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We have all heard it, right? The bizarre hacking cough that floats through the house in the middle of the night that is typically followed by a nasty surprise come morning. Hairball patrol clean-up crew is never pleasant regardless of the time of day. Unfortunately, it’s not just the grossness of the situation that you have to be concerned about, either.
Hairballs can cause serious health consequences for your tabby. Issues like intestinal blockages, diarrhea, loss of appetite, bloated abdomens, and other problems can occur to the point your pet may need surgery to correct the problem.
Thankfully, some foods can curb the worst of the hairball issues, and we have found the ten best formulas! Below, we will review each brand and share important details like the ingredients, nutrients, flavor, effectiveness, and much more.
As a bonus, we will also share some at-home remedies for eliminating said mess. Check it out in the buyer’s guide below.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Hill's Science Diet Dry||
|Best Value||IAMS Proactive Dry||
|Premium Choice||Royal Canin Feline Dry||
|Purina ONE Dry||
|Meow Mix Dry||
The 10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs- Reviews 2020
1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
Our first choice is Hill’s 10137 Science Diet Dry Cat Food. This is a chicken-flavored recipe available in 3, 5, or 7-pound bags. The formula contains low levels of magnesium to support your cat’s urinary tract, which will allow the hairballs to be passed through their digestive system.
Meanwhile, this cat chow contains natural sources of fiber to help with hairballs, as well. Your pet will receive great levels of protein along with other vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy. In fact, Hill’s Science Diet is made with all-natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any chicken by-products, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. They also use real meat as their first ingredient.
This cat chow is made in the USA and responsibly sourced throughout the world. The meal is easy to digest, plus contains healthy nutrients like omegas, antioxidants, and vitamin C and E. Overall, it will not only help with hairballs but also promote healthy immune and digestive systems, not to mention, strengthen their skin and fur.
2. IAMS Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food – Best Value
If you have a hairball hacking tabby on a budget, we have found just the thing for you. The IAMS 10146520 Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is available in 3½, 7, 16, or 22-pound bags and comes in a chicken and turkey flavor. This is a formula that is designed to not only help your pet digest hairballs, but to also keep their weight at a manageable level.
IAMS uses a blend of fibers and beet pulp to fight hairballs. It also contains l-carnitine to help your pet lose weight. This is also a great meal for felines that are indoors bound. Easy to digest, the formula has 10% less fat than other recipes, plus they use real chicken as their first ingredient and source of healthy protein. Moreover, this cat food contains other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and omegas 3 and 6 to promote an overall healthy tabby. To that end, there are no artificial ingredients, synthetic dyes, or wheat in the formula.
One thing to note about this option, however, is this cat food is not all-natural, and it contains chicken by-product meals. Other than that, it is easy to digest, and the best cat food for hairballs for the money.
3. Royal Canin Feline Hairball Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
If your cat has a serious hairball issue, and you can spend a little more coin, the Royal Canin Feline Hairball Dry Cat Food is a good option for you. This brand is known for its dietary formulas that target specific issues, and this is one of them. Made with chicken meal as their healthy source of protein, this option uses a blend of fibers including psyllium seed husk to help move the hairballs through your pet’s GI tract.
Besides that, this formula contains 32% protein. Plus, it is formulated with AAFCO’s guidelines for nutrition. It’s easy to digest and great for indoor animals. You can pick this product up in 3, 6, or 14-pound bags. What’s more, the meal is formulated with additional vitamins and nutrients to keep your cat healthy.
As mentioned, this brand is more expensive than your average cat food. Besides that, however, you should note it is not an all-natural formula. In fact, some of the ingredients are questionable. It contains corn, brewers rice, and other ingredients that don’t hold a lot of nutritional benefits for your pet.
4. Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food
The Purina 178635 ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food is a dry diet that you can pick up in 3½, 7, 16, or 22-pound bags. It comes in a tasty chicken formula that contains no fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives. What it does have is vitamins and minerals like omega-6, antioxidants, and vitamin E and A to promote healthy skin, fur, digestive, and immune systems.
The Purina ONE cat food is made with natural fibers to keep hairballs at bay. The all-natural formula is crafted in the USA and uses real meat as their first ingredient. Unfortunately, the food has some unsavory ingredients such as chicken by-product meals and corn gluten meal that helps boost the protein level. Also, keep in mind this meal can be harder to digest for some felines. Other than that, you will find this to be an effective way of keeping hairballs to a minimum.
5. Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
Up next, the Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food. This tasty meal comes in chicken, turkey, salmon, and ocean fish flavors. It is formulated with high levels of protein to keep your cat energized, and a natural fiber blend to help you pet digest hairballs that can get stuck in their throat. Not only that, but this cat food contains other essential nutrients such as omegas, vitamin B-complex, and calcium.
You should note that this formula is not all-natural, however. Although it is easy to digest, it contains some ingredients that are not as healthy as we would like. For example, you will find chicken and turkey by-product meals and soy. What’s more, it’s made with artificial colors. Besides that, this product is made in the USA.
We should also point out that you can find this food in a 6.3-pound bag or a four-pack of 3.15-pound bags. It is also a great option for cats that spend their time either indoors or outdoors. It is also good for all breeds, sizes, and ages of cats.
6. Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
If you need a cat food formula that will not only treat hairballs but also promote weight loss and overall good health, the Blue Buffalo 800642 Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is a good choice for you. This formula has healthy levels of protein to keep you cat active, natural fibers to keep hairballs at bay, and their patented LifeSource bits that contain essential vitamins and nutrients.
This is an all-natural formula that contains some unfortunate ingredients, however, like pea protein and alfalfa meal. You should also note that it’s not as effective at controlling weight gain. That being said, Blue Buffalo uses real meat as the first ingredient plus other wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also does not have any chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives or flavors.
One other drawback of Blue Buffalo Hairball Control is the kibble bits are harder than most, and it can be more difficult for your cat to chew. That being said, you can pick it up in a 3 or 7-pound bag. Finally, you should note that this formula is hard to digest for many felines.
7. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food
If your tabby prefers a wet meal, the Hill’s 10641 Science Diet Wet Cat Food may be the right choice. This formula is available in either 2.9-ounce cans (12 or 24 pack) or 5.5-ounce cans (24 pack). The chicken recipe is designed to help with both hairballs and urinary control. The meal contains added vitamins and minerals such as omegas 6 and vitamin E.
Something else to consider with this formula is the protein levels are lower than other options. Though it has an all-natural formula, you will find ingredients such as pork by-products and soy. You should also consider that this can be a hard food to transition to, and your cat may experience digestive issues as a result.
Made in the USA and globally sourced, the Hill’s Science Diet has natural fiber to promote healthy digestion thus reducing hairballs. Keep in mind though, it is not the best option for overweight cats or those who suffer from stomach sensitivities.
8. Nutro Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
The Nutro 10164617 Hairball Control Dry Cat Food comes in a chicken and brown rice formula that is made with all-natural ingredients. It also has other essential nutrients like omega-6, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. What’s more, it’s a non-GMO formula without any corn, wheat, soy protein, by-products meals, or artificial ingredients.
Unfortunately, though this is a soy-protein-free food, it does have soy oil, so any cats with sensitivities should take caution. Not only that, but the meal also contains pea protein and alfalfa meal which can boost the protein levels. It is also higher in fat.
Cooked in the USA, Nutro is available in a 3, 5, or 14-pound bag. It has chicken as the first ingredient, and it’s made with a blend of natural fibers to control hairballs. As a last comment, you should note that this food is hard to digest for most feline pets.
9. AvoDerm Hairball Control Formula Cat Food
In the number nine spot, we have the AvoDerm 100514242 hairball Control Formula Cat Food. This is a cat meal made to control not only hairballs but weight, as well. It comes in a chicken recipe that is unfortunately not tasty to a lot of feline-friends. You can find it on shelves or websites in either a 3½, 6, or 11-pound bag. Right off the bat, we want to share that this food is not as effective at controlling hairballs as our other choices. It is also not recommended for weight loss.
That being said, the formula is made with California Avocados to promote healthy skin, fur, immune systems, and overall health. Though there is some controversial information regarding the benefits of this ingredient for cats, in this case, it seems to be helpful. Unfortunately, this food is also high in salt, plus it has other ingredients that are not beneficial like white rice.
On a brighter note, AvoDerm is free of by-product meals and artificial ingredients. Though it does have nutrients such as antioxidants and omegas, the food is higher in fat levels that are packed into hard to chew kibble bits. Made in the USA, this is an indoor cat formula only.
10. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food
Our final pick is the Wellness 8984 Complete Health Natural Dry Cat Food. This is an option you can pick up in either a 2½, 6, or 12-pound bag and comes in a chicken meal and rice dry formula. Although it contains its fair share of vitamins and nutrients, the natural fiber blend is not effective at reducing hairballs or helping them pass through your pet’s digestive tract.
Wellness features an all-natural ingredient list with no wheat, corn, soy, meat by-product, or artificial ingredients. It’s made in the USA, yet it’s hard to digest for those cats that will eat it. Unfortunately, many pets will not go near it or consume it. You should also note this food is high in calories, fat, and salt. You will also find pea protein and brewers rice which are two protein-boosting fillers.
As mentioned, this food is not effective. It also tends to go stale quickly. Overall, this is our least favorite option for cat food to control hairballs.
Tips for Reducing Hairballs
Hairballs are not only gross, but they can cause your pet some serious health concerns. Although feeding them a fiber-rich formula that will help your feline digest them is a good place to start, there are also some other roads you can add to your journey that will help the overall situation.
We hope you have enjoyed the above reviews. Hairballs are a serious issue, but finding the right food to help treat it can make the situation worse if you don’t know what to look for. If you want the best of the best, go with the Hill’s 10137 Science Diet Dry Cat Food. This is a nutritious meal that will help control the issue, plus provide many other vitamins. If you need a more affordable option, go with the IAMS 10146520 Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food that is also effective at curbing the worst of the situation.
Featured Image: Natasha G from Pixabay
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.