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Best Cat Food For Hairball Control

Every cat owner knows the sound of a cat about to cough up a hairball. The sound itself is disgusting enough, let alone the gooey, hairy mess that follows it. Hairballs are a natural consequence of all the grooming your cat does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control them.

Making changes to your cat’s diet could reduce hairballs and make life that much better for both you and your cat.

Keep reading to learn more about what causes hairballs in cats and what you can do to control them? You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best cat food for hairball control.

Quick Look at Our Top 5 Picks

  1. Best Overall: NomNomNow Flavorful Fish Feast Fresh Cat Food
  2. Best Affordable: Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Cat Food
  3. Best Grain-free: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food
  4. Best Wet Cat Food: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Canned Cat Food
  5. Best For Allergies: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Canned Food
ImageProductFeatures

Best Overall

NomNomNow Flavorful Fish Feast Fresh Cat Food
  • Real tilapia and salmon as main ingredients
  • Whole-food ingredients like fresh vegetables
  • Rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
View Best Price

Best Affordable

Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Cat Food
  • Formulated specifically for indoor cats
  • Fresh chicken and chicken meal as protein-rich main ingredients
  • Natural sources of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
View Best Price

Best Grain-Free

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food
  • Rehydrate to provide cat with a rich source of moisture and nutrients
  • Free-range chicken as the first ingredient
  • Highly digestible, made with human-grade ingredients
View Best Price

Best Wet Cat Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Canned Cat Food
  • Premium animal proteins like chicken and chicken liver
  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Highly digestible and moisture-rich for healthy digestion
View Best Price

Best For Allergies

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Canned Food
  • Single source of novel animal protein
  • Highly digestible to reduce hairballs
  • Complete and balanced nutrition
View Best Price

What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

Your cat spends a majority of its day sleeping, but when it is awake, much of that time is spent grooming. Grooming is a natural behavior for cats, and it helps keep the coat smooth and shiny. Grooming distributes the natural oils produced in your cat’s skin that hydrates and softens the coat.

The problem is when your cat ingests too much hair during the grooming process and is then unable to digest that hair. The result is a slimy wad of hair coughed up on your floor or furniture. But what actually causes hairballs in cats?

Also Read: What’s The Best Cat Food to Prevent Vomiting?

Your cat’s tongue is covered in tiny little hooks that catch dead hair, which is then swallowed during the grooming process. Most of that hair passes through the cat’s digestive tract with no issue, but some of it gets stuck, forming a hairball over time. Hairballs are more common in long-haired cats and in cats that shed more than normal. Increased stress can cause your cat to compulsively groom itself, swallowing more hair in the process and making hairballs worse.

Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best cat food for hairball control. Here’s what you need to know:

How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

One of the easiest ways to reduce hairballs is to brush your cat more frequently. By removing some of the dead hair from your cat’s coat, you can reduce the amount of hair your cat swallows during grooming. Making changes to your cat’s diet may help as well by improving the quality of the cat’s coat or by encouraging the digestive system to pass hairballs instead of regurgitating them.

Here are some things to look for in a cat food for hairball control:

  • Higher fiber content. Fiber is essential for healthy digestion, but, in most cases, you want to keep the fiber content of your cat’s diet low-to-moderate to avoid digestive upset. If your cat has hairball issues, however, a slightly higher fiber content could be beneficial.
  • Digestible ingredients. The more digestible the ingredients in your cat’s food, the more easily they will pass through its system, pushing out collected hair along with it.
  • Higher moisture content. Cats tend not to drink a lot of water, but proper hydration is essential for healthy digestion. Feeding your cat wet food or moistening its dry food can increase its moisture intake to support healthy digestion and healthy skin and coat.
  • Prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotic fibers and probiotic supplements support healthy and regular digestion in your cat, helping its system pass hairballs instead of vomiting them up.
  • No artificial additives. Things like fillers, by-products, and artificial flavors serve no nutritive value for your cat and are only likely to trigger digestive upset that can mess with your cat’s digestion and reduce its ability to pass hairballs.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach

Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best cat food for hairball control.

The Top 5 Best Cat Foods for Hairball Control

The best cat food for hairball control will be highly digestible and made from wholesome, natural ingredients. It should start with a premium source of animal protein with plenty of animal fats, plus fiber for digestion as well as beneficial supplements like prebiotics and probiotics.

Best Overall: NomNomNow Flavorful Fish Feast Fresh Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 18% Min
  • Fat – 4% Min
  • Fiber – 4% Max
  • Moisture– 73% Max
  • Caloric Content: 1194 kcal/kg

Pros:

  • Real tilapia and salmon as main ingredients
  • Whole-food ingredients like fresh vegetables
  • Rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Limited number of formulas to choose from
  • Significantly more expensive than traditional dry food

When it comes to reducing hairballs, you need a cat food that is rich in protein and moisture. Fresh cat food meets both of these requirements with the added bonus of being extremely high in nutritional quality. NomNomNow is a fresh pet food company that sends monthly deliveries of small-batch, fresh cat food right to your door in perfectly portioned pouches according to your cat’s daily calorie needs. Their Flavorful Fish Feast recipe is a perfect choice for cats with hairball issues because it is rich in omega fatty acids for skin and coat support.

Best Affordable: Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32% Min
  • Fat – 15% Min
  • Fiber – 6% Max
  • Moisture– 9% Max
  • Caloric Content: 3,613 kcal/kg

Pros:

  • Formulated specifically for indoor cats
  • Fresh chicken and chicken meal as protein-rich main ingredients
  • Natural sources of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)
  • Some cats may be allergic or sensitive to grains

High-quality nutrition is a must for all cats, but the digestibility of your cat’s food matters even more when hairballs are a concern. This Blue Buffalo cat food is uniquely formulated for indoor cats and features real chicken as a protein-rich main ingredient. It also contains digestible whole grains like brown rice, barley, and oatmeal with plenty of healthy fats from menhaden fish meal, chicken fat, and flaxseed. Overall, it is a highly nutritious and digestible recipe your cat is sure to love.

Best Grain-Free: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 39% Min
  • Fat – 28% Min
  • Fiber – 2.4% Max
  • Moisture– 5.2% Max
  • Caloric Content: 5,120 kcal/kg

Pros:

  • Rehydrate to provide cat with a rich source of moisture and nutrients
  • Free-range chicken as the first ingredient
  • Highly digestible, made with human-grade ingredients

Cons:

  • Some cats dislike the texture of rehydrated food
  • Fairly expensive compared to traditional kibble

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of fresh food, but you want your cat to have the same nutritional benefits, dehydrated cat food is a good option. This Honest Kitchen formula is dehydrated instead of cooked, so it retains more of its original nutritional quality which comes from wholesome, natural ingredients. Simply add water to rehydrate the food, giving your cat a rich source of nutrition and moisture to reduce hairballs and improve digestion.

Best Wet Cat Food: Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Canned Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 11% Min
  • Fat – 3.5% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max
  • Caloric Content: 148 kcal/5.5-oz can

Pros:

  • Premium animal proteins like chicken and chicken liver
  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Highly digestible and moisture-rich for healthy digestion

Cons:

  • Somewhat more expensive than other canned foods
  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Formulated to support the five signs of wellness, this canned cat food recipe supports your cat’s digestive health, energy, immune system, eyes and teeth, and skin and coat. It features real chicken as the main ingredient with chicken liver as a supplemental source of protein and essential nutrients. Made with grain-free carbohydrates and supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics, this recipe is also highly digestible, which is great for hairball control.

Best For Allergies and Hairballs: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Canned Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 10.5% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 76% Max
  • Caloric Content: 1,285 kcal/kg

Pros:

  • Single source of novel animal protein
  • Highly digestible to reduce hairballs
  • Complete and balanced nutrition

Cons:

  • Contains plant protein (pea protein) as a main ingredient
  • Doesn’t contain probiotic supplements

Another excellent option in wet cat food and one specifically formulated for cats with food allergies or sensitive stomach is this Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet. Featuring real duck as a novel source of premium animal protein with grain-free carbohydrates, this recipe is highly digestible and nutritious. Plus, as a canned food, it is high in moisture with supplemental fiber for healthy digestion.

Final Remarks

Before changing your cat’s diet, talk to your veterinarian to rule out any potential underlying health problems that could be making your cat’s hairballs worse. If dietary changes are all that is needed, look for a recipe featuring premium animal proteins, supplemental fiber, and wholesome, natural ingredients. This is the key to healthy and regular digestion as well as reduced hairballs.

Now that you understand what causes hairballs and how to resolve them with a healthier diet, you’re ready to start shopping for new cat food! If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our top 5 picks reviewed above!

About Kate Barrington

AvatarKate Barrington is avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines

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