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What is Taurine for Cats?

What is taurine?

For humans, taurine is a commonly used as a key ingredient in energy drinks such as Redbull energy drinks but what exactly is taurine? Taurine is a type of amino acid that is essential for cats. Taurine is naturally-occurring and is mostly found in muscle meat and organs.

Why do cats need taurine?

Taurine is critical for healthy vision, digestion and heart muscle function for a cat. Unfortunately, cats are limited in their ability to manufacture taurine and will require taurine from their diet.

What happens if a cat does not have taurine?

When your cat does not have enough taurine, it might start displaying signs of taurine deficiency. However,  signs of taurine deficiency are slow to develop and may take from a few months to years before your cat starts displaying signs. Your cat age and health are usually a strong determinant on how long it will take before any signs start showing.

If your cat is experiencing taurine deficiency, the retinal cells of the eyes will eventually degenerate which will lead to impaired the vision also know as feline central retinal degeneration (CRD). Other symptoms of taurine deficiency include the weakening of the heart which leads to dilated cardiomyopathy.

How to prevent taurine deficiency?

Taurine deficiency can easily be prevented by simply feeding your cat with foods that contain taurine.

Which cat food has taurine?

Most commercial pet food that are complete and balanced contain taurine. This is why it is important to look for cat food that state that they are complete and balanced.
Some brands of wet or canned food state that they are for supplemental feeding. This means that these foods are not complete and balanced. They should only be used as toppers to add flavour and taste to the foods. Should they be fed long term, your cat might experience taurine deficiency.

What other food does not have taurine?

Some people claim that dog food are the same as cat food and it is just fancy marketing to trick consumers. However, this is far from the truth. Cats have totally different nutritional requirements from dogs. For one, dogs are able to synthesise taurine so they do not require a high amount of taurine in their foods. This is the main reason why you should not feed dog food to cats.

 

Source & more reading:

VCA Hospital: Taurine in Cats

Petmd.com: What is Taurine?

*Featured Image Source: Pexels

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Jeremy Tee

Co-founder of Nekojam.com and in charge of managing overall operations at Nekojam.com. Jeremy likes spending time with his furkids Choops & Angel.

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