We all love cats, but one of their more unpleasant habits is coughing up hairballs. Hairballs form as a result of cats being good groomers. They swallow fur, and usually, it just passes through their digestive tracts, but sometimes it will gather in the stomach. Once a hairball forms, the only way your cat can expel is to vomit it up, and as any cat owner knows, it’s often on the carpet or a piece of upholstered furniture. Yuck! Brushing your cat more often can help; check out our list of The Best Cat Brushes for Shedding.
If your cat is prone to hairballs, feeding her cat food that is formulated to stop hairballs in their tracks is one way to deal with the problem and make both you and your cat happier. We looked at dozens of hairball cat foods so we could tell you about our favorites. We considered their ingredients, their overall value, and how cat owners rated the foods on Amazon.com.
The designation of the best hairball cat food overall goes to Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Urinary & Hairball Control. Many cats suffer from both hairballs and urinary issues, so this food will address and prevent both. The secret to the hairball control is the right kind of fiber; that will help hair in the digestive tract move along smoothly without clumping in the stomach, where it causes nausea and the dreaded hairballs.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Hairball Cat Foods
|Best Hairball Cat Food Overall||Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Urinary & Hairball Control||4.6|
|Best Wet Cat Food for Hairballs||Royal Canin Hairball Care Thin Slices in Gravy||4.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food||4.7|
|Best Grain Free Hairball Cat Food||Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food – Hairball Management||4.5|
|Best Hairball Cat Food With Weight Control||IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control||4.7|
*Ratings are from Amazon and might change over time.
Best Hairball Cat Food Overall: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Urinary & Hairball Control
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Urinary & Hairball Control took the top spot among all of the hairball cat foods. Filled with magnesium, natural fiber, and high-quality protein, this food will keep your cat’s digestive system, urinary system, and entire body in good health. This product is a 7-pound bag, but you can purchase bags as small as 3.5 pounds and as large as 15.5 pounds, depending on your cat’s needs, how many cats you have, and so on.
Hill’s Science Diet is a high-quality brand that veterinarians recommend. It is made from natural ingredients, and cats tend to like the taste; this formulation contains chicken. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, just the healthy ingredients that your cat needs for good overall health. It contains antioxidants as well as omega acids and vitamin E, all of which help keep your cat’s coat in good condition. This, combined with natural fiber, can help keep hairballs under control.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Urinary & Hairball Control Key Features:
- 7-lb bag
- Contains natural fiber for hairball control
- Magnesium helps urinary health
- High-quality protein
- Vet recommended
- No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives
- Contains antioxidants
Best Wet Cat Food for Hairballs: Royal Canin Hairball Care Thin Slices in Gravy
Our favorite wet cat food for hairballs is Royal Canin Hairball Care Thin Slices in Gravy. This food is for cats over one year of age who tend to develop hairballs. It contains a blend of fibers that work together to help stop the clumping of fur that causes symptoms. This is in addition to highly digestible proteins, as well as a mix of carbohydrates and fats that are formulated to promote healthy digestion.
The cans are carefully measured to provide the right caloric intake for your cat, so it can help with weight control, too. The moisture content can help prevent dehydration, and the slices are made with just the right texture, smell, and flavor to appeal to your cat.
Royal Canin Hairball Care Thin Slices in Gravy Key Features:
- For cats over one year of age
- Case of six 3-oz cans
- Contains a blend of fibers
- Highly digestible proteins
- Can help with weight control
- Appealing to cats
Best Budget Hairball Cat Food: Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is the budget-friendly option at the top of our list of the best hairball cat foods. In addition to providing hairball relief and preventing them from forming in the first place, this food is nutritionally complete and can make up the diet for any adult cat.
Meow Mix comes in various flavors, and their hairball control formula is a mixture of chicken, turkey, salmon, and ocean fish. It provides all of the vitamins and minerals that your kitty needs. The company recommends feeding your cat once each morning and allowing her to graze as desired until the food is gone. If there is any left the next morning, dispose of it and give her fresh food.
Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food Key Features:
- 6.3 lb bag
- Prevents hairballs from forming
- Chicken, turkey, salmon, and ocean fish flavors
- 100% nutritionally complete
- For adult cats
- Contains all vitamins and minerals needed
Best Grain-Free Hairball Cat Food: Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food – Hairball Management
If your cat thrives on a grain-free diet, we recommend Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food – Hairball Management. This is a high-protein food that is based on turkey and cod. The product featured is a 5-pound bag, but you can also get a 12-pound bag if you know that your cat likes it and it works for her.
This is an adult cat food that is appropriate for all cats over one year of age, including senior cats. It contains probiotics to help digestion. The fiber that helps with hairball management is miscanthus grass. It doesn’t contain fillers like white potatoes or tapioca, and it’s good for your cat’s immune system.
Nulu Grain Free Dry Cat Food – Hairball Management Key Features:
- 5-lb bag
- For adult cats
- Includes probiotics
- No fillers
- Contains miscanthus grass
Best Hairball Cat Food With Weight Control: IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control
If your cat needs weight control in addition to hairball management, our top recommendation is IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control. Made with real chicken, this food will give your cat the energy she needs while helping her keep her weight under control. Best of all, it will help prevent and treat uncomfortable hairballs. The fiber blend contains beet pulp, which keeps hair moving and stops it from collecting in your cat’s digestive tract.
This IAMS formula contains 10 percent less fat than their typical chicken cat food, so that will help cats with digestive issues as well as those who need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. It offers all of the nutrition that an adult cat needs, and there are no fillers. Overall, it’s a high-quality food that is good for cats who struggle with both excess weight and hairballs.
IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control Key Features:
- 22 lb bag
- Made with real chicken
- Weight-management food
- 10% less fat than traditional IAMS recipe
- Nutritionally complete
- No fillers
Who Should Buy Hairball Cat Food
If your cat struggles with hairballs, purchasing a hairball cat food can help keep them under control. Most hairball cat foods are made for adult cats; if you have a kitten who is dealing with this malady, look for a food made specifically for kittens or ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Even if your cat doesn’t have hairballs, feeding them a hairball management food can help prevent them from forming. This is particularly true if you have a cat with long hair, as these kitties are generally more prone to hairballs than cats with shorter hair.
Important Features to Consider
When looking for the best hairball cat food for your precious kitty, you’ll want to keep a few features in mind. Here are some important considerations to think about.
- Fiber source. If your cat has a sensitivity to some fiber sources, it’s important to look at which type is prevalent in the food you are considering. The fiber is what helps prevent hairballs. If one type of fiber does not work well for your cat, look for another type in another brand of food.
- Protein source. If your cat prefers a specific type of protein (usually fish or poultry), look for that in your hairball cat food the same way you would look for it in traditional cat food.
- Other benefits. Does Kitty need food that is good for urinary health or weight management? Maybe you prefer a grain-free food or food for senior cats. All of these are possible with hairball foods; you just need to find the combination of ingredients desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is hairball control cat food and how does it work?
Hairballs accumulate when a cat grooms and swallows fur. Usually, the fur, can make its way through the digestive tract and expel into the litter box. In some cats, however, the fur tends to accumulate in the stomach. This causes discomfort and eventually, the cat will vomit the hair. Hairball Control cat food helps by adding fiber to the diet, which gently moves the fur along the digestive tract without letting it sit in the stomach.
Does wet cat food help with hairballs?
There are wet cat foods that contain the fiber needed to keep hairballs at bay. Any wet cat food will add extra moisture to your cat’s diet, though, and that is also a necessary part of healthy digestion. You can try a wet cat food to see if that helps the hairball situation; you can also mix a wet cat food with a hairball control cat food for good results.
What ingredient helps cats with hairballs?
The fiber in the food is usually what helps with hairballs. It keeps the digestive tract working optimally, which discourages the accumulation of hair in the stomach.
How can I help my cat with hairballs?
You can help your cat by brushing her frequently; a cat who is brushed a lot will have to groom less, which will result in less hair being swallowed. This is important if your kitty has long hair, as she will be more prone to hairballs than her short-haired contemporaries.
You can also get hairball gel, which is a product that you can apply to your cat’s paw. She will lick it off and it will help her to expel or process the hairballs. In a pinch, you can add a dab of petroleum jelly, which will help lubricate your cat’s digestive tract and make it easier for her to bring up the hairball.
For more hairball help, check out our list of The Best Cat Hairball Remedies.
Other Hairball Cat Foods We Reviewed
In addition to the ones that made our top 5 list, we also reviewed 20 other hairball cat foods and cat treats. These are great options to consider and we think you’ll find the one that’s right for your cat. The information you need to compare them is included with each listing.
- Hairball Cat Food With Weight Control
- Wet Cat Food for Hairballs
- Grain-Free Hairball Cat Food
- Other Dry Hairball Cat Food
- Hairball Control Snacks and Treats
Hairball Cat Food With Weight Control
Indoor cats can be prone to both hairballs and overweight, and this high-quality cat food can help control both. It’s also great for your cat’s coat.
- 3.5 lb bag
- Contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
- Blend of natural fibers
Real chicken, natural fiber, and a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals keep your cat happy, at a healthy weight, and hairball-free.
- 7 lb bag
- Contains psyllium and cellulose
- First ingredient is chicken
This hairball management and weight control formulation comes to you in four bags, so you’ll have plenty to keep your kitties fed for a while.
- Four 3-lb bags
- Made with real chicken and turkey
- Contains a fiber blend
Help your indoor kitty stay in shape and control her hairballs with this food. Real salmon is the first ingredient, so it’s great for fish-loving cats.
- 3.5 lb bag
- Salmon is #1 ingredient
- Contains prebiotic fiber
Wet Cat Food for Hairballs
This wet food will not only control your cat’s hairballs but will also help boost her urinary health. This is a case of 24 5.5-ounce cans.
- Case of 24 cans
- Good for senior cats
- High in protein
Keep your kitty feeling more comfortable with this food made particularly for cats with sensitive stomachs. The wet formulation helps prevent dehydration, too.
- 24 cans of 5.8 ounces each
- Cats like the flavor
- Highly digestible
Grain-Free Hairball Cat Food
This food helps to break down hairballs with natural fibers, but it doesn’t contain any gluten or other grains that your cat might be sensitive to.
- 5 lb bag
- Packed with real chicken
- No unnatural fillers
This salmon, egg, and sweet potato recipe is great for indoor cats. It helps control hairballs, keeps kitty at her ideal weight, and boosts her immune system.
- 5 lb bag
- Various flavors available
- First ingredient is salmon
This is a 12-pound bag of food that is filled with probiotics and contains the fiber your indoor cat needs to control hairballs and enjoy good digestive health.
- 12 lb bag
- Salmon is first ingredient
- Contains probiotics
Other Dry Hairball Cat Food
This Blue Buffalo formulation is perfect for indoor cats who tend to have trouble with hairballs. It provides optimal nutrient absorption for good health.
- 15 lb bag
- Chicken and brown rice formula
- Contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Is your senior kitty struggling with hairballs? If so, this might be the food for them. Formulated especially for older cats, it will help with heart and urinary health, too.
- 15 lb bag
- Made with natural ingredients
- For healthy heart, kidneys, and bladder
This chicken and brown rice recipe can help keep kitty’s hairballs to a minimum. It’s made with natural, non-GMO ingredients and no fillers.
- 5 lb bag
- Natural fiber blend
- Nothing artificial
Veterinarians recommend Purina ONE for adult cats with hairballs. Natural fibers help them to pass out of the digestive tract.
- 16 lb bag
- Real chicken is #1 ingredient
- Added vitamins and minerals
This is an all-natural cat food with no fillers or artificial ingredients. The fiber helps to reduce hairballs, and protein, vitamins, and minerals keep kitty healthy.
- 6 lb bag
- For adult cats
- Supports skin and coat health
Hairball Control Snacks and Treats
Real chicken liver, salmon oil, and flaxseed combine to create an irresistible flavor as well as hairball-controlling properties to keep kitty comfortable.
- 2.5-ounce bag
- No gluten or soy
- Great for picky eaters
These soft, chewy treats promote healthy digestion and keep fur from accumulating in the stomach. They’re made of real chicken for a cat-appealing flavor.
- 2.5-ounce bag
- Contains flaxseed
- Includes probiotics and prebiotics
If your cat likes tuna, these will be the hairball-management treats that she can’t resist. They contain a blend of fibers to help improve digestion.
- 2.1-ounce bag
- Less than 2 calories per treat
- Dual textured
These delicious (to your cat) chews work well to remove hairballs for kitties with long or short hair. They’re good for kittens, too.
- 3-ounce bag
- For adult cats or kittens
- Chicken flavored
This hairball support treat is flavored with chicken and cheese, so it’s sure to be a favorite. It will help the hair pass harmlessly out of your cat’s system.
- 90 soft chews
- Human grade ingredients
- For adult cats and kittens
These popular treats are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, so they’ll appeal to your cat. This is a three-pack of 4.9-ounce bags.
- Three 4.9 ounce bags
- Tartar control for healthy teeth
- Chicken flavor