How Do Hairballs Form?
Most cats spend a considerable amount of time grooming their coats. As they do so, their hair is swallowed and may build up over time in their stomach. If the hairball doesn’t pass from the stomach, the cat will attempt to eliminate it by coughing or gagging.
Many cats have a hairball at some point in their life, but some cats, such as long-haired cats and cats that groom excessively, are especially prone to hairballs. In hairball-prone cats, frequent brushing can help reduce the amount of hair that is ingested, thereby reducing the risk of hairball formation. Feeding a special diet designed to decrease the likelihood of developing a hairball may also help.
How Can What a Cat Eats Help?
Diet can be important in hairball relief for several reasons. The fiber combination of powdered cellulose and beet pulp in IAMS™ hairball formulas helps move hair through the digestive tract. IAMS research has shown that cats fed IAMS ProActive Health™ Adult Hairball Care pass 80% more hair in their feces than cats fed a leading premium dry cat food. By helping ingested hair to be passed from the digestive tract, IAMS hairball formulas help reduce the opportunities for hairballs to form. This fiber blend also includes a moderately fermentable component to promote intestinal health. High-quality, animal-based protein and fat, found in IAMS hairball formulas, provide important nutrients for skin and coat health. Maintaining skin and coat health may reduce the risk of excessive shedding, ingestion of hair from grooming, and, consequently, hairball formation.
What If the Cat Is Overweight or Senior?
Overweight cats have special nutritional needs in order to promote weight loss or weight management. Likewise, senior cats have special nutritional needs that are better met through a diet designed specifically for them. If an overweight or senior cat has problems with hairballs, feeding an IAMS hairball formula for indoor or senior (age 7+) cats is a great choice.
Should IAMS Hairball Formulas Be Fed Exclusively?
Yes. Mixing other foods with IAMS hairball formulas may compromise the effectiveness of this diet by diluting the nutrients that help reduce the risk of hairball formation. Switching between IAMS hairball formulas and another cat food may also decrease the benefit of feeding this diet.