The 4 best hairball remedies for cats in 2021

  • Hairballs are inevitable for cats, but there are plenty of great hairball remedies, medicines, and prevention tools out there.
  • Our top pick is Tomlyn Laxatone Hairball Remedy for Cats, which gently lubricates your cat’s digestive tract to relieve hairball-related constipation and to prevent the formation of hairballs in the future.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

In the process of grooming, cats ingest a significant amount of their own fur, which can complicate their digestion. Hair cannot be broken down by the digestive process, and it doesn’t pass easily through a cat’s gastrointestinal tract so, while some of the swallowed hair is expelled in the stool, the rest of it forms a dense hairball that the cat vomits up.

It is completely normal for a cat to have occasional hairballs. If they occur frequently, however, it could cause a dangerous blockage in the digestive tract. Brushing a cat daily to keep them from overgrooming themselves will help reduce hairballs. If these things aren’t enough, however, you might need to consider an alternative remedy.

Remedies for hairballs come in a variety of different forms from high-fiber foods to gels and pastes. Because there are so many options out there, it can be difficult to make a choice. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the work in researching the different hairball remedies to bring you our top picks, including supplements, lubricant gels, and treats.

Here are the best hairball remedies you can buy for your cat:

  • Best hairball medicine overall: Tomlyn Laxatone Hairball Remedy for Cats
  • Best hairball relief supplements: Vet’s Best Hairball Relief Digestive Aid
  • Best gel hairball medicine: Nutri-Vet Hairball Paw Gel
  • Best hairball prevention treats: Feline Greenies Hairball Control Smart Bites

Updated on 02/16/2021 by Lisa Sabatini: We added more buying options and links to related guides. 

The best hairball medicine overall

Tomlyn Laxatone Hairball Remedy for Cats provides quick relief from hairball-related constipation and supports your cat’s digestive tract to prevent hairballs in the future.

Pros: Made with mineral and vegetable oils to lubricate your cat’s digestive tract, helps your cat safely pass hairballs instead of vomiting them up, comes in a variety of cat-approved flavors, gel formula is easy to administer, comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Cons: Some cats don’t enjoy the flavor, consistency is a little thinner than some gel lubricants, contains petroleum-based ingredients (except the natural chicken flavor)

If your cat vomits up hairballs frequently or suffers from constipation related to hairballs, you need to act quickly to resolve the problem. One of the most effective solutions for hairballs and related constipation is a stimulant laxative called laxatone. Though some versions of the drug require a veterinarian’s prescription, there are also a number of over-the-counter (OTC) options. Our top choice for OTC laxatone hairball control laxatives is Tomlyn Laxatone Hairball Remedy for Cats.

Tomlyn Laxatone Gel has been trusted by pet owners for more than 35 years to safely and gently relieve hairballs in cats. This product is made with both mineral and vegetable oils in a palatable tuna-flavored gel that will lubricate your cat’s digestive tract, helping him to safely pass hairballs instead of coughing them up onto your floor. In addition to the tuna flavor, this product also comes in maple, chicken, and catnip flavors.

Insider Picks’ guide editor Malarie Gokey used it on her cat once with great success. Her cat licked it up off a spoon and went back to normal shortly thereafter.

The best hairball relief supplements

Support your cat’s digestion and prevent hairballs with Vet’s Best Hairball Relief Digestive Aid supplements, which are made from natural ingredients.

Pros: Provides a safe and natural way to prevent hairballs, free from petroleum-based ingredients, lubricates hairballs so they can pass through the digestive system, chicken-flavored for palatability, recommended by veterinarians and the National Animal Supplement Council, each bottle contains a one- to two-month supply

Cons: Tablet may need to be broken into pieces for consumption, some cats may not like the flavor, not for use in kittens younger than 12 weeks old

They say that prevention is the best medicine and that is certainly true when it comes to hairballs. In addition to feeding your cat a healthy and highly digestible diet, you might also consider a supplement to promote healthy digestion for hairball prevention. Our top pick for hairball prevention in cats is Vet’s Best Hairball Relief Digestive Aid supplements.

Made from all-natural ingredients like slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, papaya, and psyllium seed, Vet’s Best Hairball Relief Digestive Aid supplements support your cat’s digestive system and lubricate hairballs so they can pass harmlessly through his digestive tract. This formula is free from petroleum-based ingredients and features a delicious chicken flavor. Each bottle contains 60 tablets to provide a full 30 days of hairball prevention for your cat.

The chewable supplements are easy to administer and chicken-flavored to entice finicky cats. Simply break the tab into pieces and feed twice daily for the best results.

The best gel hairball medicine

Not only is this Nutri-Vet Hairball Paw Gel free from petroleum-based ingredients, but it contains natural ingredients that lubricate your cat’s digestive tract, support healthy skin and coat, and minimize shedding.

Pros: Free from petroleum-based ingredients, rich in natural oils for healthy skin and coat, gentle lubricants help hairballs to pass safely through the digestive tract, available in chicken and salmon flavor, thick gel is easy to administer

Cons: Some cats may not like the flavor, thick gel may slide off the paw

Useful both for the prevention and treatment of hairballs in cats, lubricant gels work by coating swallowed hair, allowing it to pass through the cat’s digestive system and out in the stool. These gels may also lubricate the colon itself to prevent water from being reabsorbed from the stool, keeping stools soft and the entire digestive system hydrated. Many hairball lubricants are made with petrolatum, but some cat owners prefer to avoid refined petroleum products. If you are looking for a petroleum-free hairball lubricant gel, our top pick is Nutri-Vet Hairball Paw Gel.

Nutri-Vet Hairball Paw Gel is 100% petroleum-free, made with natural oils and lubricants to aid in the elimination and prevention of hairballs in adult cats and kittens. This formula also contains nutritional supplements to support healthy skin and coat while minimizing shedding. The gel is available in both chicken and salmon flavors that many cats find delicious, and is easy to administer. Simply squeeze a little gel directly onto your cat’s paw for your cat to lick off as a tasty treat or serve on top of his kibble or canned food.

The best hairball prevention treats

Loaded with chicken-based protein and plant-based fibers, these Feline Greenies Hairball Control Smart Bites work to minimize hairball formation and aid digestion while also giving your cat a boost of healthy nutrition.

Pros: Designed by a licensed veterinarian to prevent hairballs; made with plant-based fibers to minimize hairball formation and aid digestion; contains 29% crude protein, 19% crude fat, and 6.5% crude fiber; made with protein-rich chicken; available in chicken and tuna flavor; crunchy outer texture with soft center is appealing to many cats

Cons: Contains petroleum-based ingredients, some cats don’t like the flavor, some cats may not like the hard texture

Some cats turn up their noses at hairball control gels or they won’t take supplements. If your cat is particularly finicky, or if you’re looking for a product to give him an extra boost of hairball protection, hairball control treats might be the way to go. Designed by a licensed veterinarian for hairball prevention, Feline Greenies Hairball Control Smart Bites are our top choice for hairball control treats.

In addition to minimizing hairball formation, these dual-textured treats also provide your cat with healthy nutrients to support overall health and wellness. Feline Greenies Hairball Control Smart Bites are made with a unique combination of plant-based fibers to minimize hairball formation and aid digestion. The treats also contain 25 milligrams of petrolatum per serving to help lubricate the digestive tract, allowing ingested hair to pass gently through without causing a dangerous obstruction. Available in both chicken and tuna flavor and packed with protein, each treat is less than 2 calories.

Insider Picks’ guides editor Malarie Gokey gives these treats to her cat regularly, because they help prevent hairball formation and her cat loves to chase them around the house.

Check out our other buying guides for cats

  • The best products to protect your furniture from cat scratching
  • The 6 best cat litter boxes
  • The best cat litter
  • The best natural cat litter
  • The best cat carriers
  • The best cat brushes
  • 19 things to make your new cat feel at home
  • The best dental products for cats
  • The best hairball medicine for your cat
  • The best cat scratching posts
  • The best cat toys
  • The best cat beds
  • The best cat fountains
  • The best cat food
  • The best cat collars
  • The best cat treats
  • The best cat litter scoops

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