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Taurine in Cats

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by FEWill, Apr 28, 2010.


  1. FEWill

    FEWill PetForums Senior

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    Taurine in cats is absolutely critical, and if you feed your cat a homemade diet, it must be supplemented by one of the various forms available. For cats that are feed commercial foods, it is also something that every owner should consider supplementing simply because the cooking process can destroy over half all of its value.

    This nutrient is so critical, that a deficiency of it can cause circulation problems as well as cell death in your cats system, as well as low fertility rates and fetal re-absorptions. It can also lead to growth diseases in kittens that do survive the birth process.

    What is it?

    Taurine is a beta-amino acid that is synthesized in the liver from dietary sulphur containing amino acids, and than absorbed into your cats small intestines. Most all animals can manufacture taurine from other amino acids in their body if they suffer a deficiency, but this is where your cat becomes separated form most every other animal; they can not manufacture it.

    It is critical for your cat as contrary to classical amino acids that are included in the very complex proteins, it stays in a free form. Your cat has several tissues that are very rich in taurine and they include the muscles of their heart, the central nervous system, as well as the retina of their eyes. However, perhaps its most important function in your cat is with their biliary salts.

    Taurine in cats is also critical in the formation of biliary salts that are essential for the proper digestion of fats in their small intestine. Other animals simply utilize other acids in this critical process if taurine levels become deficient, but for some reason your cats system can not perform this function. Because of this, your cat relies on a dietary intake of taurine and is believed to be one of the major reasons, if not the major reason, that cats must have animal products to survive, as it is not found at all in vegetables.

    Your cats eyes:

    Taurine in cats also plays several other very important roles in your pet starting with their vision. The retina of your cats eye, which is the membrane that covers the eye and forms pictures, has about 300 times the amount of taurine as compared to what is found in the blood. Simply put, if your cat does not receive enough taurine in their diet, it kills their eyes. It will gradually begin a process that will induce progressive degeneration of the retina, and within two years, your cat becomes totally blind.

    By correcting the taurine deficiency it does stop this progression, but the lesions that it causes are not reversible and can still result in damage to your cats vision.

    Cardiac functions:

    Taurine in cats accounts for about fifty percent of the free amino acids that are found in cats cardiac muscles, and if it deficient, it will quickly lead to what is called cardiomyopathy. This can cause dilation on the left side of your cats heart, which plays a major role in the hearts over function. Dilation can lead to several heart problems and there have been several recent studies that have demonstrated that once the levels are returned back to normal, the dilation stops.

    If your cats heart continues to be weak on the left side, it can not aerate the blood flow properly and will quickly lead to both circulation problems as well cell death in their heart.

    Reproduction:

    Taurine in cats also plays a very important role in your cats reproductive processes. Taurine deficiency can inflict several huge impacts on this process as it can cause a lack of fertility, abortions, as well as what is referred to as fetal re-absorption. However, it can also cause several different abnormalities in the litter as well as stunting the growth of kittens that do survive this process.

    Nervous system:
    Taurine is also critical for your cats overall nervous system as it is needed to maintain both the development as well of the integrity of this system. If it is not found in the diet or supplemented, it affects blood coagulation, immune reactions, as well as damaging your cats respiratory tissues.

    What are the correct levels?

    Taurine in cats can be supplied by the diet supplements. If you feed your cat dry food diets, they will require at least 1000 to 1200 mg/kg in their food. The term mg/kg simply implies milligrams per kilogram of food. If your cat has a canned diet, they will require a lot more taurine as they will need at least 2200 to 2500 mg/kg. Both types of commercial foods are cooked and processed, but dry forms hold taurine levels better than do moist or canned foods.

    If you choose raw diets or homemade diets, you must supplement these diets with taurnine. Pills and tablets come in 50, 125, 500, 850, as well as 100 mg. levels, but there are also several other very good options. Supplements are also available in chewable tablets and treats, and well as powder and liquid forms. The actual mg that you give your cat will depend on their body weight as well as their current taurine levels and should be left entirely to your veterinarian.

    Summary:

    Taurine in cats is very often overlooked in homemade diets which can have catastrophic affects on your cat. It is very easy and quite inexpensive to properly supplement this critical amino acid, and if you choose a raw or homemade diet, have the taurine levels tested before, after a few weeks, and than at least a couple of times a year.

    If you use conventional diets, you should still have the taurine levels tested as most processed foods can not meet your cats requirements and they can not produce it on their own.

    Liquid Vitamins for Humans Cats and Dogs
     
  2. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    Another excellent report and please dont think i am picking on you! I'm not! I promise!

    There are natural ways of supplementing taurine. Taurine is found in much higher quantities in certain types of muscle. Striated long cell muscle tends to have the highest concentrations, along with cardiac muscle. These muscles are designed to be moved unconciously all the time. Without getting technical here are some of the muscles and foods high in taurine. Shellfish, chicken heart, lamb heart, other heart, cheek, tongue, and the muscles which controll the ribs and breathing movements.

    You will hear raw feeders talk about taurine bombs. Basically a taurine bomb is the feeding of a very taurine rich meat product. Taurine is higher in chicken cardiac muscle than ox, so a chook heart is classed as a taurine bomb.

    Its important to remember though that mincing, cooking etc will deplete the taurine levels. However it is very simple with a little research to naturally supplement your cats diet rather than using synthetic powders.

    I'm not against synthetic supplementation per se, and i reccomend it in certain cases, however for those people who like me like to feed as natural a diet as possible, then it should be noted that you can ensure your cats are getting their taurine without having to resort to a manufactured powder.

    Hope that helps x
     
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  3. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Thank you Frank for a really interesting overview - very much appreciated!

    As you say, even people who feed commercial wet food need to think about supplementing their cat's diet, either with a powder or as BB'sMammy suggest, with some raw meats.

    Just to give people an idea of the levels in some of the wet foods where manufacturers declare levels in their analysis.

    Applaws - 58mg/kg
    Bozita 700mg/kg
    Cosma - 98.5mg/kg
    Grau - 1000 mg/kg
    Herrmanns - 190 - 200 mg/kg
    Hills - about 700mg/kg
    Natures Menu - about 300 mg/kg
    Porta 21 - 200 mg/kg
    Royal Canin - about 500 - 1000mg/kg
    Schesir - 160 mg/kg
    Smilla - 985 mg/kg
    Yarrah - 140 -400 mg/kg

    So none of them contain taurine to the extent to which they should (about 2000-2500mg/kg).

    All lot of other manufacturers say that they have enriched their food with taurine but then do not state how much their food now contains :mad:

    However, I would disagree with you, Frank, on the use of taurine treats - typically they contain only a pittance of taurine after an awful lot of sugar etc.

    Edit: I just found this in terms of taurine levels in raw vs cooked meat in mg/kg (mean/range) based on a post in another forum, from Taurine concentrations in animal feed ingredients; cooking influences taurine content (A. R. Spitze et al, 2003). Full article here: www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmb/aal/pdfs/spitze.pdf

    Mouse 240mg

    BEEF
    Beef, mechanically deboned 77
    Beef carcass 296
    Beef 430 +/-80
    Beef, road kill 296 (61-625)
    Beef, lean 313 (277-348)
    Beef, boiled 380 +/- 10
    Ground, <30% fat 363,5 (334-385)
    Ground, <25% fat 283 (283-283)
    Ground, premium, <15% fat 398
    Ground, fried, without juices,< 25%fat 501
    Ground, fried, without juices,< 30%fat 509(501-517)
    Ground, sirloin fried with juices 816(775-856)
    Ground,fried with juices, <25%fat 353 (320-385)
    Ground, fried with juices, <30%fat 552(488-616)
    Gullet 804 (790-817)
    Heart 652 ((254-851)
    Kidney 225 (180-247)
    Kidney, baked 138 (130-144)
    Kidney, boiled 76 (68-88)
    Liver 688(401-1023)
    Liver, baked 141 (68-184)
    Liver, boiled 73 (36-95)
    Livers meal, animal 3672
    Lung 956 (781-1033)
    Meat and bonemeal 386 (85-1056)
    Meat meal 1150

    POULTRY
    Chicken, raw, boneless skinless breast 159 (102-216)
    Chicken, fried, with juices, breast............. 186 (145-227)
    Chicken, fried without juices, breast .............129 (0)
    Chicken, boiled, breast, without juices.........103 (85-120)
    Chicken, head and feet&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.500 (419-581)
    Chicken, necks and backs&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.584 (420-990)
    Chicken, heart and liver&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.1179 (888-1561)
    Chicken, liver&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;.1100

    Shrimp, freshwater, de-shelled,large...310 (305-315)
    Shrimp, medium........................ .........390 + 130
    Shrimp, cooked, small.......................11 0+/- 10
     
    #3 hobbs2004, Apr 28, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
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  4. tthomson

    tthomson PetForums Junior

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    I may have already been told this, but which taurine supplement would you recommend/do you uese? and where can it be purchased from?
    Thanks.
     
  5. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    If you want to go down the supplementary powder route, then I can recommend this: Felini Taurine: great deals on cat food and supplements at zooplus

    It comes with a little measuring spoon. Just add to a little tepid water (not hot water as this depletes the taurine levels), stir vigorously and pour over the food. I use an egg cup and do it once a day. Just make sure it dissolves properly. :thumbup:
     
    #5 hobbs2004, Apr 28, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
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  6. tthomson

    tthomson PetForums Junior

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    Great thanks - I take it you can't overdose on it, so if he's already getting enough it won't do any harm to get the extra?
     
  7. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    As far as I am aware to date there are only studies into what happens when cats do not get enough taurine. The general consensus is that you cannot easily overdose with taurine as it is secreted out with their urine (unlike certain Vitamins that do not get metabolised this way).

    I personally would err on the side of caution and supplement on a daily or twice daily basis than risk them not getting enough.
     
  8. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    There is very very little research into the effects of o/d of taurine. However as hobbs has said its not something that is stored in the body. Its excreted by their kidneys.

    I would be concerned about getting the balance just right if we were talking about a cat with PKD or other kidney disorder, because i wouldnt want to be putting more strain on their kidneys. For a healthy cat their kidneys should be able to cope with the excess without any difficulty.

    My cats have just had a taurine feast and game of hide n seek. I shut them all into the bathroom while i ran around the house hiding prawns, then they come out and go mad chasing and hunting them all down. Excellent taurine, and great environmental enrichment for my indoor puds! x
     
  9. Themis

    Themis PetForums Senior

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    Interesting report but I just wanted to add that it isn't strictly necessary to supplement if you are raw feeding, as long as you are feeding Taurine rich foods.

    My Cat's get a lot of heart, and Chicken or Turkey Thigh which all contain adequate levels of Taurine.
     
  10. FEWill

    FEWill PetForums Senior

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    Hi everyone,

    let it rip and flow--every article and every topic will always have debates, mistakes, and several thoughts

    That is whatt makes this the best site in the world for discussing different views.

    Although I do alot of research for each article, I am no where near an expert but do have some insight and practice what I preach

    After the raw meat article I had both my daughters switch to raw meat diets for their cats but they must be supplemented with taurine

    That is my view and for right now I hold to it simply because of the fact that cats can not produce it.

    By the way--what is a sticky?--what does that mean?

    Thanks,
    Frank
     
  11. bug_girl

    bug_girl PetForums Junior

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    I don't mean to be picky hobbs2004, but the figures in your post don't add up.

    "So none of them contain taurine to the extent to which they should (about 2000-2500g/kg)."
    I'm assuming thats just a typo (as it's impossible)- did you mean 2000-2500mg/kg?

    If so, where did you get that figure from? As if it's accurate, then it would make it basically impossible for a cat to ever get enough taurine from its diet (using the figures further down).

    Even if you fed a cat a diet that consisted entirely of the foods with the highest taurine content (chicken hearts) it'd be getting barely half of it's requirement.

    This would beg the question - how do feral cats survive and reproduce? Or indeed pet cats that aren't being given massive doses of taurine supplements?

    The following articles suggest a requirement of 500mg/kg (dry weight) for cat food, which would mean that over half the commercial cat foods you listed would contain the requisite amount.

    Nutrient Requirements of Cats, Revised Edition, 1986 (page 15)
    Wiley InterScience :: Session Cookies
     
  12. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Hello! Yes, that was a typo- thank you for pointing that out!

    Levels are per original post. Incidentally, I have seen the same levels cited in other pubs/articles.
     
  13. Janee

    Janee PetForums VIP

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    Just checked from the thread telling us Food4Cats was closing:


    Another source on taurine levels.
     
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  14. spud

    spud PetForums Newbie

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    So what levels are in Whiskas? If they are so low why don't more cats go blind?
     
  15. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    The figures in the OP's post come from guidelines issued by Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Similar levels are also recommended by the European equivalent FEDIAF.

    According to AFFCO and FEDIAF, the taurine content in dry food needs to be at least 1000mg/kg and 2000mg/kg for wet food to ensure minimum maintenance. FEDIAF even suggests 2500mg/kg taurine levels for wet commercial food for growth and reproduction (http://www.fediaf.org/FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines -Publication 2- 2008.pdf). If this link doesn't work now that they have redesigned their site, then it can be accessed from this page: http://www.fediaf.org/prepared-pet-food/recipes-and-processing/

    Spud - I have no idea how much taurine is in Whiskas. What does the UK packet say? Whiskas US contains 500mg/kg but I am not sure whether that is the case for UK foods too.

    Most complete commercial cat foods contain taurine to SOME extent, so a cat nowadays is very unlikely to suffer from extreme taurine deficiencies as outlined in pottenger's cats.

    Bug-girl; taurine is not just found in heart. Cats eating a raw diet get a lot of taurine from other sources, most notably liver, tongue and dark muscle meats.

    The above weights for commercial cat food would not apply to raw food as the food is not cooked and therefore no amino acids are destroyed in the cooking/processing processes. Yes, mincing does decrease the taurine content but nothing like cooking does.
     
    #15 hobbs2004, Jun 26, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
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  16. ccarriee

    ccarriee PetForums Junior

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    Can someone please advise how much taurine supplement I should use daily? Would 500mg per cat be enough? I've researched this many, many times but have come up with radically different suggestions!

    My two young cats weigh approximately 5.8kg and 3.8kg so obviously I'm prepared to vary the amount. I'm raw feeding with particular meats which are supposedly high in taurine content, such as heart and kidney, chicken thigh and turkey thigh, various pork meat, oily fish and shellfish, plus some liver and raw egg for their respective benefits. I'm also supplementing salmon oil. However, one of my cats isn't too keen on the tough heart or munching on bone so I'm investigating the supplementation of taurine and calcium.

    (Will repost some of this in another thread specifically regarding calcium)
     
  17. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Do you make up your own food? If yes, I add about 2gs of taurine to a 1kg of meat if you prepare it in advance to freeze. If you would rather supplement daily, then I would only add about 200mg per day per cat.

    Make sense?
     
  18. BSH

    BSH PetForums Senior

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    I have bought some Felini taurin supplement from Zooplus (I do know you can get in cheaper elsewhere!). It comes with a little measuring spoon but no instructions re: dosing. How much taurine does one of these spoons contain? How much should I give a cat in a day? Thanks
     
  19. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    This measuring spoon can hold up to 500mg I believe. Felini says that you can feed up to one measuring spoonful a day. But you cannot overdose your cat on it. It is water soluble so anything that isn't needed is excreted out.

    When I make up my cats food I put in up to 3g per 1.5kg. That means that they are getting about a max 200-250mg of taurine powder with their food a day.
     
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  20. BSH

    BSH PetForums Senior

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    Thank you!
     
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