The Ins and Outs of Taurine

Written for the Anipal Times.

Water and food are all very important to cats but something else that is also very important for cats is taurine. If you’re making your own cat food, this may be good to know for future use!

What Is Taurine?

Taurine is an amino acid that is important to keep the eyes healthy and to keep the heart functioning normally but also for providing essential dietary fats to cats.

You can find taurine on most cat food labels.

You can find taurine on most cat food labels.

It also helps with epilepsy, diabetes, hair loss, tooth decay and liver and heart problems. Taurine is also needed when cats are pregnant and for kittens to grow.

In other words: cat food needs to have taurine in it in order to keep him healthy.

You can find taurine in: Meat (all meats), eggs, fish and shellfish.

No Taurine, No Good

Did you know that if cats don’t get taurine (or not enough), they may go blind and develop heart problems. This is because cats cannot produce taurine in their body, so they need to get it from other sources such as meat or in the form of a supplement. Cats need around 1000 mg (1gm) of taurine per 2.2 lbs. of food.

Because taurine is required in cat food, the Association of American Feed Control Officials now approves most commercial foods. This means that dry food should have a minimum of 0.1% of taurine in it and wet food 0.2%.

Taurine is good for their eyes, growth, heart and liver.

Taurine is good for their eyes, growth, heart and liver.

But taurine is not always listed on the ingredient list. This is because taurine is naturally found in meat. So when you buy cat food that has chicken as the main ingredient, taurine may not be added to the list. This is because the list only contains the ingredients that are added to the food. So if taurine is not added as a supplement, it may not be on the list. Most high-quality cat food will have taurine as an an additive on the ingredient list.

Cats cannot overdose on taurine. Because cats don’t store this amino acid in their body, any extra taurine will be excreted from the body.


If you are planning to make your cat some food and cook the meat, be aware that about 50% of the taurine gets lost when you cook meat in water. If you do want to cook it anyway, keep it as rare as possible or feed your kitty raw.

Taurine helps prevent liver disease, tooth decay and hair loss and it turns cats into healthy fur balls!

11 Responses to “The Ins and Outs of Taurine”

    • Tom Duhamel

      There is a lot of documentation on that matter now. It’s a new trend. Actually, dry cat food didn’t exist before the late 70s, people were actually feeding their cats raw meat back then. Not that cats were as popular as today. Feeding cats raw meat is a returning trend, and it’s worth getting educated and take a wise decision regarding this.

      Get informed, and decide if it’s for you. I did try to convert my cats to raw food, but I failed. I know why I did though. My future cats will not eat dry food. Raw meat is a lot more work, but I believe it’s totally worth it.

      That said, today’s dry cat food is not what it was in the 80s. It’s of high quality and it works great. It’s up to you to decide what is best for your cats, and what works best in your daily life.

      • Charles Huss

        I have buying the frozen raw food for my cats for some time. Unfortunately I have never been able to get them to accept it so I mix it with canned food. Perhaps if I make it fresh myself it might taste better.

    • Lidia

      Then I suggest the book from Sandy Arora ‘Whole Health for Happy cats’. It has a lot of tips and tricks and things explained about making your own cat food. :) I own the book in English, (which was a little bit difficult, she used a few difficult words).

      • Charles Huss

        I think your English writing is excellent, but I understand English has more words than any other language. In any case, I would like to see you write an ebook on cat health. You have so many good posts on the subject. If you compress them into a single book, I will be the first to buy it.

  1. Tom Duhamel

    What you failed to explain is that taurine is synthesized by almost every living things on this planet, cat is one of very few exceptions. Taurine is actually produced in your muscles, and that is actually what makes muscular meat this dark color (think of chicken thighs).

    I would suggest that nobody serves cooked meat to cats. Their system (unlike us) is designed for raw meat. Not only will they get used to the (apparently better) taste of cooked meat, they will loose a lot of what they are suppose to eat. I admit I didn’t know taurine was lost to cooking though.

    In the 80s, when dry cat food became common on the market, it was quickly found that cats didn’t live very long on that. It was later found that cats needed taurine. However, there is apparently very few symptoms that can be linked to taurine deficiency. They just get sick and die, and nobody knows why.


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