The Necessity of Taurine in a Cat’s Diet

The Necessity of Taurine in a Cat’s Diet

              Did you know that there is a very important distinction between cat food and dog food?  There is an ingredient in cat food that a cat absolutely needs.  A cat cannot thrive on dog food.  The ingredient is an amino-sulphonic acid called Taurine.  I learned about this when I was learning about cats in my career. 

Cat, Pet, Mieze, Short Hair

          Taurine is what keeps your cat's heart and eyes healthy. A cat's body cannot make Taurine on its own and they get Taurine from their food. All cat foods must include Taurine.  This was not the case in the past.  Now, it is a legal requirement that government-approved cat foods contain satisfactory levels of Taurine.           

       If a cat does not get enough of this amino-sulphonic acid, they suffer and can ultimately pass away. Taurine is one of the building blocks of protein, and an essential amino acid for cats that protects their eyes, heart, and overall health. It is one of several nutrients which the cat must eat in their diet because they cannot make them from constituent building blocks. 

       Taurine helps to regulate the movement of electrolytes across the cell walls.  If it is absent, the cells become damaged and die. If a cat lacks Taurine, their heart begins to suffer.  They will eventually get heart disease.

Wysong Call of the Wild Dog & Cat Food Supplement, 11-oz bottle

      The heart is a muscle that contracts in response to shifts of electrolytes across the cell walls. When a cat is deficient in Thiamine,  there is a reduced ability to move potassium and calcium. 

This slow decay of heart muscle and retinal cells may take years before it is seen and diagnosed. The heart dilates and loses its elastic recoil.  

         A stretched heart is poor at pushing blood around the body, so the cat's heart begins to fail. By the time it is, the changes are irreversible. 

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, Graphic, Dna

A veterinarian can provide medication to shift retained fluid and help the heart. The cat can still survive but the heart will remain damaged.

        Blindness as a result of taurine deficiency was first diagnosed in the 1970s, in a group of cats that solely ate dog food. The lack of taurine damages the delicate cells of the retina, leading to blindness. It is easy to think dog food will work in a pinch.  It is best to get your cat food delivered that day or head off to your pet store. 

Homeless Cat, Full Of Fleas Cat
A cat with a Taurine deficiency will have overall health issues

      The typical Taurine deficient cat is fed dog food. Some people also feed their cats a raw diet. Raw food diets can also cause a deficiency because the Taurine can be leached out during the thawing process. When feeding a raw diet to a cat, it is important to include a supplement mix that includes Taurine. 

       Fortunately, feeding a high-quality cat food should be all you need to do. If you are feeding a raw food diet, follow a recipe with Taurine added. If a cat is deficient a supplement can be provided.  Your veterinarian can certainly guide you along in this process and should. 

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Healthy and Happy Cat

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