Maintaining a cat’s overall health and well-being can be challenging, especially when they are prone to hairballs. Hairballs are common in cats, but their frequency and severity can be reduced with the right nutrition. Explore the best cat food options for managing hairballs, from healthy cat food to RawMix.
What Causes Hairballs in Cats?
Cats are fastidious groomers who use their tongues to clean themselves. The tiny, hook-like structures on their tongues catch loose and dead fur, which is then swallowed. Most of this hair passes through the digestive system without issue and is eventually excreted. However, some hair can accumulate in the stomach and form a hairball.
When the accumulated hair becomes too much for the stomach to handle, the cat may vomit it up. This is generally how hairballs are expelled. While occasional hairballs are usually not a cause for concern, frequent hairballs can be a symptom of underlying issues such as:
Excessive grooming: Stress, allergies or skin conditions could cause a cat to groom more than usual, leading to more hair being swallowed.
Dietary factors: A diet lacking in fiber may make it more difficult for the hair to move through the digestive system.
Gastrointestinal issues: Problems with the digestive system may make it difficult for the hair to pass through, leading to accumulation.
Shedding: Cats that shed a lot due to the season or a health issue are more likely to develop hairballs.
Long fur: Long-haired breeds like Persians and Maine Coons are more prone to hairballs than short-haired cats.
Age: Younger cats are less prone to hairballs than older cats, who may groom more often and swallow more hair.
If hairballs are a frequent issue, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Persistent vomiting, gagging, retching or signs of constipation could indicate a more serious underlying problem, such as intestinal blockage and may require immediate medical attention.
Wet Cat Food: Hydration and Nutrition Combined
Wet cat food is known for its high moisture content, which aids in hydration and may be beneficial for reducing hairballs. The additional hydration and dietary fiber help move the ingested hair through the digestive tract, preventing the formation of hairballs.
Support your feline’s digestive health with Open Farm’s Wild-Caught Salmon Rustic Blend, a gourmet wet cat food that may help combat hairballs. Made with Ocean Wise® approved wild-caught salmon from the North Pacific, it’s a high-quality source of DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for maintaining a healthy coat. A healthy coat is less likely to shed excessively, reducing the amount of hair ingested during grooming.
Pumpkin adds essential fiber for digestive health, while carrots and spinach offer vitamins and antioxidants to minimize inflammation and coconut oil enhances metabolic function. Fiber is crucial for managing hairballs as it helps move the hair through the digestive system and supports regular bowel movements. Perfect as a meal or topper, it’s crafted from 100% human-grade, traceable ingredients—free from artificial preservatives and flavors.
RawMix Cat Food: A Natural Approach
Adding Freeze Dried Raw into cat's diet has gained popularity among cat owners for its natural approach to feline nutrition. This type of food is minimally processed, preserving the nutrients cats need to maintain a healthy digestive system. The high protein and natural fiber content in RawMix cat food may help reduce hairball issues.
Prairie Grain Free RawMix for Cats is a premium mix with high-protein kibble coated in nutrient-rich chicken bone broth and freeze dried raw chunks of 100% Animal Welfare Certified chicken and turkey. The blend is rich in healthy fats and proteins, including organ meats like chicken liver and turkey gizzards. These elements support digestive health, making it easier for your cat to digest and pass hairballs.
Open Farm RawMix also contains prebiotics and digestive enzymes like organic apple cider vinegar. These components support a healthy digestive system, aiding in food breakdown and potentially easing hair passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
While RawMix cat food can be an excellent option for managing hairballs, introduce it gradually and monitor your cat’s reaction. Not all cats may adapt to a freeze dried raw diet, so consulting with a veterinarian before making dietary changes is advisable.
Kitten Food: Addressing Hairballs Early On
Although smaller and less prone to hairball problems, kittens can benefit from a diet that addresses hairball formation from a young age. Establishing healthy eating habits with the right kitten food lays the foundation for a life with fewer hairball troubles.
Kitten food is formulated with a high nutrient content to support the rapid growth and development in the early stages of a cat’s life. It typically contains more protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals than adult cat food. These nutrients contribute to overall growth and support the development of a healthy coat and skin, which can reduce excessive shedding and the ingestion of hair.
Alongside a balanced diet, regular grooming from a young age can help manage hairballs. Grooming helps remove loose hairs before your kitten can ingest them during self-cleaning, reducing the risk of hairball formation. Establishing a grooming routine early on can also help your kitten acclimate to being brushed, making it a less stressful experience as they grow.
Healthy Cat Food: The Core of Hairball Management
Managing hairballs in cats is essential for their comfort and health. A balanced diet, rich in fibers, proteins and essential fatty acids, supports the digestive system and helps pass ingested hair through the digestive tract. High-quality ingredients and natural formulas contribute to overall health and well-being, reducing the likelihood of hairball formation.
Every cat is unique and their dietary needs can vary. Consulting a veterinarian and considering age, weight and health conditions will help you choose the most appropriate healthy cat food. Tailoring your cat’s diet to their needs can help minimize hairball problems.
Explore the full selection of wet, dry, raw and freeze dried cat foods available at Open Farm to help support your cat’s health.
This article is meant only as an example meal with fully balanced nutrition, please reach out to our customer experience team if you have any questions about your pet’s own unique circumstances! To ensure these products are a good fit for your pup, we also recommend consulting your pup’s vet about any new supplement or diet changes, especially if there is a medical concern. They should be able to help as you and your vet know your pup’s medical history best!