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 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.
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.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription||Click to Save 40%|
|Best Value||IAMS Proactive Dry||CHECK PRICE|
|Royal Canin Feline Dry||CHECK PRICE|
|Purina ONE Dry||CHECK PRICE|
|Hill's Science Diet Dry||CHECK PRICE|
The 10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription– Best Overall
Any cat can benefit from the carefully crafted recipes Smalls Cat Food has to offer, especially if your feline friend suffers from hairballs. Smalls’ recipes are crafted to meet the nutritional needs of your feline, making Smalls Cat Food our 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 options.
No matter what flavor you choose, you can rest assured you will be feeding your pet the healthiest ingredients designed for their well-being. Smalls avoids fillers, artificial flavors, and high cooking temperatures (which is 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 offers an excellent variety of the highest quality foods to satisfy your frisky feline..
2. IAMS Proactive Dry Hairball Cat Food – Best Value
If you have a hairball hacking tabby on a budget, we have found just the thing 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. This is a formula that is designed to not only help your pet pass hairballs, but to 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 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 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 Dry Hairball Cat Food
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 primary 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.
All in all, this is our third pick for the best hairball cat food available this year.
4. Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food
The Purina 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 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 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. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Hairball Cat Food
Another good choice is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food. This is a chicken-flavored recipe available in 3-, 5-, or 7-pound bags. This formula contains natural sources of fiber which will allow the hairballs to be passed through your cat’s digestive system. In addition, the formulated low levels of magnesium support your cat’s urinary tract.
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. 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. The formula is enriched with vitamins and minerals cats need to be healthy.
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.
6. 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 passing hairballs. Not only that, but this cat food is enriched with taurine and vitamin B-complex, and has optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus.
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.
7. 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 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, but it does contain pea protein and alfalfa meal. 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.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Hairball Cat Food
If your tabby prefers a wet meal, the Hill’s 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.
9. 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 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.
10. AvoDerm Hairball Control Formula Cat Food
In the number nine spot, we have the AvoDerm 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.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food for 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.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
We hope you have enjoyed the above reviews and they’ve 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. 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 Proactive Hairball Control Dry Cat Food that is also effective at curbing the worst of the situation.
- 8 Types of Cat Food: Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & Advice
- 9 Best Hairball Remedies for Cats – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured Image Credit: P Stock, Shutterstock
- 1 A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2023
- 2 The 10 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs
- 2.1 1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription– Best Overall
- 2.2 2. IAMS Proactive Dry Hairball Cat Food – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Royal Canin Feline Dry Hairball Cat Food
- 2.4 4. Purina ONE Hairball Formula Cat Food
- 2.5 5. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Hairball Cat Food
- 2.6 6. Meow Mix Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
- 2.7 7. Blue Buffalo Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
- 2.8 8. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Hairball Cat Food
- 2.9 9. Nutro Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
- 2.10 10. AvoDerm Hairball Control Formula Cat Food
- 4 Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food for Hairballs
- 6 Conclusion