What is taurine? So what is taurine? Also called amino acid, taurine is actually an organic acid present in the body of many living beings, including dogs, cats and humans.
Taurine is present in bile and in muscle tissue in the body of animals. It is also found freely in body tissues.
Why is it called taurine? Its name comes from Bos Taurus and refers to bull bile because the first time it was isolated in the laboratory was precisely in bull bile.
Why is taurine so important for cats?
Both humans and dogs are able to produce taurine (that is, to synthesize or create taurine ourselves). This is the reason why we cannot have a taurine deficiency. But the body of cats cannot produce taurine.
Taurine, for cats, is an essential amino acid that must be found in food because they are not able to produce it themselves in sufficient quantity.
Importance of taurine in cats
In tissues that have a high electrical activity, such as the muscles, the heart, the brain and the eyes of the cat, taurine is very present. We do not yet know 100% of the action of taurine on the body, but we have found that taurine, in cats, is necessary because:
- – taurine is used for the production of bile
- – it acts as an antioxidant
- – it helps in the development of muscles
- – it functions as a neurotransmitter
- – it regulates the salt and the water of the cells
- – it also serves to ensure the proper functioning of cell membranes (among other things).
If your cat has a taurine deficiency, over time it will cause significant biological damage such as:
- – disorders of the central nervous system
- – feline central retinal blindness or degeneration because taurine is present in the cells of the cat’s retina. Without taurine, the cells die and the cat eventually loses its vision.
- – cardiomyopathy or heart disease because, as we have already said, there is an abundance of taurine in the muscles and the heart. This is why, without taurine, your cat’s heart will weaken and this deficiency could even cause its death.
If the cat’s taurine deficiency is severe and continuous, it will eventually cause its death.
Where do cats get taurine from:
As they do not produce it in sufficient quantities, cats must ingest taurine, that is, eat foods rich in taurine.
Which foods contain taurine naturally?
Foods that naturally contain taurine are basically proteins of animal origin. Check out our list of foods containing taurine:
- – The meat, that is to say the muscles. Because not all parts of meat contain taurine in the same way. For example, if you give chicken to your cat, the part that will contain the most taurine is the leg of the chicken and the part that will contain the least, the breast.
- – The heart. The heart is an excellent source of natural taurine for cats. Moreover, it is very inexpensive.
- – Chicken liver also contains taurine. Just like veal, piglet or lamb liver.
How much taurine per day does a cat require?
Per food ration, a cat should ingest approximately between 200 and 300 mg of taurine.
Heat destroys taurine. How much does taurine degrade?
Does cooking destroy taurine? Yes, the taurine present in meat and viscera degrades with heat when cooked.
In what proportions is taurine lost when you cook foods that contain it? It is not easy to know exactly.
According to Doctor Bruce Syme, 50 to 75% of the taurine present in meat is destroyed when it is cooked, due to the heat.
So what should I do to make sure my cat gets enough taurine in her diet? You just need to make sure that half of your cat’s diet is raw. Either way, you don’t have to worry too much about this because your cat will consume the necessary taurine.
Do cat kibbles contain taurine?
Yes, cat food contains taurine. In two forms:
- – High-end kibbles, made from dehydrated quality meat, contain natural taurine (because their ingredients contain taurine).
- – The worst quality kibbles contain more grains or lower taurine ingredients. To compensate for this lack and ensure that your cat does not get sick, what you need to do is add artificial taurine as a supplement to the kibble.
Do cat boxes contain taurine?
Yes, especially those made with quality meats (you certainly know that when it comes to cat food, there are many different qualities and prices). But there is a problem. Scientists themselves do not know exactly how much the limping process affects the taurine contained in food.
To put it another way, it is not known to what extent taurine is destroyed by the process of canning and processing canned food for cats.
Intestinal bacteria affect the absorption of taurine in cats:
A lot of people don’t think about it, but it’s an important detail. The gut health of cats varies a lot from cat to cat. Our cat’s diet plays a vital role in their intestinal and stomach health.
When a cat only eats kibble all its life, its digestive system becomes impoverished. This cat’s intestinal flora is depleted (meaning that it lacks a large number of good bacteria that help with digestion and optimal absorption of food).
Does it affect taurine? Yes, because a good part of the taurine that cats ingest is simply lost in their intestines and is not assimilated by the animal.
Scientific studies (such as the one published by Jhon B. Lombardini: “Taurine, nutritionalvalue and mechanisms of action”) demonstrate that an impoverished intestinal flora causes poor absorption of taurine by the body.
How to fix it? By giving your cat a varied diet, so that its intestinal flora is rich and healthy. For example, you can give him commercial cat food but, in addition, natural food such as meat, heart, natural yogurt, cooked vegetables, etc.
Taurine supplements for cats:
If you want, you can also buy taurine in supplement form for cats. It is sold in specialty pet stores and some veterinarians. It is usually packaged in containers and comes in the form of a white powder.
How do we use it? It is usually sprinkled on the cat’s food just before he eats it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which are indicated on the packaging. Sometimes there is a scoop for measuring the amount of taurine to give your cat daily included in the package.
How do you know if a cat is getting enough taurine?
Cats can be given blood tests to measure their blood taurine levels. However, kibble brands generally do these analyzes before launching a product on the market. For this reason, we know that these brands have made sure that the amount of taurine in your cat’s kibble is sufficient for him.
In summary, in addition to its food, it is advisable to give cats meat, fish and heart so that they consume taurine. A meatless diet will cause nutritional deficiencies in cats.
For all these reasons, we must ensure that our cats’ food contains enough taurine. All animal nutrition experts advise against feeding cats a vegetarian diet – unless supplements provide the sufficient amount of artificial taurine, protein and nutrients needed to maintain a healthy cat.
It’s the same with commercial dog food. Its repeated use does not provide sufficient nutrients to our cats and can cause them serious illnesses and even death, in the long term.