Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

Any cat owner will tell you that hairballs are a common problem. Your cat’s constant cleaning and licking of her fur causes the fur to pass into the digestive tract, attach to food and form a hairball. Hairballs are usually harmless unless your cat is hacking them up frequently.

Young cats are less likely to develop hairballs than older cats. Since older cats are experienced groomers, they are more likely to spend a good portion of the day actively licking their fur. Some cats, by nature, are more meticulous than others in their grooming habits. Long hair breeds, such as Persians and Maine Coons, are at greater risk of developing hairballs than short-haired breeds. Also, hairball development is more frequent in seasons of the year when your cat sheds her coat.

Top 3 Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

Symptoms

Vomiting with food or fluid in a cylindrical shape is an indication your cat has dislodged a hairball. If you hear a dry cough, wheezing, or gagging sound it could mean your cat is struggling to hack up a hairball. Loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation could be a sign of an intestinal blockage and must be treated immediately. The symptoms could be signs of another condition, so your veterinarian will need to perform a physical exam to confirm if a hairball is involved.

Causes

The main cause of a hairball is loose hair that your cat ingested but it did not pass through the intestinal tract. Because your cat spends hours licking and grooming her fur she tends to swallow the loose or dead fur that sticks to her tongue. Under normal circumstances the fur is digested and eliminated through the feces. However, there are times when the hair builds up in the stomach, creating a hairball that is vomited up with food or fluid. Excessive grooming, long coats and shedding also play a factor in swallowing loose fur.

What to Look for on the Cat Food Label

If your cat suffers from frequent hairballs a change of diet may help your cat pass and eliminate the swallowed hair. A high fiber diet will help some cats with hairballs. Different types of fiber can either sweep hair through the intestinal tract or promote the overall health of the gut. Some pet food manufacturers have added fiber to their formulations creating “hairball” diets that work well for come cats. But don’t assume it is a quality cat food because it offers hairball control. A healthy diet is your cat’s best defense for a long life that is free of many issues, not just hairballs. A cat’s nutritional requirements are relatively simple. These basic ingredients should be listed on the label; protein from meat, taurine, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids.

Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

 Hills Science Diet Hairball Control Cat Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control pet food is made with a blend of natural fibers that lets your cat comfortably remove hairballs while reducing the formation of new ones. Science Diet Hairball Control dry cat food is made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Hill’s uses only high-quality ingredients including real chicken, lamb or salmon protein. Hill’s dry pet foods have quality protein as the first ingredient and provide clinically proven antioxidant benefits.

The Good

  • No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives
  • No by-product meal
  • Made specifically for hairball control

The Bad

  • Contains wheat
  • Some cats refuse to eat
  • Large size kibble

NUTRO Wholesome Essentials

NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Hairball Control Adult Cat Food starts with the 1st ingredient, chicken and contains a unique blend of whole grains. This natural cat food provides a fiber blend to help minimize hairball formation and essential antioxidants, such as vitamin E, for a healthy immune system, plus vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. This formula also contains omega 6 fatty acids in order to promote healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat. NUTRO Food for Cats is always made with Non-GMO ingredients and has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. 

The Good

  • Contains natural fiber
  • Non GMO
  • Controls hairballs

The Bad

  • Price on the high side
  • Complaints of loose stools

Blue Buffalo Adult Hairball Control Food

Blue Buffalo Adult Hairball Control Food is a natural holistic cat food that provides essential amino acids and vital nutrients they need every day. Formulated with hearty whole grains like brown rice, barley and oats that will keep your cat supplied with the complex carbohydrates needed for energy. Healthy garden veggies and fruit like whole carrots, sweet potatoes, parsley and cranberries contain phytonutrients that help your cat stay healthy.  De-boned Chicken is the first ingredient on the label and you will not see chicken (or poultry) by-products meals.

The Good

  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • Contains no fillers
  • Controls shedding

The Bad

  • Pricey
  • Contains meal
  • Strong odor

IAMS Proactive Health Dry Cat Food

IAMS is veterinarian recommended. It is formulated with essential nutrients including calcium & potassium to help keep your cats heart strong. This cat food is made for indoor cats and controls weight and reduces hairballs. High quality protein from chicken helps maintain healthy muscles and provides the amino acids essential to carnivorous animals. The high fiber blend, including beet pulp, not only helps reduce hairballs but a mix of protein and carbs contribute to healthy energy levels for your cat.

The Good

  • Helps control hairballs
  • Contains no fillers
  • High quality food for the price

The Bad

  • Sensitive stomachs may not handle well
  • Contains grains
  • Contains by products

Purina One Hairball Formula Cat Food

Purina ONE Hairball Formula adult dry cat food is made with real chicken as the #1 ingredient. This dry cat food provides 38 grams of protein per cup. The easily digestible formula contains 0% fillers and contains vitamins and minerals for well-rounded nutrition, to meet 100% of your adult cat’s requirements. The special blend uses natural fiber to help control hairballs.

The Good

  • Helps control hairballs
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Low cost

The Bad

  • Sensitive stomachs may not handle well
  • Contains meals

Hairball Remedies

Nothing can be done to completely eliminate hairballs. But there are ways to minimize and prevent the development of hairballs in cats.

Grooming – The more fur you remove from your cat, the less fur that will end up as hairballs in her stomach. Combing or brushing your cat on a daily basis can be an effective way to minimize hairballs, and it can also provide a fun way for you to bond with your cat. If you can’t get your cat accustomed to grooming, think about taking her to a professional groomer every six months or so.

Water – Nothing is more important to your cat’s digestion than fresh, clean water. To optimize water intake, provide water in the fashion your cat prefers:

Hairball formula cat food – As discussed, many cat food manufacturers now make hairball control cat foods. These high-fiber formulas are designed to improve the health of your cat’s coat, minimize the amount of shedding, and assist hairballs to pass through the digestive system.

Hairball laxative – There are a number of different hairball products on the market today, most of which are mild laxatives that help hairballs pass through the digestive tract.

Cat grass – This stuff grows fast and is easy to care for. It costs very little, and provides a renewable resource of enjoyment for your cat.Since it is a chemical-free and controlled source of fiber, indoor cat grass is a worry-free option.

Conclusion

You and your cat don’t have to suffer from frequent hairballs. By grooming your cat and choosing the best cat food for hairballs, you can keep her coat healthy while also keeping the hair moving naturally through her digestive system.

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