The Best Cat Food For Hairballs

Hairballs, eew! Let's look at some great cat food that are designed to prevent them. Don't waste your money on brands that don't deliver on their promises.

Best Cat Food For Hairball Prevention

When your cat has swallows too much fur while grooming, they’ll throw up a hairball. It isn’t a particularly enjoyable experience for your cat nor is it one for you, because you have to clean it up. Aside from regular grooming, a good hairball prevention cat food will help hair pass through the digestive system and out the other end.

A cat food with a hairball control formula still needs to address all the dietary needs of your cat if it’s to be a worthy replacement for your current food. In our experience, Royal Canin Feline Health Hairball is the best cat food for hairballs providing your cat gets enough moisture from other sources.

As we’re always quick to remind people, owners who feed a dry cat food should always be conscious about how much water their cat consumes. Dry foods aren’t a bad thing by any means, but they don’t provide the moisture that wet foods do all by themselves.

Best Cat Food For Hairball Prevention

Best Cat Food For Hairballs

It’s time to knuckle down and read about each of our picks. Each food on our list is perfectly viable as a full replacement for your cat’s current diet.

If cost is a concern, then you may be able to feed them a hairball prevention cat food every other meal instead of at every meal. This is commonly recommended with special medical formulas as a good way to balance cost and effectiveness. Below are the best cat foods for hairball prevention that will help fur pass through your cats system safely.

Royal Canin Feline Health Hairball

The Royal Canin brand has a reputation for giving cats exactly what they need to be healthy. This hairball prevention cat food is no exception. This food is marked as appropriate to feed to adult cats aged 1 to 10.

Since it is impossible to prevent your cat from swallowing fur, all you can really do is feed them a food that will help them pass it. This food uses a variety of fibers designed to make the fur move through the digestion tract with ease.

We love that this food also helps cats in other ways. By using a combination of fatty acids and specific fibers, inflammation can be reduced. This is great for cats that get upset stomachs. Dental health is huge for cats and can be a factor in their lifespan. Specific nutrients in this food are designed to prevent tarter by not allowing calcium to attach to teeth.

The number in the name of any Royal Canin food indicates the amount of crude protein in it. The level in this food, 34, seems to be a good amount for indoor cats.

If you are looking for a food that comes from a well-respected brand, this might be the one for you.

Hill’s Science Diet Hairball Control

This food comes from the other leading brand when it comes to cat food with health benefits, it’s also aimed at adult cats, but the age range is just from 1 to 6.

Science Diet makes the only cat food that reduces hairballs while also helping your cat’s overall urinary health. The key here is controlling how much magnesium your cat is getting. This food claims to have the perfect amount. It also works using a variety of fibers to encourage the hair to pass through your cat easily.

Being made with natural ingredients makes this a great food for your cat’s overall health.

There is also a good mix of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. We also love that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Another thing that we love is that it comes in both wet and dry varieties. Some cats will only eat one or the other, while other cats thrive on eating a combination of the two. The wet food is a pâté, which some cats seem to love while other cats won’t touch it.

Hill’s Science Diet is the #1 veterinarian recommended brand. That alone is a good reason to consider it when shopping for the best hairball cat food.

Purina ONE Hairball Formula

For those on a budget, this might be the right hairball cat food. You can get more than twice as much of this food as the first two at the same price. That does not mean it isn’t going to be an effective treatment for your cat’s hairball situation.

Rather than providing a range of cat ages this food is for, the bag simply states adult cats 1+.

Like most cat foods designed for hairball control, this food works using a combination of natural fibers. It is also full of Omega-6 fatty acids that have been shown to keep a cat’s skin and coat healthy.

We like this food because it lists real chicken as the number one ingredient. All of the ingredients are chosen with a specific purpose, with no filler items.

The success stories from people who have used this food are downright amazing. It is also a brand that is recommended by veterinarians. Purina ONE goes out of there way to make their dry foods crunchy, something most cats enjoy. Many special needs cat foods are not very tasty, so any added enticement to get them to eat it is a major plus.

People needing a cheaper option or those who haven’t found success with other products should definitely consider this one.

Hill’s Science Diet Hairball Control Dry

This food offers many of the same benefits as the last Hill’s Science Diet food we already discussed. The difference here is it targets hairballs solely. Due to this, is it slightly cheaper than the version that includes urinary health. Like the other Science Diet food on the list, it is designed for cats aged 1 to 6. If your cat is experiencing no issues with their urinary health, this may be the better option and it will save you a few bucks.

Along with the natural fiber blend to help with the hairballs, this food is made of all natural ingredients. Like all Science Diet foods, it is full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It should meet all of your cat’s dietary needs.

It comes in a dry and wet variety. Instead of a pâté, this food is minced. Since some cats turn their noses up at pâté, this is definitely a nice option.

After all, your cat has to eat the food in order for it to work. Plus, this food comes in ocean fish and chicken flavors to appeal to even picky eaters.

Again, we love this food for its lack of artificial preservatives and flavors. On top of that, we like the fact that they included clinically-proven antioxidants for an overall healthy immune system.

Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Recipe

This brand is famous for being very natural and using only the best ingredients. As a result, it is just as expensive and the Hill’s Science Diet and Royal Canin brands. The only age recommendation here is 1+.

Blue Buffalo lists deboned chicken as their number-one ingredient. There is no chicken meal or by-product to be found in their foods.

The thing that sets Blue Buffalo apart from other brands is there “LifeSource Bits.” Basically, they mix their natural ingredients with a special kibble. This kibble is enhanced with vitamins and minerals.

To make sure it doesn’t lose any potency, they process it at a lower temperature than the other ingredients.

Whether or not this adds to its appeal really boils down to your personal preferences, it’s called “cold forming”.

This is a great option for those who are looking for their cat’s food to be as natural as possible. It is on the pricey side, but so are most cat foods for hairball control.

Best Hairball Control Cat Food Buyer’s Guide

Hairball Cat Food

Indoor cats are notorious for getting hairballs. If you own a long-haired breed, such as a Ragdoll or a Persian, this is especially true. They spend much of their days grooming. This inevitably leads to a lot of swallowed fur. If that fur can’t pass through their digestion, it will come back up in a pretty gross way.

In addition to working closely with a veterinarian, one of the best ways to help your cat with their hairballs is to get them the right cat food. This guide is designed to highlight some of the things to look for when shopping for hairball prevention food.

Ingredients

Natural fibers seem to be the most effective way to move fur through the digestion system. Any good hairball prevention food should boast having these fibers right on the packaging. That being said, too much fiber can be hard on your cat. That is one big reason it is important to go with a brand of cat food that you trust.

Cats are carnivores, plain and simple. A good cat food will not skimp on protein when making a hairball control formula. On top of helping with hairballs, your cat’s food also needs to provide balanced nutrition for their overall health. You want a food with low amounts of digestible carbohydrates.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are great ingredients in cat food. They help your cat have a healthy skin and coat.

If you find your cat vomiting rather than coughing up hairballs, it may be due to a grain allergy. Some cats can handle digesting carbohydrates better than others. It would be best to talk to your veterinarian about whether switching to a grain-free food would be beneficial and easy on sensitive stomachs. This condition is easy to confuse with hairballs, so pay close attention to your cat’s symptoms.

Taste

Your fancy hairball control cat food can do no good if your cat doesn’t eat it. Luckily, there are a variety of flavors and styles on the market. You can find this type of cat food in chicken and fish flavors.

Food consistency goes along with taste. You can find hairball control in both wet and dry varieties. Within the wet food category, there is pâté, minced, shredded, minced, morsels, sliced, etc. Dry food can either be nothing but kibble or kibble mixed with chunks of meat or veggies.

Ultimately, no one knows your cat’s preferences better than you. With some guess and check work, you should be able to find a hairball control cat food that is both effective and appetizing for your cat.

Things to Avoid

Whenever possible when buying food for your cat, avoid any artificial flavoring or preservatives. While they do serve a purpose, they add chemicals to your cat’s food that are not necessary. BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin are all examples of effective additives to preserve dry cat food. Unfortunately, they are suspected to potentially cause cancer.

Avoid any food that is full of meat by-products, starches, fats, or other fillers. Cornmeal is a very common ingredient in dry cat food that adds absolutely no nutrition to your cat’s diet. Too many carbohydrates can be harmful to your cat.

Wheat gluten sounds like a nice, natural ingredient but it is used as a substitute to muscle meat proteins and whole grains. In some cases, it contains melamine, which has been shown to cause kidney failure.

Artificial colors are the worst. Your cat doesn’t care what color his or her food is, it is added solely to appeal to humans.

Can/Bag Size

If you buy your cat wet food on a regular basis, you may have noticed there are two common sizes of cans. They are 3 oz. and 5.5 oz. For smaller cats, the 3 oz. is plenty for a meal. Larger cats may be able to eat 5.5 oz. in one sitting.

For the sake of freshness, it is best that you buy whatever size your cat can comfortably eat at once. Although they do sell covers for the larger cans of cat food, you will have to refrigerate leftovers. Finicky cats won’t appreciate their meal being cold.

If you are buying dry cat food that is free of preservatives, consider buying smaller bags. It is true that bigger bags are usually a better price per pound. However, if your hairball control food is going stale before your cat eats it all then it is just a waste.

Since hairball control foods are more expensive, you will want to make sure you don’t end up throwing a lot of it away.

Other Steps to Stop Hairballs

On top of finding the right food for your cat, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make that will help prevent any issues caused by hairballs.

If you brush your cat regularly, they will have less loose fur that can come off during grooming. Some cats consider a good brushing to be a form of pampering, while others will fight tooth and claw. By attempting to do it regularly, you may find your cat will become more open to it in time.

Cats will groom more when they are bored or stressed. Regular exercise can help alleviate both these symptoms. As a bonus, it will help get their digestive tract moving.

A few toys that get your cat running around may be a good investment when trying to eliminate hairballs.

With some guidance from your veterinarian, you could try giving your cat a hairball laxative. This will help flush any fur out of the digestive tract. It should be very mild so that it doesn’t lead to unwanted side effects.

Symptoms of Hairballs

Other conditions can sometimes produce similar results to hairballs. Be sure to consult with a veterinarian when dealing with any illness with your cat. Before starting your cat on a hairball prevention cat food, be sure that you recognize the symptoms of hairballs:

  • Gagging or “hacking,” either with a hairball being produced or without
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

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 cat’s hairballs. It involves feeding your cat that new food for 8 weeks and observing any changes.

Final Thoughts

Buying the best food for your cat is very important to their health. This is true whether or not they are dealing with hairballs.

Finding the best hairball control cat food for your feline friend may take some time. Once you do it, your cat’s quality of life will be greatly improved.