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The importance of taurine in feline diets

Taurine is an amino acid found exclusively in animal based proteins. Most mammals have the ability to synthesize taurine from other sulphur containing amino acids (cysteine and methionine). It is an essential amino acid for cats because two of the enzymes in the pathway are not active enough to synthesize the required amount. Additionally, unlike other mammals that use glycine for bile salts, cats can only use taurine so their requirement is higher due to constant loss to bile salt formation.
Signs of deficiency:  

  • Can take 5 months to 2 years to show signs
  • Leads to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • Leads to feline central retinal degeneration (CRD) and blindness
  • Digestive issues
  • Small litter sizes
  • Low birth weights
  • Fetal abnormalities
  • Stillbirths

Taurine Sources:

  • Muscles that work the hardest, contain the most taurine.
  • Heart (one of the highest concentrations)
  • Liver
  • Muscles
  • Clams

Taurine is water-soluble and therefore cannot be stored in large quantities because excess is excreted in the urine. It needs to be consumed daily.
Taurine in the Diet
The processing of foods negatively affects the taurine available in the diet due to damaging high temperatures. Many brands are also high in fibre, which can offset the balance of bacteria in the gut, thus decreasing taurine absorption. Since it is a soluble amino acid it is lost in the bloody juices that are released from meat as it thaws. In order to get all the taurine, the blood/liquid needs to be incorporated as well.
Our cat products all meet the minimum requirement for taurine. We meet the requirement by including more taurine rich organs like heart and liver into our products. You can see in our products that they are meaty, vegetable free, grain free, and bloody for your little carnivore to thrive on.
Taylor Luther, B.Sc

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