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Taurine plays a crucial role in cats’ overall health and well-being. As obligate carnivores, cats rely on taurine-rich diets to meet their nutritional needs. Adequate taurine intake is essential for maintaining a healthy heart, good vision, and a robust immune system.

What is taurine?

Taurine is an amino acid necessary for the proper functioning of the heart, eyes, and reproductive system. Unlike humans and dogs, cats cannot produce taurine in their bodies, which means they must obtain it from their diet. Taurine also supports the development and maintenance of a healthy immune system.

The role of taurine in a cat’s health

Taurine is involved in many important physiological processes. One of its primary roles is in maintaining normal heart function. Cats, unlike other animals, require higher levels of taurine to prevent the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition that affects the heart muscle. Taurine helps regulate the heart’s electrical activity and prevents the accumulation of harmful substances in the heart, thus reducing the risk of DCM.

In addition to heart health, taurine also plays a crucial role in maintaining good vision in cats. It is essential for the development and maintenance of the retina, ensuring that cats have sharp vision and can see well in low light conditions.

Furthermore, taurine supports a cat’s reproductive system. Taurine deficiency in pregnant cats can lead to various complications, including low birth weight and developmental abnormalities in their offspring.

The benefits of taurine for cats

Besides its role in heart health, vision, and reproduction, taurine offers several other benefits for cats. It is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals by reducing oxidative stress and promoting healthy aging.

Taurine also supports a cat’s immune system. It enhances the production of antibodies and helps regulate the immune response, making cats more resistant to infections and diseases.

Taurine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for cats suffering from conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. By reducing inflammation, taurine can alleviate pain and improve the overall quality of life for cats with these chronic conditions.

Taurine and heart health in cats

One of the most significant reasons why taurine is vital for cats is its role in maintaining a healthy heart. As obligate carnivores, cats rely on taurine-rich meat as their primary source of this essential amino acid. Without sufficient taurine in their diet, cats can develop dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

DCM is a serious heart condition characterized by the enlargement and weakening of the heart muscle. It can lead to heart failure and ultimately be fatal if left untreated. Taurine deficiency is a known cause of DCM in cats. When cats do not consume enough taurine, their heart muscle becomes weakened, compromising its ability to pump blood effectively.

Taurine deficiency in cats

The leading cause of taurine deficiency in cats is an inadequate diet. Cats require a diet that is high in animal-based protein to meet their taurine needs.

Feeding cats a diet that primarily consists of plant-based ingredients or poorly balanced homemade diets can result in taurine deficiency. Additionally, food storage and processing methods, such as heat treatment, can lead to taurine degradation, reducing its bioavailability.

Symptoms of taurine deficiency in cats may vary depending on the severity and duration of the deficiency. Some common signs include dilated pupils, retinal degeneration, poor coat quality, lethargy, and reduced appetite. If left untreated, taurine deficiency can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease, reproductive problems, and immune deficiencies.

If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from taurine deficiency, it is crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They can perform blood tests to determine your cat’s taurine levels and recommend appropriate dietary changes or taurine supplementation if needed.

How to ensure your cat gets enough taurine in their diet

Commercial cat foods did not contain this important amino acid until 1987, when veterinarian Paul Pion identified the link between a lack of taurine in cats’ diets and feline dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Reputable commercial cat food brands do include taurine in their formulations, but not all cat foods on the market meet the same standards. Here are some guidelines to help you ensure that your cat gets enough taurine in their diet:

  • Choose a high-quality commercial diet: Look for foods that are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats. These foods are generally enriched with adequate levels of taurine to support your cat’s health.
  • Read the labels: Check the ingredient list and nutritional information on cat food labels. Look for animal-based protein sources and foods that contain organ meats. Avoid foods that contain excessive amounts of fillers or plant-based proteins.
  • Opt for minimally processed or raw food options, as these are more likely to retain higher levels of taurine. Heat processing and other processing methods can degrade taurine.
  • If you are feeding a homemade raw or cooked diet, make sure the recipe contains appropriately balanced taurine levels.


About Darwin’s Natural Pet Food

Darwin’s is doing everything right, both in terms of what’s in the food and what’s not:

  • 100% meat – no animal-by-products or fillers
  • Ethically sourced human grade ingredients from farms they trust
  • Formulated under the guidance of veterinary nutritionists
  • Free range, pasture raised, cage-free meats
  • No GMO
  • No steroids
  • No hormones
  • Made fresh: you will receive your meals 4-6 weeks from production
  • Ready to serve

Delivered right to your door

Darwin’s is packed in eco-friendly packaging with dry ice to ensure that food is shipped and delivered safely. The packaging can be recycled or composted. They offer a convenient autoship schedule so you’ll never have to worry about running out of food. The timing of delivery is flexible, and Darwin’s friendly customer service team will gladly adjust your schedule as needed.

Feeding Darwin’s is as easy as opening a can

The food come packaged in convenient 8 ounce sealed packs. It takes about 24 hours for one pack to thaw in the refrigerator, so feeding is no harder than feeding canned food. The only difference is that instead of opening a can, you’re defrosting a pack of food.

Allegra loves her Darwin’s turkey

Special offer: get 10 pounds for $14.95

Darwin’s has an introductory offer that can’t be beat so you can try this for your own cats: For $14.95, you get 10 pounds of raw food. You can customize the proteins depending on your cat’s taste preferences.

Use code PURRSOFWISDOM to take advantage of this special offer.

For more information and to order, please visit

*This post is sponsored by Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. Purrs of Wisdom is an affiliate partner of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

Photo at top of post Depositphotos

2 Comments on Why Taurine is Vital for Your Cat’s Health

  1. I have read a lot about Taurine in the recent years due to the DCM study with dogs- grain free vs grain diets. Although not much came out of the study, many dog foods are now adding it. Unfortunately many vets did not submit patients that had heart disease to the study. I know there are some studies still be continued. My dogs have been using supplements that had Taurine in it for many years. I did change my dog’s food per my vet due to the ingredients in the food I was using. My dog’s breed was on the list of having a potential problem so I no longer feed any legumes. Thank you for the information.

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