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If you care to turn over the packaging of your usual cat kibble, you’ll most likely see taurine being listed as a main ingredient. But what is taurine and is it necessary for healthy growth in cats?
There is a reason why you can’t simply give cats dog food as their daily diet!
Find out in this post along with other benefits of taurine. And how best to ensure that your cat is getting enough taurine in its diet.
Table Of Contents:
- What Is Taurine?
- Why Do Cats Need Taurine In Their Diets?
- What Are The Benefits Of Taurine For Cats?
- How Do I Know That My Cat Is Getting Enough Taurine?
- How Much Taurine Does A Cat Need In Its Daily Diet?
- Does My Cat Need Extra Taurine (Taurine Supplements)?
What Is Taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid. Mind you, amino acids are the key components for protein – the so-called building blocks for cells (and therefore your body).
Cats (like us) need taurine for many normal bodily functions.
PS: Taurine is also found in human breast milk and infant formula
Why Do Cats Need Taurine In Their Diets?
Humans and dogs can naturally make enough taurine to not require a meat-heavy diet like cats.
And while cats can also naturally produce taurine, their bodies don’t make enough of it. Which is why taurine is considered an “essential amino acid” for cats.
Note: Cats can’t self-produce Omega 6 either.
Furthermore, their bodies cannot retain a large quantity of taurine at a time. This is because they process it very fast). Hence, cats need taurine on a daily basis.
Cats are therefore, obligate carnivores because they can only get enough taurine by eating a diet that consists mainly of meat (I.e. animal-based proteins). That includes chicken, beef, fish, etc.
Cat food manufacturers (should) well know this and these days, most commercial cat food is formulated to have sufficient taurine.
What Are The Benefits Of Taurine For Cats?
Taurine has many benefits for cats. If you have kittens or a pregnant cat, taurine is necessary for a healthy pregnancy and normal growth and development of kittens.
Cats also need taurine for the following body functions:
- Immune system
- Digestive system
- Brain and nerves
- Regulation of blood sugar
As you can see, a lack of taurine will be detrimental to a cat’s health since taurine is required in so many different organs and parts of the body.
How Do I Know That My Cat Is Getting Enough Taurine?
If a cat lacks taurine in their diet, you usually can’t tell right away.
Long term effects like vision impairment (feline central retinal degeneration (FCRD) and eventual blindness, can take months or years to show.
Another major long-term consequence of taurine deficiency in cats is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) where the heart gets weaker and weaker. DCM can be fatal if left untreated in the early stages.
Other signs of taurine deficiency in cats:
- For pregnant cats – fewer kittens with abnormalities
- For kittens – slower growth rates
- Tooth decay
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lack of energy
- Loss of hair
- They take longer to recover from sicknesses
How Much Taurine Does A Cat Need In Its Daily Diet?
This depends on the life stage of the cat. Which is why you should always check if the life stage on the label (applies to commercial cat food) is appropriate for your feline companion(s).
Adult cats should get a daily amount of 0.25-0.50g based on the type of food.
The AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile (Dry Matter) lists that there should be a minimum of 0.1% taurine for food in an extruded form (i.e. dry kibble). Or 0.2% taurine for canned food.
These minimum percentages are the same for the growth or adult stage of a cat.
It’s also important to check the crude protein content on the guaranteed analysis label on the back of the cat food packaging:
Adult cats require a minimum of 26% crude protein based on the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for dry matter.
While growing cats (and pregnant cats) require a minimum of 30% crude protein for dry kibble.
Does My Cat Need Extra Taurine (Taurine Supplements)?
Unless your cats has certain existing health conditions (e.g., kidney or liver disease) or taurine-deficiency related health problems and your vet has advised taurine supplements, you probably don’t need to give your cat taurine supplements.
Note: Always seek out your vet’s advice and guidance before giving your cats any supplements.
As responsible cat owners, it’s our duty to ensure that our beloved felines have all the nutrition they need for a happy and healthy life!
And if you’re only going to pay attention to one criteria for the cat food that you buy, let it be crude protein!
Me-O Cat Creamy Treats
Have you heard of cat licks?
Cat licks are not only a delicious treat for your cats but they also strengthen the bond between you and your cat. You can use cat licks to reward your cat for good behaviour, or to teach them new tricks.
Because of the creamy texture of cat licks, cat licks offer something interesting from regular dry and wet cat food. The texture (and flavors) will be enjoyable for your cats since it is different from what they usually get.
Additionally, cat licks are a treat that elder cats or kittens can enjoy since it requires no chewing.
Me-O Cat Licks come in a variety of flavors to tempt and keep picky felines interested.
Me-O Cat Lick Flavors:
- Crab – this flavor includes prebiotics (FOS) and chicken meat and liver
- Bonito – has extra fiber
- Chicken & Liver
- Katsuo – tuna is the main ingredient
- Maguro – has vitamin C
- Scallop – This is tuna with scallop extract, collagen and glucosamine for joint health
- Salmon – with Omega-3 for a shiny coat
Note: Both the Chicken & Liver and Katsuo flavors have green tea extract as the last ingredient.
Recommended Feeding Guidelines For Me-O Cat Licks:
|Age Of Cat||Weight Of Cat (kg)||Feeding Among (g/day)||Number Of Sachets/ Day|
|Weaning (<1 year)||1 to 2||16 to 26||1 to 2|
|<2 years||2.1 to 3||27 to 36||2 to 3|
|3.1 to 5||37 to 52||3 to 4|
Note: Table is adapted from Me-O