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Best remedy products and solutions for hairballs in cats

Ginger cat cleaning itself

Some cats (and people too) simply lose more hair than others.

One of the biggest advantages that cats have over dogs is that they clean and maintain themselves. Just like a double-edged sword, there’s a downside: hairballs.

Although it’s a great advantage that cats obsessively clean their fur daily, a side effect of this godsend is that the hooks on a cat’s tongue can remove a lot of hair, which is then swallowed and can get stuck in the cat’s stomach.

Cats are well adapted to deal with this and are able to digest most fur. However, fur can sometimes start to collect in the cat’s stomach, especially if your cat is shedding a lot of it or has long fur (such as a Persian or Maine Coon cat).

Other cats are also likely to suffer from hairballs, especially if they’re obsessive cleaners, as they will swallow a lot of loose and dead hairs as a result.

Don’t worry if your cat is returning hairballs. It’s natural, and a way in which cats deal with fur which they cannot digest or that blocks their throat.

Occasional vomiting of hairballs does not mean that your cat has any health problems. However, it’s vital to take action to help your cat deal with hairballs in the future. However, if your cat throws up often (or more than she or he used to), loses appetite or becomes lethargic, it would be important to consult your vet to determine if the fur is causing a blockage or if something else is the cause of the problem.

“Occasional” is difficult to define, as some cats such as Maine Coons have much thicker and longer hair than other breeds. On top of this, every cat has a different personality and preferences; some cats of the same breed will be more hygienic and obsessive about the cleanliness of their coat than others.

Below are our top recommended products and remedies for dealing with cat hairballs.

Furminator deshedding tool. Prevent hairballs

Furminator Deshedding Tool

You may have heard the saying “prevention is better than cure”, and this is something that applies to cats and hairballs, too.

As we have mentioned, some cats have thicker and longer fur than others. Therefore, some cats, such as Maine Coons will need a little help in removing some of their coat with a tool such as the Furminator Deshedding Tool.

Furminator’s de-shedding tools come in a variety of sizes, and long or short fur options, for optimal removal of loose hairs. The product benefits from a “fur ejector”, which, with the touch of a button pushes any collected fur out of the comb.

Lastly, the Furminator Deshedding Tool is an “Amazon’s Choice” product and has over 9,000 product reviews!

Furminator Deshedding Tool

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Furminator hairball prevention spray

Furminator Hairball Prevention Waterless Cat Spray

Complementary of the above tool, here’s another Furminator product. The spray is designed to be used with a comb, or even better, the Furminator Deshedding Tool.

Furminator’s hairball prevention waterless cat spray is made from natural ingredients that make it easier for hair to stick to the Furminator deshedding tool. That way, you’ll be grooming your cat more effectively by removing as much loose and dead hair as possible.

If you’re anything like us, your first thought will be the fact that your kitty won’t like being sprayed… even if it’s for their own good. However, if you get them used to the spray through rewards such as treats, then this will mean that you can spend less time combing them with the deshedding comb tool.

Furminator Hairball Prevention Waterless Cat Spray

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Catit Senses 2.0 Grass Planter

Catit Senses 2.0 Grass Planter

Cats are meat eaters (obligate carnivores). However, no cat would be a real cat if they didn’t eat grass or attempt to eat one of your houseplants!

Fortunately, their obsession with nibbling on a few blades of grass is not completely useless. In fact, it’s exactly what helps them clear their digestive system, as the grass pulls down and helps the cat digest any hairs that might cause hairballs. It’s what keeps the system working smoothly and stops the hair being thrown up onto your carpet.

By providing them to their own patch of grass, you’ll ensure that they always have access to this vital plant. This is vital in preventing hairballs, as, for example, cats may stay indoors when it’s raining and spend their time grooming themselves more than usual. During this time, hairs will be collecting in their stomach. However, they won’t be going outside and eating grass. Therefore, it’s vital that they have a source of grass in the house to help prevent hairballs from forming.

Keep in mind that this is just the planter, so be sure to also grab the Catit Cat Grass Kit for the Catit Senses Grass Planter kit.

Catit Senses 2.0 Grass Planter

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

If additional grooming and extra grass do not help your cat deal with his or her hairball problem, then a change of diet is worth considering.

According to PetMD:

More recently, many veterinarians (and cat owners) have come to believe that a grain-free diet may be more appropriate for cats that vomit frequently.

Extract from ‘Hairballs and Cats‘, by PetMD

However, there are also different types of food specifically created to help your cat cope with hairballs by moving hair through the digestive system.

In this case, Wellness achieves this through fiber, which helps push down hairs without stuffing your cat on fillers such as wheat and corn.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats

Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats

If you would prefer not to change your cat’s entire diet to fix the hairball problem, you could try treats and/or supplements. Greenies, who are well known for their dental and pill treats, have a range of hairball control treats, too!

The Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats, in particular, combine plant fiber and the traditional Petrolatum hairball prevention agent to minimize the formation of hairballs.

Please note: This product (Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats) and the one below (Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats) may contain Petrolatum. Some think that Petrolatum is harmless, while others believe otherwise. You may wish to consult a vet before using either of these products. However, long-term users of both products haven reported positive hairball reduction and no health problems of Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats and Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats.

Smartbite Hairball Control Tuna Cat Treats

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats

Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats

Tomlyn’s Laxatone product is a lubricant, which helps things moving inside your cat’s digestive system to keep hairballs to a minimum, with the benefit of cats thinking that it’s a tuna-tasting treat!

The gel is a blend of Petrolatum, soybean oil, and mineral oil and is directed to be used in small quantities. Tomlyn further claims that “Soybean Oil supports your cat’s healthy skin and coat to reduce shedding with a rich blend of Omega-3, -6, and -9 Fatty Acids“.

The product has been around for decades and has great reviews on Amazon for hairball prevention. However, as mentioned above, it does contain Petrolatum. Therefore, we recommend that you consult with your vet if you have any concerns.

Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Gel for Cats

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Cat toys next to a cat bowl

Cat toys help with hairball problems

Although cat toys aren’t a direct solution to hairball problems, WebMD’s article about hairballs suggests that cats which groom excessively could be encouraged to spend their time playing with fun new toys.

Although this may take some training, it would not only mean that your cat is enjoying a fun new activity and getting some exercise. The bonus here is that they are not grooming and creating more hairballs!

Worried that your cat is lonely? Read our post about what to do to make your cat less lonely.

Interactive cat toys

See latest and popular cat toys on Amazon

PetNC Natural Hairball Soft Chews for Cats

Not convinced by the petroleum-based treats? PetNC’s soft chews for hairballs are based on mineral oil, which works as a gentle natural lubricant to support digestion.

Moreover, the treats are formulated by vets and the mineral oil in them not only helps reduce hairball build-up but also supports healthy skin and fur growth.

PetNC Natural Care makes these hairball treats in the USA using human-grade ingredients. The product shown here is chicken and cheese flavored, making it a great treat, as well!

PetNC Natural Hairball Soft Chews for Cats

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Sentry Pet Care Malt Flavored Hairball Relief

Sentry Pet Care Malt Flavored Hairball Relief

Another lubricant, the Sentry Hairball Relief gel helps hair move through the digestive system in an effort to reduce the formation of hairballs.

Sentry advertises that the malt-flavored product relives constipation, dry cough and occasional vomiting associated with hairballs.

Although it’s based on mineral oil, it also relies heavily on petrolatum as an active ingredient. However, as with previous hairball remedies containing petrolatum, this one also comes with great Amazon reviews from long-term users.

Sentry Pet Care Malt Flavored Hairball Relief

View photos, full description and pricing on Amazon

Why does my cat shed so much fur?

Some cats (and people too) simply lose more hair than others. However, if your cat is suddenly shedding a lot of fur, it’s a good idea to speak to, or take your cat to a veterinarian for a health checkup.

If the excess shedding seems to be a recent change or something new, I highly encourage you to look for other underlying causes for increased hair loss.

Several endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism) and other metabolic disorders can cause a cat to start shedding more. Also, this could be the first sign of allergic skin disease.

Most cats with allergies eventually begin itching as well, however, hair loss is most common in the early stages. If you’ve changed foods recently, beddings or anything else in your environment, you might want to revert back and see if that helps. If all else fails, brush, brush and brush.

How does hairball medicine for cats work?

Is a food formulated to help prevent hairballs better? If it is petroleum based, does the hairball medicine work its way through the hairball and break or dissolve it? Or does it just help it pass? Does olive oil work? Why do people suggest butter?

Feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett, author of Think Like a Cat, says:

Hairball formula food contains higher amounts of fiber that help push the intestinal contents through the system smoothly. This food also contains specific enzymes that help prevent hairballs from forming in the stomach in the first place.

Hairball gel or paste contains mineral oil or petroleum jelly because that is not absorbed in the system and therefore helps lubricate so the hairball will pass easily. It should not be given with food therefore, so it won’t interfere with normal nutrition.

Butter is not a good idea because that is absorbed and will add to the cat’s fat and caloric intake. Vegetable oils are also not a good idea. Polyunsaturated fats gets absorbed although they are not used by the cat and so it again adds to the caloric intake.

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About the author

Kacper Jednorowicz

Hi, I'm Kacper! I have a four-year-old female Bengal cat, called Coco. She's an active and friendly indoor cat that lives with us in the UK, but also enjoys several hours a day in the garden. Just like any responsible and loving cat owner, I want to ensure that she's a happy and healthy cat! My articles cover guides and reviews based on professional vet advice, our own experiences with Coco and plenty of research!

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