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10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs (2024) – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

grey-british-cat-sitting-near-food-bowl

10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs (2024) – Reviews & Top Picks

grey-british-cat-sitting-near-food-bowl You may have heard a bizarre hacking cough that floats through the house in the middle of the night and is typically followed by a nasty surprise in the morning. The hairball clean-up is never pleasant, regardless of the time of day. Unfortunately, it’s not just the mess that you have to be concerned about, either.

Hairballs can cause serious health consequences for your cat. 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 cat foods can curb the worst of the hairball issues, and we have found the best formulas! Below are reviews of each brand and essential details like the ingredients, nutrients, flavor, effectiveness, and much more.

As a bonus, we also have some at-home remedies for cleaning up hairballs. Check it out in the buyer’s guide below.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription
  • Filled with hearty protein and green veggies
  • Terrific for kittens and seniors alike
  • Moisture-rich to keep your cat hydrated
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    IAMS Proactive Dry IAMS Proactive Dry
  • 10% less fat
  • Weight control
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Third place
    Royal Canin Feline Dry Royal Canin Feline Dry
  • Good source of protein
  • AAFCO guided nutrition
  • Easy to digest
  • Purina ONE Dry Purina ONE Dry
  • All-natural formula
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Effective at reducing hairballs
  • Hill's Science Diet Dry Hill's Science Diet Dry
  • Effective at reducing hairballs
  • No chicken by-products
  • Easy to digest
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs

    1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription– Best Overall

    Smalls Fresh Cat Food

    Every feline can benefit from the carefully crafted recipes Smalls Cat Food has to offer, especially if they suffer from hairballs. Smalls’ recipes are crafted to meet the nutritional needs of your feline, which makes it the best cat food pick for hairball control and overall health.

    If you want to help control hairballs, you need to feed your cat meals containing real meat with higher fiber content. Smalls accomplishes this with nutritious, slowly-cooked recipes. You can choose paté or ground-textured food for each flavor, ranging from chicken, turkey, beef, and fish.

    No matter which flavor you choose, you can rest assured you will feed your pet the healthiest ingredients designed for their well-being. Smalls avoid fillers, artificial flavors, and high cooking temperatures (the main cause of cat food losing moisture). High protein and high moisture recipes are ideal when your cat struggles with hairballs.

    Smalls Fresh Bird Recipe, for example, uses chicken as its primary ingredient protein source. It contains 92% chicken thighs and breasts, 6% chicken livers, and 2% chicken hearts. Smalls produces an excellent variety of the highest-quality foods to satisfy your frisky feline.

    Pros
    • Filled with hearty protein and green veggies
    • Terrific for kittens and seniors alike
    • High-quality ingredients
    • Moisture-rich to keep your cat hydrated
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. IAMS Proactive Dry Hairball Cat Food – Budget Buy

    IAMS Proactive Dry Hairball Cat Food

    If you have a hairball-hacking cat and are on a tight budget, we have found just the brand for you. The IAMS Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is available in 3½-, 7-, 16-, or 22-pound bags and comes in a chicken and turkey flavor. The formula is designed to not only help your pet pass hairballs but also to 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 a great meal for felines that live indoors. It’s easy to digest, has 10% less fat than other recipes, and uses real chicken as their first ingredient and source of healthy protein.

    Moreover, IAMs contain 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 is that it is not all-natural, and it contains chicken by-product meals. Other than that, it’s easy to digest and the best cat food for hairballs for the money.

    Pros
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Effective at fighting hairballs
    • Weight control
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Easy to digest
    • 10% less fat
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meals

    3. Royal Canin Feline Dry Hairball Cat Food

    Royal Canin Feline Dry Hairball Cat Food

    If your cat has a serious hairball issue and you can spend a little more money, the Royal Canin Feline Hairball Dry Cat Food is a good option. Royal Canin is known for its dietary formulas that target specific issues. It’s made with chicken meal as the primary source of protein, and it uses a blend of fibers, including psyllium seed husk, to help move the hairballs through your pet’s GI tract.

    The formula contains 32% protein, and it is formulated to meet AAFCO’s guidelines for nutrition. It’s easy to digest and great for indoor animals. You can buy Royal Canin in 3, 6, or 14-pound bags. Also, the meal is formulated with additional vitamins and nutrients to keep your cat healthy.

    As mentioned, it’s more expensive than your average cat food.

    Pros
    • Targets hairballs
    • Added vitamins and nutrients
    • Good source of protein
    • Easy to digest
    • AAFCO guided nutrition
    Cons
    • More expensive
    • Not all-natural

    4. Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food

    Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food

    The Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food is a dry formula you can pick up in 3½-, 7-, 16-, or 22-pound bags. It comes in a tasty chicken formula with no artificial flavors or preservatives. It is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and supplement antioxidants, such as vitamins E and A, to promote healthy skin, fur, digestive, and immune systems.

    The Purina ONE cat food is made with natural fiber to keep hairballs at bay. The all-natural formula is crafted in the USA and uses real meat as its first ingredient. Unfortunately, the food has some unsavory ingredients, such as chicken by-product meals and corn gluten meal, that help boost the protein level. Also, remember that the dry formula can be harder to digest for some felines. Other than that, Purina ONE is an effective way of keeping hairballs to a minimum.

    Pros
    • No artificial preservatives or flavors
    • All-natural formula
    • Effective at reducing hairballs
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal and corn gluten meal
    • Harder to digest

    5. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Hairball Cat Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Dry Hairball Cat Food

    Another good choice is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food. This chicken-flavored recipe is available in 3-, 5-, or 7-pound bags. It contains natural sources of fiber, which will allow the hairballs to be passed through your cat’s digestive system. In addition, the low levels of magnesium support your cat’s urinary tract.

    Meanwhile, Hill’s contains natural sources of fiber to help with hairballs. Your pet will receive significant levels of protein and other vitamins and minerals. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and doesn’t contain chicken by-products, artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

    It also uses real meat as the first ingredient. Hill’s Science Diet is made in the USA and responsibly sourced throughout the world. The meal is easy to digest and contains healthy nutrients like omegas, antioxidants, and vitamins 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.

    Pros
    • All-natural
    • Effective at reducing hairballs
    • No artificial ingredients
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • No chicken by-products
    • Easy to digest
    Cons
    • None we can see

    6. Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

    Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

    Up next is the Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food. This tasty meal includes 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 them pass hairballs. Not only that but it’s enriched with taurine and vitamin B-complex and has optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus.

    However, it’s not an all-natural formula. 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 Meow Mix in a 6.3-pound bag or a four-pack of 3.15-pound bags.  It is also suitable for all breeds, sizes, and ages of cats.

    Pros
    • Effective at reducing hairballs
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Good protein level
    • Easy to digest
    Cons
    • Not all natural
    • Contains artificial colors
    • Contains by-product meals

    7. Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Dry Cat Food Tastefuls

    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 Hairball Control Dry Cat Food is a good choice. This formula has healthy protein levels to keep your 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, but it contains pea protein and alfalfa meal. Blue Buffalo uses real meat as the first ingredient and other wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also has no 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. For some cats, it’s difficult to digest.

    Pros
    • Effective at reducing hairballs
    • All-natural formula
    • LifeSource Bits
    • No artificial preservatives or flavors
    Cons
    • Hard to digest
    • Kibble is hard
    • Contains protein fillers
    • Not as effective at weight control

    8. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Hairball Cat Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Wet Hairball Cat Food

    If your cat prefers a wet meal, Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food may be the right choice. This formula is available in 2.9-ounce cans (12 or 24 packs) or 5.5-ounce cans (24 packs). The chicken recipe is designed to help with 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 is 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.

    Hill’s Science Diet is made in the USA and has natural fiber to promote healthy digestion, thus reducing hairballs. However, it is not the best option for overweight cats or those suffering from stomach sensitivities.

    Pros
    • Reduces hairballs
    • Promotes urinary tract control
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Natural ingredients
    Cons
    • Contains by-products
    • Contains soy
    • Harder to digest
    • Not recommended for overweight pets
    • Lower protein

    9. Nutro Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

    Nutro Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

    The Nutro Hairball Control Dry Cat Food comes in a chicken and brown rice formula that is made with all-natural ingredients. It has other essential nutrients like omega-6, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also a non-GMO formula without any corn, wheat, soy protein, by-products meals, or artificial ingredients.

    Unfortunately, though it is a soy-protein-free food, it does have soy oil, so any cats with sensitivities should take caution. Nutro also contains pea protein and alfalfa meal, which can boost the protein levels.

    Nutro is produced in the USA, and it 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.

    Pros
    • All-natural formula
    • Added vitamins and minerals
    • Reduces hairballs
    Cons
    • Some cats dislike the flavor
    • Contains soy products
    • Contains protein-boosting ingredients
    • Higher in fat

    10. AvoDerm Hairball Control Formula Cat Food

    AvoDerm Hairball Control Formula Cat Food

    In the number nine spot, we have the AvoDerm hairball Control Formula Cat Food. It’s designed to control not only hairballs but weight, as well. It comes in a chicken recipe that is unfortunately not tasty to many felines. You can find it on shelves or websites in a 3½-, 6-, or 11-pound bag. Right off the bat, we want to share that AvoDerm is not as effective at controlling hairballs as our other choices. It is also not recommended for weight loss.

    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 avocadoes and whether they’re safe, AvoDerm only uses a small amount. Unfortunately, the formula is also high in salt, and 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 has nutrients such as antioxidants and omegas, it’s high in fat and packed into hard-to-chew kibble bits. AvoDerm is made in the USA and is an indoor-cat-only formula.

    Pros
    • All-natural formula
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Not effective at hairballs
    • High in fat
    • Contains a lot of salt
    • Hard to digest and chew
    • Indoor cat formula
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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food for Hairballs

    Tips for Reducing Hairballs

    Hairballs are not only unpleasant, but they can lead to serious health concerns. Although feeding them a fiber-rich formula will help your feline digest their meals, you can use other techniques to reduce hairballs.

    • Grooming: One of the best ways to reduce hairballs is by grooming your cat daily. Doing so will eliminate excess fur they will not ingest themselves.
    • Oil and Butter: Giving your cat a small portion of oil or butter will help lubricate their digestive passage, making it easier for them to pass any hairballs that may already be present.
    • Water: Another vital aspect of hairball control is ensuring your pet has plenty of water to help wash the excess fur away.
    • Extras: Besides food, you can also find supplements, treats, and gels that will also promote hairball control.
    • Catnip: Fiber is an essential ingredient in your cat’s diet, especially when hairballs are involved. Something else you can give your feline that has a lot of fiber is catnip. Not only is it a fun treat for them, but it will help with digestion.

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    Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.

    At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

     

     


    Conclusion

    We hope you have enjoyed our reviews and that they have helped you find the best hairball control cat food for your cat. 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 Smalls Cat Food. It is a nutritious meal that will help control the issue, and it contains essential vitamins. If you need a more affordable option, go with the IAMS Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food, which is also effective in reducing hairballs.

    Related Reads:


    Featured Image Credit: P Stock, Shutterstock

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