Hairball control cat food is a specially designed formula that helps eliminate hairballs in cats. As cats spend much of their time grooming themselves, much of the debris and loose hair in their fur is naturally swallowed. Their digestive tract is built to handle the digestion of fur, and to expel it with the waste. Some cats with robust digestive systems may never experience a hairball, though most cats will have at least one in their life. Species with longer hair, older cats and those with weakened digestive systems may experience hairballs more often, and sometimes will require a special diet to help control this.
If a cat has more than one hairball per month, it may have a hairball problem that can be addressed through hairball control cat food.
Hairball Control Food vs. Regular Food
Many brands have begun marketing a special food under “hairball control” and there are many questions as to the difference between this and regular food. In most instances, what makes a food “hairball control” is simply an increased supply of vegetable fiber, which helps the stomach digest its contents and move waste through the intestines more efficiently. Where the average fiber content of regular cat food hovers between one to two percent, hairball control cat food may have as much as eight percent fiber.
Sometimes, further ingredients are added such as taurine, which aids the heart and eyes. Hairball control cat food is often low in fat. This helps lessen the insoluble substances in the stomach and intestines that may lead to indigestion or constipation.
The Effect of Added Fiber
Some experts question whether adding extra fiber to a cat’s diet is healthy. Cats with a higher fiber diet are often at risk for cystitis, or a urinary bladder inflammation. This is due to the higher concentration of urine necessary to properly process and expel the extra fiber. Likewise, the process uses more fluids and cats on a high fiber diet are at greater risk for dehydration, which can lead to further problems.
Other Methods to Control Hair Balls
Hairball control cat food can be expensive, and for some cats it is the only way to reduce or eliminate the problem. However, cat owners can take a couple extra steps to help lessen the amount of hairballs a cat may be coughing up. One method is brushing frequently (sometimes daily if possible). You eliminate loose hair and debris that your cat will otherwise swallow. Many cat owners have also noticed that cats that like to eat grass more often have stomach upsets and hairballs. By keeping your cat away from this you may also help lessen the problem.
Despite some concerns, hairball control cat food has developed a reputation for effectiveness, and is quickly becoming a popular method to eliminate hairballs, rather than the traditional remedies available. As most cats will not have a hairball problem, some with weaker digestive systems may require additional support, and this special type of cat food may greatly reduce, or eliminate, hairballs.