It is important that the cat food you buy includes appropriate amounts of taurine to ensure long term health of your cat. To find out why, read our short overview of the most important benefits of taurine for cats.
What Is Taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid that is important for well-being and maximum health of cats. It’s an organic acid that is considered to be a non-essential amino acid. It’s a major component of bile which is found in abundance in the lower intestine and a small quantity in both the tissues of humans and animals. Taurine keeps magnesium and potassium inside the cells. The excess sodium is kept out; hence, taurine act as a diuretic.
Taurine, as a chemical, can cross the blood-brain barrier. The barrier is a separation between the blood which circulates in the body from cerebrospinal fluid found in the central nervous system. In addition, it plays a significant role in physiological activities e.g., neurotransmission for the coordination of smooth, cardiac muscle, and skeletal activities. It also controls obesity and weight loss by regulation of stored fat. In addition, it maintains a constant and stable condition of calcium inside the body.
Why is Taurine Essential for Cats?
Taurine is essential in cats’ food for prevention of certain heart diseases and blindness. It is also critical in reproduction. Besides these, it forms bile salts which aid in digestion. Cats can’t produce taurine on their own. Hence, they have to consume foods that contain taurine to obtain it. Since taurine is obtained only from fish and meat rather than vegetation, cats have to be fed food from these sources in order to meet the daily dietary requirement.
Cats can’t produce taurine on their own. Hence, they have to consume foods that contain taurine to obtain it.
Taurine is essential when it comes to skeletal muscle functioning. It aids in body weight regulations and blood sugar level. It essential when it comes to stimulation of nerve blood flow and prevention of liver disease. Taurine deficiency may lead to fur loss and tooth decay.
Deficiency in taurine causes vasodilation in the left part of the heart. It also prevents retinal degeneration. A cat with insufficiency taurine can be affected by infertility, abortion, birth abnormalities in kittens.
How Much Taurine Should Cat Food Contain?
Its hard to say how much is appropriate since many factors influence the need for taurine in cats. A scientific study by Burger and Barnett places the daily requirements to minimum 35-56 mg. Ovrall appropriate intake of taurine per day, for cats is estimated at 35 – 250 mg per day.
AAFCO recommendations for Taurine are 0.2% of dry matter. If your food follows the guideline it is easy to calculate how much taurine it contains. Be mindful of the AAFCO sign on the packaging.
If a can of wet cat food weights 3 oz, with moisture being 75%, the dry matter content is 0.75 oz or about 21g. Then to calculate taurine just multiply 0.2% * 21g.
Your can of cat food contains 0,042g or 42mg (1mg = 1/1000g). Thats a good start!
Buying the Best Cat Food With Taurine
In most cases, the taurine content is not usually indicated on the pet food label, however, a good way to ensure high taurine content is to buy pet foods from our best cat food list since we made sure that it contains best meat based nutrient sources which naturally contain taurine in large quantities!
|Dry||Wellness CORE Dry Cat Food|
Grain-Free Chicken-Turkey Meal
|Wet||Nature’s Variety Instinct |
Grain-Free Chicken Cat Food
|Freeze-dried||The Honest Kitchen |
Grain-Free Dehydrated Cat Food
It’s hard for the cat to overdose on taurine. This is because the excess taurine is excreted rather than being stored in the body. Domesticated cats should be given good food or even supplements to boost taurine content in their bodies.
It’s highly recommended that you feed your cat on animal based protein sources to ensure high taurine intake. There is a theory that raw meat is even better since it contains a high level of taurine as compared to the cooked one, however we still recommend listening to your vet and AAFCO guidelines and dont risk with raw food.
Any cat that suffers from taurine insufficiency can restore it to normal levels after 3-4 months with supplements. But it’s advisable always to do follow up with your vet in case of any abnormality behavior with your cat.
What Causes Taurine Deficiency
A diet low on taurine is the leading cause of taurine deficiency. Cats that consume homemade vegetarian foods or any vegan diet have a high risk of developing this kind of health problem. Although some pet owners engage in treating their pets with special diets, sometimes they end up harming their furry friends.
Taurine supplements increase amino acid supply, but these supplements aren’t going to provide your cat with enough taurine. It’s always a good idea to consult your veterinary nutritionist when it comes to homemade vegan or vegetarian diet. These professionals have what it requires to ensure your meal plan for your cat meets nutritional needs.
Most cats like sampling dog food. It should be noted that most dog’s food doesn’t have sufficient taurine. This is because the dog’s body is able to produce its own taurine without depending on the supplements.
Taurine clinical deficiency signs are slow in developing. It may take five months up to 2 years before the symptoms are apparent. These depend mostly on the cat’s life stage.
Taurine Deficiency Symptoms
This condition causes the heart to enlarge. This automatically affects the process of pumping blood. Cats with this kind problem may end up developing congestive heart failure due to pumping abnormalities.
Taurine deficiency may lead to photoreceptor cells degeneration in the retina. The disadvantage behind it is that once the cells have been destroyed, it’s harder to replace them.
Taurine is responsible for strong and healthy teeth of your cat. Deficiency of these causes cavities hence, leading to tooth decay.
Cats with taurine deficiency have issues with giving birth
Development issues with kittens
Kittens who are born to mother cats affected with taurine insufficiency face a high risk of growth and development problems. They may have poor bone structure which causes bone fractures.
Fat digestion is aided by bile salts. Taurine, on the other hand, helps the body in bile production. Insufficiency Taurine will lead to your pet developing digestion issues and diarrhea.
Insufficient taurine causes your bet coat. This will lead to loss of hair.
Immune System Disorders
Insufficiency Taurine may lead to your cat’s immune system not to function optimally. As a result of these, your cat will be in a harder position to fight against diseases. It will suffer frequent illness.
Taurine is well known for its techniques for regulating body sugar. Diabetes will automatically develop hence being a health hazard to the cat.
Lack of Energy
Cats with taurine deficiency will appear listless and tired. Make sure to consider other factors before considering this one since we all know how much cats like to nap. Be observant if there has been a drastic change in behaviour over several months.
Taurine in Cat Food Conclusion
All commercial foods with meat ingredients should have cat food taurine content if they follow AAFCO recommendation. High taurine cat food prevent cardiomyopathy and blindness. If your cat’s first ingredient food is corn or grain or you feed it single type of ingredient all the time, you will have to monitor its health or try to supplement with taurine. If you are used to feeding your cat with commercial vegetarian foods, supplement them with taurine, with vets guidance.
If you are sure that your homemade diet does not supply your cat with enough nutrients as required, then is advisable to visit your vet for a proper guideline on the best taurine supplements.