You may have heard your vet talk about it, but may not have asked questions. It's an important part of your cat’s diet, but you may not know why. We’re talking about taurine. What is it? And why do cats need taurine in their diets?
What is Taurine, and why is it important?
Taurine is an amino acid, one of around 20 that are found in the body. Amino acids are essential building blocks that keeps the body strong and functioning well.
Taurine is found in especially high concentrations in the eye retina, heart wall muscles and brain. It is crucial for normal vision, heart function and a good immune system. Taurine is also a component of bile salts, making it important for healthy digestion.
Why do cats need taurine supplements?
Most mammals manufacture enough taurine on their own to meet their body’s needs. Cats, however, are unable to do so. For this reason, taurine is considered an “essential” amino acid for cats, and must be taken in through diet.
Taurine is found exclusively in animal-based proteins. However, it’s often not present in very high quantities in most standard commercial cat foods or home-cooked diets.
Your cat may also need a taurine supplement if they are ill, on a weight loss regimen or have underlying health problems (especially heart disease).
Is taurine deficiency dangerous?
The short answer is "yes". Because taurine is such an important building block for many of the body’s systems, its deficiency can cause those systems to crash. Cat’s that don’t take in enough taurine through their diet are at risk for digestive disturbances (at best), and blindness or heart failure due to weakened heart muscles (dilated cardiomyopathy).
Dogs are generally not at risk for taurine deficiency, though there have been isolated occurrences of dilated cardiomyopathy in some specific breeds. Golden Retrievers, American Cocker Spaniels and Newfoundlands may have a genetic predisposition to taurine deficiency related heart problems, so ask your vet is a supplement is necessary for your pup.
How can I make sure my cat is getting enough taurine?
It’s important to note that your cat needs to consume taurine on a daily basis, not just every once in awhile. Your cat should get about 25mg per day. Cats don’t have a large storage capacity for taurine, so it must be replenished regularly.
Feeding your cat an animal-protein based diet is the first step. Kitties are naturally carnivores (think of their large relatives like lions and tigers), which is how they obtain enough of this amino acid in nature. For our domesticated kitties, it’s usually a good idea to supplement their diet with taurine.
Holistic Total Body Support for Cats is specifically formulated to give cats the perfect amount of taurine on a daily basis. When combined with a healthy, animal-protein based diet like The Original CrockPET Diet, you can be sure this multivitamin is giving your kitty everything she needs to feel great.