Taurine and cats – what is important?

Taurine is an essential amino acid that is normally formed in the liver. But this process is limited in cats because their relevant enzyme systems are rarely active.

Cats rely on getting enough taurine through their food to avoid dangerous deficiencies.

A taurine deficiency is often only marginally noticeable and often goes unnoticed until irreversible damage has been caused. For example, a lack of taurine can cause sudden blindness due to a degeneration of the retina in the eye (taurine-associated retina degeneration). Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM, a heart disease with loss of heart function) is also caused by a taurine deficiency, but has become rarer in its common form as cats are now mainly fed with processed food. Nevertheless, the heart is still vulnerable to a taurine deficit. Loss of hearing and weakening of the immune system can also be caused by a lack of taurine – but this is harder to detect.

As there is practically no risk of a taurine overdose, additional taurine should be fed to your cat to avoid the grievous consequences of a taurine deficiency mentioned above. As taurine is a very unattractive white powder in its pure chemical form, it should ideally be given to your cat in treats, snacks and/or a delicious paste. Treats are available in many different flavours and shapes. A special taurine paste is also available for cats that prefer pastes.

Tip: As cats have very specific dietary requirements, cats that eat a raw diet have an especially high requirement for taurine. You should therefore seek advice on this.

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