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.
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%.
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!