balanced which promotes good digestive health.

Pros

  • Made from natural protein.
  • Contains fatty acids.
  • Contains digestible carbohydrates.

Cons

  • It is a dry food with no moisture content.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Cat Dry Food is a limited ingredient hairball control food which contains fresh chicken. This formula is with high quality proteins like chicken, chicken meal and turkey meal as the three top listed ingredients, this provides 36% protein and 36% fat, and lots of grain-free carbohydrates such as green peas, with added chicken fat for energy and essential fatty acids.

Additionally, the Canidae food benefits with added ingredients for digestive benefits because it contains 6% fiber for healthy digestion and probiotic support from dried fermentation products. Both of these added ingredients contribute to a regular digestive process, which is essential for controlling hairballs and ensuring that hairs pass through the system without causing a problem.

The quality of this product cannot be understated; it is quite simply one of the best foods you can buy if you’ve got a kitty who has recurring hairballs. A simple switch in diet, or even adding this to supplement other food, will go a long way in making them less of a problem. This is some of the best cat food for hairballs.

Pros

  • Full of quality protein.
  • Fiber-rich for digestive health.
  • Limited ingredients.

Cons

  • Some cats don’t like the flavour.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food is a great option because its formula includes a special fiber blend which is designed to move hair through the digestive system with relative ease, and pass hairballs which have already formulated. Using deboned chicken and chicken meal as its top ingredients, it is a protein-rich formula which is full of good and natural flavour.

Added on to the protein ingredients are digestible carbohydrates. These include flaxseed and brewer’s rice, plus added vitamin and mineral supplements to reduce the amount of hairs your kitty ingests by strengthening skin and hair.

Overall, this Wellness dry food offers natural flavour, good nutrition and plenty of fiber and it’s a product you can trust, because it comes from The Wellness Company who are known for producing high-quality and nutritious food for pets. Wellness use a holistic approach to pet nutrition and believe that adequate nutrition is the most important part of providing your pets with happy and healthy lives.  

All of its foods use premium and all natural ingredients and do not use wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial colours, artificial flavours or artificial preservatives which can trigger food allergies or intolerance in some cats with sensitive stomachs.

Pros

  • Made in the USA and backed by guarantee.
  • All-natural ingredients.
  • Full of fiber to move hairballs along.

Cons

  • It is a dry food, which some cats don’t like.
  • Does not contain moisture.

BLUE Buffalo for Cats Adult Dry Cat Food is a good option if you’re searching for a good quality food which will remedy your cat’s hairball issues. The Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice formula is specially and uniquely designed to meet the needs of indoor cats by offering a good amount of fiber which is supplemented with the addition of omega fatty acids.

Most importantly, this food is super high in good quality protein sources such as deboned chicken and menhaden fish meal. Thanks to this, it helps prevent hairball formation and the Omega fatty acid content strengthens your kitty’s skin and fur, meaning that there is less scope for them to ingest hair in the first place.

Why BLUE Buffalo? Their company is one of the biggest names in pet food by far, and have a reputation for producing high-quality formulas, which are a source of full, complete and balanced nutrition for cats. It uses the best ingredients available on the market and turns them into food which cats just love! BLUE Buffalo really do understand cats, and this is best demonstrated by the number of specialised formulas they produce which cater for cats who have a range of different health issues.

Pros

  • Contains ‘Life Source Bits.’
  • Two protein sources.
  • Specially designed for hairball control.

Cons

  • Some cats may not like the flavour.

Greenies Smartbites Hairball Control are not technically food, they are cat treats. If your kitty is extra fussy or you are looking for something to feed as an extra way to help prevent hairballs, treats are a great way to go! These treats have been designed and created by a licensed veterinarian to provide optimum hairball protection.

These treats provide lots of extra nutrients to promote overall health and are made with a blend of plant-based fibers, which help reduce the formation of hairballs and aid overall digestion. Containing 25mg of petrolatum per serving, they helps to lubricate the digestive tract and allow the easy passing through of ingested hair without causing obstruction or hairballs.

Cats will absolutely love these treats and can be fed to cats regularly… just don’t overdo it and be aware that they have a hard texture, so some older cats may have a lot of trouble eating them. Designed by licensed veterinarian with a combination of plant-based fibers has designed them, so you are getting an approved and all natural solution to frequent hairballs.

Pros

  • Lots of fiber.
  • Appealing flavours.

Cons

  • Not great for older cats.

Weruva’s Grain-Free Canned Wet Food comes in 12 different flavours and formulas, so you can definitely find one for any cat’s picky palate. Plus, it’s a wet food – finally! – so you do not have to give your cat added moisture like you do with a dry food diet.

Weruva use high quality protein components in their food with no grains and ensure that the food is low in carbs and low in fat… great if you’ve got a house cat who is throwing up hairballs and you need a food which won’t promote weight gain, but still has low carbs and no grains.

Being low in grains helps prevent hairballs because a cat’s stomach is not designed to digest grains and carbohydrates. Plus, it includes lots of essential ingredients such as shredded meats and vitamins (including E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 AND E).

Pros

  • So much flavour choice.
  • No funny ingredients.
  • It is a wet food and high in moisture.

Cons

  • No added fiber.

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control includes lots of natural vegetable fiber which helps control and avoid the formation of hairballs by helping hair move through your kitty’s digestive system. It is an all-round high-quality cat food which provides balanced daily nutrition.

Not only that, but it is also designed to help the urinary system too. With added magnesium, it supports the urinary system’s health. It is made with only natural ingredients with added vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Pros

  • Specially formulated hairball cat food.
  • Standard chicken flavour, a feline favourite.
  • Promotes urinary health.

Cons

  • Only available in one flavour.

Why Do Cats Cough Hairballs?

Cats groom themselves meticulously; it is part of their nature and they spend hours licking away at their fur. During this process, unsurprisingly, your cat will swallow trace amounts of fur, which can pass through the digestive system without any problems, usually.

Sometimes, however, the hair can accumulate in the stomach and your kitty will vomit it up instead. It doesn’t matter if your cat is long or shorthaired, it happens to them all.

If you’ve got a cat who has a lot of hairballs, they might benefit from one of these specially formulated cat foods which have a proven ability to stop them happening so much.

What is important when it comes to hairballs is the quality of your kitty’s diet (such as feeding the Best High Protein Cat Food) because plays a huge role in its overall health and wellbeing, especially for digestive health. Pet nutritionists agree that a high in protein low in carbohydrate diet is the best for cats because they are obligate carnivores and require protein. Removing or getting rid of grains from your kitty’s diet can help healthy and normal digestion because cats are not designed to eat them; they have no nutritional value for kitties.

Hairballs Are Normal

From time-to-time, it is quite normal for your cat to throw up a hairball. You will never be able to stop your cat from ingesting hair, because the hooks on your cat’s tongue remove loose hair to keep the coat tidy and some of these ends up in the stomach.

Most of the time, your cat will be able to ingest this hair and pass it through their system without an issue but, sometimes, it will begin to accumulate, and the occasional hairball will be thrown up.

If you’ve got a cat with very frequent hairballs, then you should try remedying the situation.

How Can I Stop Hairballs?

The best solution to stop hairballs would be to stop your cat ingesting hair… but that’s just not going to happen, as grooming is something your cat has to do; it’s part of their nature.

Regular Brushing

Regularly brushing your cat can be a great preventative method without changing their diet. Regular brushing removes dead hairs from your cat’s coat, meaning that less of them get ingested during grooming. See our article on the Best Cat Brush for more information.

Some cats just hate being brushed, though, and you may find it impossible to do. You should try it though, regardless. Both short and long-haired cats need to be brushed and groomed regularly – especially long-haired cats – and regular grooming helps keep your kitty’s coat in tip top condition.

Change Diet

If brushing isn’t possible or does not help, then you can change your kitty’s diet with a specialised food, which prevents the forming of hairballs in the stomach. These specialist foods are high in fiber to keep your kitty’s digestive system in working order, so it is able to pass ingested hair through before it begins to clump.

Do you have a kitty that has digestive issues? See our article on the Best Probiotics for Cats for more information!

Are Hairballs Dangerous?

Hairballs can, in rare circumstances, become dangerous. There are three key symptoms to watch out for which may mean your cat has a hairball which isn’t quite so harmless, these are –

  • Continuous retching where no hairball is thrown up
  • Your cat is breathing fast when retching
  • Frequent diarrha
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms could mean that your kitty’s throat, stomach or intestines have been blocked up by a hairball obstruction. If your cat shows any of these symptoms, you need to get your kitty to a veterinarian as soon as possible, because a hairball blockage can be very dangerous.

Some of these happen after eating and, although cats do some weird things after eating sometimes (see our article on Cat Howls After Eating) retching and diarrhea are not normal.

If you have a kitty who refuses to eat for more than a day or two, is lethargic or has lots of retching which doesn’t produce a hairball, it is possible that a hairball blockage has occurred. It also pays to know about cat diarrhea, so see our article on My Cat Has Diarrhea But Seems Fine to learn more.

To diagnose this, a veterinarian conducts a physical examination, x-rays or perhaps even an ultrasound. If a blockage is detected, it is usual that surgery will be required to safely remove it. But, more often than not, therapy, clinical care and laxatives can be used to move the hairball through your kitty’s digestive tract.

A word of warning though: don’t give your cat laxatives yourself without the supervision or guidance of a vet, even if you think there might be a slight hairball blockage!

Other Hairball Remedies

There are other products available on the market, which can help with hairballs, too.

Firstly, you could invest in some Laxatone Gel, which has been used on cats for decades. It is made with mineral and vegetable oils which lubricate your kitty’s digestive tract, helping to safely pass hairballs out instead of them being thrown up onto the floor. The only drawback with this is that it is a gel; many cats will protest to eating it and feeding them it can be difficult to say the least.

Secondly, you could consider hairball relief supplements. They are made from natural ingredients such as marshmallow root, papaya and slippery elm bark which lubricate hairballs, again, so they can pass out naturally in the faeces. They generally come in flavours which cats like but, again, cats can be fussy and may not eat it and will easily find it if hidden in food.

The Round Up

Hairballs are a natural part of your kitty’s life and they are bound to happen every now and then. Some cats will only throw hairballs up on very rare occasions whereas others will do it more frequently.

If you have noticed that your cat is throwing up hairballs more frequently, you can make some dietary changes or buy some other supplements which will help remedy the problem. We have gone through our picks for the best cat food for hairballs, which contain lots of added fiber, which aids digestion and helps hair pass through the system.

Frequent hairballs can also be a sign of another medical problem, so it’s always best to consult a vet before taking any action. Also, if you notice your cat commonly retching and not passing anything up, it could be a sign of a blockage.

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