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9 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs – 2024 Reviews and Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

british short hair cat eating

Cats are wonderful pets that give you lots of love and entertainment. If you have a cat long enough, however, you are likely to find a gross hairball in your bed, in your shoe, or on the floor. Though many people consider hairballs a necessary evil in cat ownership, it doesn’t have to be that way. Hairballs may be a sign of health concerns, such as skin conditions or digestive issues.

If your cat experiences hairballs frequently, check out these reviews for the best cat foods for hairballs to manage this unpleasant problem.

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 Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Other Bird Subscription Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Other Bird Subscription
  • Appetite enhancing
  • Nourishes skin and coat
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Wellness Natural Hairball Control Dry Cat Food Wellness Natural Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
  • Specially formulated for hairball control and prevention
  • No fillers or byproducts
  • Well-rounded nutrition
  • Third place
    Honest Kitchen Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food Honest Kitchen Chicken Dehydrated Cat Food
  • Minimally processed, whole-food ingredients
  • No fillers, byproducts, or grains
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Wellness CORE Kitten Dry Cat Food Wellness CORE Kitten Dry Cat Food
  • Nutritional support for growth and development
  • Hairball prevention formula
  • No fillers or byproducts
  • Solid Gold Chicken & Coconut Canned Cat Food Solid Gold Chicken & Coconut Canned Cat Food
  • Balanced nutrition
  • High concentration of meat and healthy fats
  • The 9 Best Cat Foods for Hairballs

    1. Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Other Bird Subscription – Best Overall

    smalls human-grade fresh recipes with two tabby cats

    Size Option: 11.5 ox
    Lifestage: All
    Food form: Fresh, wet
    Special Diet: Grain-free

    If your cat suffers from frequent hairballs, we can think of no food better than Smalls Other Ground Bird. It has a high dose of fiber for optimal digestion, helping your cat’s digestive tract every step of the way.

    This is a very fresh, nutritionally friendly feline recipe, using top-notch animal protein sources from turkey and chicken. It’s appetite-enhancing for cats, even the pickiest of them! The protein content is 17.0%, with real meat you can see.

    We were impressed with the overall ingredient content in this recipe and adored the simplicity. It has a powerful blend of greens to provide essential nutrients. This combination of additives nourishes the gut to promote healthy digestion and ease of passage.

    We give the short, but effective fresh ingredients list a big thumbs up! You will notice an improved look in skin and coat in no time. It has tons of omega fatty acids and vitamin E supplements to make fur manageable and skin soft. It also contains taurine for heart health.

    There’s nothing you have to worry about with Smalls. It’s tailored to your cat and delivered right to your door. It’s a little expensive, so it may not be suitable for all budgets. Overall, we don’t think you could ask for more in cat food, but you be the judge.

    Pros
    • Appetite-enhancing flavors
    • Recipes developed by vets
    • Fresh, high-quality food with high moisture content
    • Nourishes skin and coat
    • Promotes healthy digestion
    • Convenient subscription

    Cons
    • It might not fit with all budgets


    2. Wellness Natural Hairball Control Dry Cat Food – Budget Buy

    Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Size Options: 5 pounds
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Dry
    Special Diet: No corn, wheat, or soy

    Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food is a good choice if you have a limited budget. Specially formulated for hairball prevention, this dry cat food has a protein-rich recipe that helps hair to pass through the digestive system smoothly and comfortably. The formula also contains tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support skin and immune health.

    Free from wheat, corn, soy, or fillers, Wellness Natural Hairball Control has plenty of natural, species-appropriate fiber sources to help hair digest easily and prevent hairballs in the future. If you want balanced, high-quality hairball control cat food on a budget, Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food is a great choice.

    Pros
    • Specially formulated for hairball control and prevention
    • No fillers or byproducts
    • Well-rounded nutrition

    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the taste


    3. Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Cat Food

    Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Chicken Cat Food

     

    Size Options: 2 pounds or 4 pounds
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Dehydrated
    Special Diet: No grain, corn, wheat, soy, GMO

    The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food is a great choice for high-protein, human-grade food. Packed with 70% free-range chicken and no grains, wheat, soy, corn, or GMOs, this dehydrated food offers a lot of nutritional benefits. Because Honest Kitchen’s foods have minimally processed and whole food ingredients, your cat can get balanced nutrition without digestive issues.

    While this cat food is a premium brand, it does take a bit more work than dry or canned food. The dehydrated food needs to be mixed with warm water for feeding, which can add some time to your feeding routine. Conversely, dehydrated food is compact and easy to store.

    Pros
    • Minimally processed, whole-food ingredients
    • No fillers, byproducts, or grains
    • Balanced nutrition

    Cons
    • Time-consuming to prepare
    • Some cats don’t like the flavor


    4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Kitten Food

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

    Size Options: 2 pounds or 5 pounds
    Lifestage: Kitten
    Food form: Dry
    Special Diet: No grain, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy

    Though kittens don’t get hairballs as frequently as adults, it can happen. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food is a hairball control cat food choice for kittens. The food uses deboned turkey and whitefish as the primary ingredients, along with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Salmon oil with DHA omega-3 fatty acids aid in healthy development and skin and coat health.

    For hairballs, this Wellness CORE formula includes a proprietary ingredient – ActiCoat. This probiotic coating supports healthy digestion to move hair through the digestive tract smoothly and easily. No fillers or by-products like wheat, soy, or gluten ensure your kitten gets a nutrient-packed food for health and vitality.

    Pros
    • Nutritional support for growth and development
    • Hairball prevention formula
    • No fillers or byproducts

    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it
    • May cause digestive upset


    5. Solid Gold Chicken & Coconut Oil Canned Cat Food

    Solid Gold Tropical Blendz with Chicken & Coconut Oil Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Size Options: 3 ounces or 6 ounces
    Lifestage: All
    Food form: Wet
    Special Diet: No gluten, grain, corn, wheat, soy, or peas

    Solid Gold Tropical Blendz with Chicken & Coconut Oil Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food offers a delicious and healthy option for wet, canned food. Most cats enjoy pate, and this formula includes chicken, wholesome veggies, and coconut oil for well-rounded nutrition. Coconut oil not only contains healthy fats for a healthy skin and coat, but also helps to move stubborn hairs through the digestive tract before hairballs can form.

    This canned food can be fed on its own or as a topper for dry food. Because of its well-rounded nutrition, Solid Gold Tropical Blendz is appropriate for all life stages, including kittens and senior cats. Unlike many canned foods, Solid Gold Tropical Blendz contains no soy, gluten, wheat, corn, carrageenan, meat by-products, or artificial preservatives.

    Pros
    • Balanced nutrition
    • High concentration of meat and healthy fats

    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the taste


    6. Chicken Soup for the Soul Dry Cat Food

    Chicken Soup for the Soul Indoor Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Size Options: 4.5 pounds or 13.5 pounds
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Dry
    Special Diet: No corn, wheat, or soy

    Chicken Soup for the Soul Indoor Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food is another great cat food for hairballs. Formulated for indoor cats, this dry food features powdered cellulose to move hair through the digestive tract and prevent hairballs. This formula has no by-products, wheat, corn, or soy, giving your cat high-quality nutrition.

    Some of the other benefits of this cat food are a high concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, as well as prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion. For immune support, the Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food contains superfoods like spinach and cranberries.

    Pros
    • No fillers or byproducts
    • Ingredients for digestion and skin health

    Cons
    • Some cats experience digestive upset


    7. Blue Buffalo Hairball & Weight Control Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control & Weight Control

    Size Options: 3 pounds or 7 pounds
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Dry
    Special Diet: No corn, wheat, or soy

    If you need a food that offers a few different benefits, Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food is a great choice. Made with real chicken first, this food contains a variety of wholesome grains and nutrient-rich meat and vegetables for balanced nutrition. The high-quality protein, natural fiber, and low-calorie ingredients help maintain your cat’s healthy weight while preventing frequent hairballs.

    The all-natural formula contains no meat by-products, wheat, soy, corn, preservatives, or artificial flavors, which can upset digestion and lead to skin conditions that exacerbate hairball formation. Keep in mind, however, that this food is formulated for weight control, so it may cause some digestive upset initially.

    Pros
    • Weight and hairball control
    • Balanced nutrition
    • No fillers or byproducts

    Cons
    • May cause digestive upset


    8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Hairball Control Cat Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

    Size Options: 3 pounds, 5 pounds, 14 pounds
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Dry
    Special Diet: No corn, wheat, or soy

    Nutro Wellness Essentials Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food offers wholesome, balanced nutrition with special ingredients to control and prevent hairballs. Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient and supports healthy muscles and bones. Natural fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, rather than wheat and corn, to minimize hairballs and pass hairs through the digestive tract easily.

    In addition to protein and fiber, Nutro Wholesome Essentials contains superfoods with antioxidants and healthy omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat. Finally, the ingredients are non-GMO and sourced from a network of trusted suppliers and farmers.

    Pros
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Special fiber for hairball prevention
    • No fillers or byproducts

    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the taste
    • May cause digestive upset


    9. Halo Turkey & Duck Indoor Cat Canned Cat Food

    Halo Turkey & Duck Recipe Pate Grain-Free Indoor Cat Canned Cat Food

    Size Options: 5.5 ounces
    Lifestage: Adult
    Food form: Wet
    Special Diet: No grains or peas

    Halo Indoor Cat Grain-Free Turkey & Duck Recipe Pate can be fed as a whole meal or a food topper to control hairballs and give your cat a treat. The hearty canned food features turkey and duck with non-GMO fruits and veggies for balanced nutrition. Several desirable nutrients are found in the high-quality protein, including L-carnitine and fatty acids for healthy muscles, weight, and skin.

    No rendered meat, meat by-products, artificial ingredients, grains, or peas means your cat can metabolize nutrients more efficiently and reduces the likelihood of hairballs. If you’re feeding this to a kitten, it’ll get the nutrients it needs for healthy growth and development. Cats also enjoy the rich turkey and duck flavors.

    Pros
    • Whole food ingredients
    • Appropriate for all life stages as a meal or topper
    • No fillers or byproducts

    Cons
    • May cause an upset tummy

    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Cat Food for Hairballs

    Many hairball-control cat foods on the market offer hairball-control formulas or ingredients that assist in hairball control and prevention. When you’re shopping for food, here are some factors to consider.

    Fiber Content

    A high-fiber diet helps many cats with hairballs by assisting with digestion. Different foods offer different types of fiber, such as lignins, hemicelluloses, and cellulose to move hair through the digestive tract. Healthy sources of these fibers include chicory, fructooligosaccharides, psyllium, oats, barley, beet pulp, and fruits and vegetables.

    Ideally, you want a dry diet that has a crude fiber percentage of 8-10%. Canned foods should have a fiber content of 2-4%. Crude fiber doesn’t indicate the insoluble fiber content, however, which is what moves digestion, so check ingredients for different types of fiber. Alternatively, you may add psyllium or small portions of canned pumpkin to your cat’s food to increase its fiber intake.

    Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are crucial for healthy skin and smooth, shiny coats. When your cat has good skin and a healthy coat, they require less grooming and are less likely to take in a lot of loose hair.

    No Fillers or Byproducts

    Fillers and byproducts are empty nutrition for your cat and can lead to skin or health problems, exacerbating existing hairball issues. When you’re shopping for foods, look for minimal or whole food ingredients with no soy, corn, wheat, or byproducts to ensure your cat is getting well-balanced nutrition.

    While providing our feline companions with high-quality food is paramount, selecting the right food and water bowl is equally important. The modern yet practical design of our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl combines cat-catered features, like whisker-friendly shallow dishes and slight elevation, with a contemporary style aimed at protecting your floors from messy eating and drinking. The NomNom is entirely dishwasher safe and was thoughtfully created with your cat’s health and well-being in mind. 

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    169 Reviews
    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...

    Other Hairball-Prevention Options

    Along with a healthy diet for hairball management, you can help your cat minimize hairballs in a number of ways:

    • Brush your cat regularly to remove loose hair.
    • Include hairball-control treats, supplements, or gels into your cat’s diet.

    If you’re still struggling with frequent hairballs after switching foods, adding supplements, and grooming your cat, it may be time for a vet visit. Your vet can perform an exam and rule out health conditions like mites, ringworm, infection, or underlying conditions.

     

    Conclusion

    Hairballs are not only unpleasant for your cat and you, but they can also indicate a health problem. Plenty of hairball control cat food is available to help with hairball control and management. The overall best pick for cat food is Smalls Human Grade Fresh Cat Food which packs a lot of nutrition and support for a healthy coat and digestion. For a good budget option, choose Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food, a specially formulated food for hairball management.


    Featured Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

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