Best Cat Food And Treats For Hairballs
Reviewed and updated for accuracy on April 14, 2020 by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM
Live with cats for long enough, and youre bound to find a hairball on the floor . But hairballs dont have to be a regular part of cat ownership.
Cats bring up hairballs frequently enough that its easy to think of them as being normal, but, in fact, they are a symptom of a problem. You can think of hairballs in the same way that you might view diarrheaboth happen from time to time, but they are still symptoms of a health issue.
The most common issues behind hairballs are gastrointestinal dysfunction or skin diseases that cause excessive self-grooming and/or hair loss.
Heres what you need to know about when hairballs are a bigger issue and how you can help manage hairballs through your cats diet.
Top 5 Best Hairball Remedies Reviewed
The following hairball remedies are popular, top-rated products that have a reputation for safety and effectiveness. Most are lubricating products, but youll also find a few that take a different approach to hairball control, addressing it as a component of digestive health.
- Contains fiber to help move hair through the GI tract
- Features prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health
- Free of potentially harmful ingredients
Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
This cat food is all about giving the pet the best nutrition it needs while at the same time help control hairballs. It is why we had to include it on the list of best dry cat food for hairball control. Coming from such a top brand, you are sure that the food will be worth every penny that you spend on it. There are more people who would easily get it because of such performance.
The food is also good in terms of improving the gut health thanks to the overall number of quality nutrients the cat gets from the food. So, other than controlling hairballs, the food is worth using for keeping your pet healthier.
This food is also safe for the pet since it comes with healthy ingredients from natural sources. The last thing you want is to give your pet food that might harm it. Well, that is not an issue when you get this food type.
The use of a blend of dietary fibers will make the food a lot easier to digest. The result is that the food will remain safe even for those pets with digestive sensitivities. There is no doubt your pet will be safe even if feeds on the food more often.
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Best Hairball Control & Prevention Cat Foods
Now that we know everything that we need to know about cat foods, hairballs, and what we should be looking for when tackling this problem, we can review some of the best cat foods for dealing with hairballs on the market. In this review, we are going to dive into the ingredients, brand reputation, past user impressions, and many other factors to determine how good they actually are for your cat and their hairball woes.
Symptoms Of Hairballs In Cats
Being able to properly identify a hairball is going to be a very important step when deciding on a course of action for treatment. It can be alarming to see your cat cough up a hairball and you may think something is wrong. This is all the more reason to be able to accurately identify whether or not your cat needs health.
When your cat is eliminating hairball that has been built up, they will usually be hacking, gagging, vomiting, or coughing. This is unpleasant to hear, but its also encouraging since it indicates that they are having some success getting rid of the hairball. Often times, your cat will be able to get rid of the hairball pretty quickly and you wont have anything further to worry about.
However, sometimes cats do have trouble getting rid of hairballs and they require the assistance of you, their loving owner. There are some symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. If you see any of the following symptoms, you should contact a veterinarian or take action immediately, as your cat is in danger:
- Continuing vomiting, gagging, or hacking without successfully producing a hairball
- Lethargy or reluctance to move
- Lack of appetite
These symptoms range in severity, but each of them indicate that the hairball is causing severe problems in your cats system. If your cat is choking, you should take advantage of 24 hour emergency services in your area immediately or practice CPR on your cat if you know it.
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Best Cat Food For Hairballs Buying Guide
Picking the right cat food that will help you control its hairball problem can be downright frustrating. This is especially true if there is no hairball control written on its label. However, you really dont need any of this market labeling as were going to share with you a few things about feline hairball and how high-quality cat food can help.
Does Hairball Control Gel Work
Aside from experimenting with foods specially intended to remove hairballs, you can also consider using the gels that we mentioned above. These lubricated gels contain various substances that are intended to help hairballs slide through the GI tract.
Ultimately, you need to avoid giving your cats too much of this substance, because it can make them feel sick or lead to issues like diarrhea. However, if you follow the guidelines given by your vet, then using a gel could be a safe strategy.
Vets recommend substances like the Nutri-Vet, Multi-Vite Paw-Gel for cats. Vets are responsible for this particular gels formula. The great thing about this lubricant is that you dont have to force it into your cats mouth. All you need to do is apply the gel to your cats paw, and theyll consume it as they groom themselves.
Another bonus for this particular gel is that it comes with a flavor designed to appeal to your kitties. That could make encouraging them to eat it is a much easier process.
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Egg Yolks Or Egg Yolk Lecithin Supplements
Egg yolks contain two micronutrients that can help to minimize hairball problems. These are choline and lecithin. The choline component acetylcholine helps to increase contractions in the muscular layer of the GI tract, propelling food and hair down and out.
The other significant micronutrient in egg yolk is lecithin, which emulsifies the fat that binds hairballs together.
You can provide these nutrients by adding egg yolks to your cats food or by providing an egg yolk lecithin supplement. Remember to choose egg yolk lecithin rather than lecithin from other sources like sunflower or soy.
Taste Of The Wild Rocky Mountain Grain
Most Popular Cat Food for Hairball Prevention: When it comes to choosing a new cat food, youll find that there are many different options to choose from. If you simply cant make a choice, you cant go wrong with a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. We like this Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe because it is high in moisture and rich in digestible natural ingredients. Not only is this recipe one of the most popular choices, but it is also a great choice in grain free hairball control cat food. This formula features fresh salmon as the main ingredient with chicken liver, fresh chicken, smoked salmon, roasted venison, and ocean fish as supplemental sources of premium animal protein. This recipe is also loaded with healthy fats, providing a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support your cats skin and coat health. Plus, it is high in moisture at 82% with 8% protein, 3% fat and 1.5% fiber. Measured as dry matter, this equates to 44% protein, 22% fat, and 8% fiber.
- Pros: Rich in animal protein, highly digestible natural ingredients, multiple sources of animal protein, chelated mineral supplements, rich in fiber for healthy digestion, blend of omega fatty acids
- Cons: May be too high in fiber for some cats, not a single-source protein recipe
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Things To Avoid In Choosing Hairball Food
If youre buying cat food, you have to ensure that the recipe doesnt include artificial preservatives, flavoring, and color. These ingredients are unhealthy options for your pets.
Moreover, you have to stay away from foods with Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT additives because they may cause diseases. You must also avoid food without any real meat content but full of by-product meat.
What To Look For In Cat Food For Hairball Control
So, you’ve decided to tackle the hairball problem and invest in some high-quality cat food. Well done, as this is the first and most important step to eventually owning a happy cat. To improve their chances of draining those hairballs out of their system, here’s some ingredients to look for on the label:
- Real Meat
When searching for the perfect formula, make sure that the meat included is natural and premium quality, not the processed stuff we should avoid. If the label states that the meat contains by-products or rendered meat, avoid said product at all costs!
When a cat food contains quality fibers such as that available in long sugarcane fibers or psyillium husk, then you know that you’re on the right track. Researchers believe that if the appropriate amount of fiber is included, this should stimulate your cat’s gut to efficiently push hair through. Check out our guide on high fiber cat food for more info.
- High Levels of Protein
A cat’s digestive system is geared towards predominantly digesting animal proteins and fats. To develop their muscles and overall strength, make sure to feed them as much protein as possible by choosing the correct product. Take a look at our review of high protein cat food for more options.
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Best Dry Cat Food For Hairballs: Purina One Hairball Adult Formula Dry Cat Food 16lb
This is the dry food variant from Purina that is specially formulated to minimize hairballs. The formula uses natural fiber to keep the gut moving but owners report the kibble has a slightly oily texture that helps lubricate much like using olive oil or butter.
This is a no-nonsense dry cat food owners say their cats love the flavor, hairballs really are reduced and the price is competitive.
However, if you want grain or soy-free because these ingredients upset your cats stomach you are better off looking elsewhere this dry food is not grain-free. If that doesnt bother you then this is a great choice for the cat who eats dry food but suffers from hairballs!
What Is In Cat Food Marketed For Hairball Control
Food marketed as hairball control on the label must contain foods approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The exact criteria for hairball control labeling is not known. At the very least, the product must be safe to consume and nutritionally balanced.
Most hairball control cat food products contain high levels of fiber to help push the content of your pets body through its gastrointestinal system.
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How Do You Know If Your Cat Has A Hairball
It can be difficult sometimes to know if your cats actually have hairballs, or if they are just being sick. The thing to do, although it might not be very nice, is to inspect the vomit. A hairball will be an elongated bunch of cat hair covered in yellow and green bile.
There are other signs you can look for, such as retching without bringing anything up and loss of appetite. If they are more tired than usual this could also be a sign of a hairball. In addition they could be constipated or going to the opposite end of the spectrum, they could have diarrhea. Of course, these signs could point to any number of other illnesses, like a sensitive stomach, and you may have to pay a visit to the vet if you are worried.
If your cat starts to bring up more hairballs than usual, you should definitely see your vet. There could be an underlying illness such as irritable bowel syndrome. If this is an issue, your vet will prescribe other special foods.
Best Cat Food For Hairballs: 2022 Guide + Reviews
Hairballs it’s the least pleasant aspect of cat ownership. Berke Breathed makes light of this gross unpleasantness with his Bill the Cat in his various comic strips. If only your cat could earn welfare checks from hairballs like Bill does!
It may be best for everyone involved if you find a way to fix your fuzzy friend’s little problem so neither of you have to worry about it. With a proper diet, regular exercise and a little TLC from you, the discomfort of hairballs can be kept to a minimum. This article, best cat food for hairballs, aims to help you aid your little feline companion!
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at a glance: our top 5 picks for hairball control cat food
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Best Cat Food For Hairballs Summary
Hairballs are an unfortunate fact of life for many cat owners.
Hairballs form when your cat swallows tiny amounts of fur during grooming.
The hairs either pass through the gut with faeces, or eventually form a ball in the cats stomach, which is usually vomited up without problems.
However, chronic hairball problems can indicate underlying health issues and you should have your cat checked out by your vet in this case.
One way of helping to prevent the formation of hairballs is to feed your cat a hairball prevention food such as one of those weve reviewed in this article.
Why not tell us if you tried one of the products we suggested!
Did the product help your cat and prevent hairballs from forming?
Wed love to know! Tell us your experience in the comments section below.
Affiliate link disclosure:Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
Hairball Control Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food is generally better for hairball control than dry recipes, simply because it is less likely to cause dehydration and constipation.
Hills Science Diet Hairball Control Cat Food*is made with real chicken or ocean fish in a tasty pate texture.
The food contains natural vegetable fiber that helps to control the formation of hairballs by moving hair safely through the cats digestive system.
The food has added taurine for good heart health and phosphorus for healthy kidney function, as well as essential nutrients for your cats coat and skin.
Purina Salmon & Rice Entree in Sauce* is a wet cat food for hairballs thats specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of indoor cats, especially those who suffer from hairballs.
The primary ingredient is real salmon, and rice and corn bran are added to provide your pet with a natural source of fiber.
Essential nutrients are added to boost organ and immune system health.
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Can Cats Poop Out Hairballs
Generally speaking, cats dont poop out tufts or balls of hair. What should happen is that hair that is drawn into the digestive system makes its way through and out of the digestive system along with other waste. Basically, if your cat is healthy with a good digestive system you should be getting hairy poop!
Hairballs are more a sign of excess hair buildup beyond the capacity of the cats digestive system to remove the hair by the usual means hairballs are a kind of blow-off safety valve for the excretion of too much hair.
If you are seeing a hairball on the floor sitting in a puddle of brown nastiness then you should presume the cat vommed the lot up rather than pooped it out!
Hill’s Science Diet Hairball Control Cat Food
Available in a variety of formulas for all life stages and lifestyles, including for indoor cats.
- Precisely balanced nutrition helps control and avoid the formation of hairballs when fed on a daily basis
- Natural vegetable fibers help move hair through a cat’s system with no drugs or artificial lubricants that may interfere with normal digestion and nutrient absorption
- Essential fatty acids promote healthy skin and a shiny coat
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Potential Causes Of Hairballs
The occasional hairball is normal. It can happen with long and short hair cats and continues from the kitten stage to old age. All cats groom and ingest small amounts of fur. If the digestion system can pass it, there is no problem. If the hair starts to accumulate in the stomach, you start to get the vomiting.
It is possible your cat is experiencing hairballs more frequently than normal due to an underlying issue, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a food allergy. If IBD is an issue, you can find foods that are aimed at sensitive stomachs.
Food allergies are a bit more complicated. There are limited antigen foods available both commercially and from your vet that can help to determine if a food allergy is causing your cats hairballs. It involves feeding your cat that new food for 8 weeks and observing any changes.