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Cat Food Taurine: What It Is and Why Your Feline Needs It [2023]

Cat Food Taurine: What It Is and Why Your Feline Needs It [2023]


When I adopted my very cat Madison, I had no idea about cat food. I don’t think I had even heard the word taurine yet. If it was in cat food, that was news to me. However, it wouldn’t take long for me to learn about the different cat foods and ingredients felines need. This post is all about cat food taurine, what it is, and why your feline needs it.

While traveling for work, I was rushing to return to Madison and realized we were out of cat food. I thought it would be a great treat for him to have canned tuna fish instead. I bought about a dozen cans and fed him tuna fish with his dry food. I told my friend, who had much more experience raising cats, that Madison loved his tuna treat.

This was when I was educated on taurine, well briefly, anyway. When I found out cat’s food had something called taurine and cats needed it in their regular diets, I did in-depth research. Little did I know tuna is also a great source of taurine for cats!

Well, that was quite some time ago, and I am pretty caught up on the ins and outs of taurine for cats. Come with me to unpack the critical topic of taurine for cats.

In this article you can expect to learn:

  • What is taurine?
  • Why is taurine added to cat food?
  • Does canned tuna fish have taurine?
  • Taurine deficiency in cats
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06/19/2024 06:42 pm GMT

As a cat owner looking for ways to get your cat feeding healthy, you must have heard the word Taurine being made mention of an awful lot. In fact, it is impossible for a feline health specialist to discuss the topic of feline nutrition without making mention of the term Taurine, and how important it is for cats to have it in their diet. This post is all about cat taurine and why your feline needs some.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is an amino acid found in animal proteins. Taurine is vital for kitties to have in their diets and can be found in most cat foods. Taurine supplies cats with elements necessary for proper function of eye sight, internal organs and contributing to a cat’s healthy and strong immune system.


Taurine is a natural amino acid that occurs more in muscle meat and other body organs as the eye, kidney, heart, and liver. High amounts of taurine can also be found in some sea creatures too. Now the reason why taurine is more concentrated in dark meats as the muscle, heart, kidney and bile is simply because those parts of the body are hard workers.

Sea creatures as Shell fish are known to have high amounts of taurine in them as well. This is because their body constantly works hard to filter since they are filter-feeders. Taurine can also be found in diary products and plant products, but not as much as they are to be found in dark meats.

Why Is Taurine Added To Cat Food?

Cats need taurine, and they need a substantial amount. Taurine is essential for the proper functioning of a feline’s brain, nerves, eyes, heart, digestion, immune function and fetal development. For this reason, taurine is added to most kitty food.

Adding Taurine to Your Cat’s Diet

Yes, all cats have taurine within their body cell, the problem is they get to lose a great amount of it in the bile. They are also known to have a low rate of taurine synthesis. All of these put together, makes it important for cats to get taurine from other sources if they are to stay alive and healthy. Taurine is an essential amino acid that’s critical for vision, normal heart muscle function and reproduction in cats.

When a cat lacks a good amount of taurine, the following problems are bound to occur:

5 Effects Of Taurine Deficiency In Cats

Health Disease

The one reason why taurine is to be found more in the heart is because the heart can’t function without it. It’s just simple logic. Taurine deficiency in a cat causes her heart muscle to lose strength and malfunction, which in turn, can lead to a heart disease or heart failure. Experts refer to this condition as dilated cardiomyopathy.


The same rule for the heart also applies to the eyes. The eye is a known area of the body to have a high concentration of taurine, this is because the amino acid is essential to the normal functioning and development of cells in the eye’s retina. When a cat lacks taurine, it results in blindness.

Decreased Reproductive Performance

Taurine also play a huge role in the area of growth and reproduction. A deficiency in taurine can lead to reproduction failure – causing such anomalies as still births in cats. It can also bring about a poor growth in kittens born to moms suffering a deficiency in taurine.

Immune System Malfunction

Studies have shown that taurine affects the immune system responsiveness of a cat. A cat with a good amount of taurine thanks to constant intake of dark meats will stay healthy and have stronger antibodies than a cat deprived of meals containing taurine.

Poor Digestion

Taurine helps with proper digestion in a cat. When this is lacking, the body of the cat won’t be able to produce enough bile salt needed for fat digestion. A deficiency in taurine may result in diarrhea and a whole lot of digestion issues you don’t want your cat suffering.

Best Source of Taurine for Cats

Cats get taurine from other animal proteins. This is why it is not recommended to put your kitty on a vegetarian diet. You can read more about this topic in “Why Your Cat Should Not Be A Vegetarian.” Most cat food also has taurine added or included naturally.

Kitty cats do get taurine in their regular meals if their food contains animal-based proteins. Check the labels of your cat food so you can be sure the food has sufficient amounts of animal proteins. We really like the following cat foods that can be bought right on Amazon, click the image to go there.

Since shellish are a great resource for taurine your favorite feline may enjoy some scallops too!

I would love to hear from you. What type of cat food do you give your kitty cat?

Did you already know about taurine before reading this?

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🐾 Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC! 🏡 She’s got a dapper tuxedo cat who’s been her sidekick since he was a tiny furball. 🐱 Before Finnegan came along, Lisa cared for two FIV-positive cats for over ten years! 🌟 Their love inspired her to create a cat enclosure and a portable catio, giving kitties the purrfect spot to bask in the sun and feel the breeze. ☀️🌿

As a kid, Lisa shared her home with a Poodle and a chirpy parakeet! 🐩🐦

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