As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.”
That goes for our feline friends, too.
Just like humans, what cats eat directly affects how they feel.
Take it from me and my cat, Lyo. As he’s gotten older, I’ve put more effort – and research – into what he needs nutritionally.
That’s how I discovered how taurine for cats, and a few other important supplements, could help Lyo become his spry, fleet-footed self once again.
The Benefits of a Taurine Supplement for Cats
If you’re like I was, “taurine” doesn’t ring any bells at the moment.
When I began reading up on the benefits of taurine for cats, I had to start at the very basics:
- What the heck is it?
- Where can I get it?
- Why does my cat need it?
So, if you’re in the same boat, you’re in good company. Keep reading as I’m going to share everything you need to know about taurine to get fluffy back to fe(e)line fine.
What is Taurine?
As you may remember from high school biology (I don’t, but good for you), amino acids are the building blocks responsible for protein production. In other words, they’re extremely important to overall health.
Taurine is one of these essential amino acids. It’s found throughout the body, including the nervous system and muscles. In a moment, I’ll go into more detail about what happens when it’s not found in your cat’s body, but sufficed to say, their health will suffer.
For now, just know that while cats’ bodies do make sufficient amounts of many amino acids on their own, taurine isn’t one of them.
Ours actually do, but don’t go rubbing that in. You can’t see in the dark or jump six times your height into the sky, so there.
Anyway, the point is that you need to include taurine in your cat’s diet, or they have a very real case for disowning you.
What Does Taurine Do for Cats?
So, let’s talk about why your cats need taurine.
Like, really needs taurine.
Taurine is something they 100%, absolutely must have in regular amounts to support all of the following:
- Heart Health
- Fetal Development
- Immune System
As you can see, those are pretty critical.
But again, cats need to get taurine from their diet. While their amazing little bodies can make 12 of the 23 amino acids they require for optimal health, taurine is one of the 11 that plays hard to get.
Furthermore, cats’ bodies don’t store large amounts of taurine, which is why they need a regular supply of it to maintain optimal health.
If you’re not feeding your cat taurine, that may explain some of the issues I’ll tackle next (Unfortunately, your cat’s judgmental side-eye is NOT an effect of lack of taurine…).
What Happens When Cats Don’t Get Enough Taurine?
It’s a sad fact that cats can’t talk (there may be some exceptions).
So, they aren’t able to tell you when they’re running low on taurine.
Even worse, taurine deficiency in cats isn’t readily apparent. Depending on how old your cat is, it could be months before you finally realize something is wrong.
Read our article, 8 Signs of Pain in Cats, to get ahead of future problems for cats and give them the necessary treatments to help.
Pregnant cats require adequate amounts of taurine to stay healthy and ensure that their babies are developing properly. When mother cats don’t receive enough, their litter sizes tend to be smaller. The kittens themselves may be smaller, too, or can even suffer fetal abnormalities.
Once they’re born, kittens still need a regular supply of taurine to maintain healthy bodyweights as they grow.
For all cats, one of the main consequences of taurine deficiency is feline central retinal degeneration (FCRD). That’s a fancy way of saying that your cat’s retinal cells will eventually degenerate to the point that they have trouble seeing. They could even suffer irreversible blindness.
Another common repercussion is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), which means your cat’s heart muscles will start to weaken. If DCM goes untreated for too long, it can result in death.
How about some good news now?
If you catch the deficiency soon enough, both of those scary problems are reversible with proper taurine supplementation. Obviously, you’d want to speak to your veterinarian, too.
What Are Good Sources of Taurine for Cats?
In one word, the best source of taurine for cats is…
(Drum roll, please)
This should come as no surprise, of course. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must have meat in their diets.
I mean, have you seen their teeth?
Of course, your furry friend probably doesn’t use them quite the same way they would in the wild. Unless you have a mouse problem, your cat most likely preys on the cans of food you provide them.
Not to worry.
You don’t have to send your friend into the forest to look for adequate amounts of taurine. If you know what to look for, you’ll have no problem feeding them food that is rich in taurine and delicious.
What Foods Contain Taurine for Cats?
It’s not hard to find these important sources of taurine for your cat. In this section, I’m going to explain your three main options and recommend the one that I have found to be best for Lyo.
Taurine in Commercial Cat Food
For the first option, look no farther than your local grocery or pet-food store.
All commercial cat foods contain taurine and usually in sufficient amounts. However, stay away from any brands that list either grain or corn as the first ingredient since increased dietary fiber can decrease the absorption of taurine.
Homemade Cat Food
Making homemade meals for your little friend is great, but you must be careful to use ingredients with sufficient amounts of taurine for your cat.
So, what are some good taurine sources?
Red meats and poultry (in particular organ meat like liver and heart) are great sources of taurine. Eggs and dairy are also good sources of protein. Believe it or not, shellfish, such as shrimp and clams, are some of the best sources of taurine for your cat. I personally recommend you treat yours to shellfish as often as you can.
Commercial Taurine Supplements for Cats
If you are concerned that your feline friend is not getting enough taurine with their normal meals, commercial supplements are a fantastic way of increasing their dosage. Just 1000 mg of taurine a day will meet their needs.
Keep in mind that supplementing your cat’s taurine will not hurt them even if they are already receiving a sufficient amount in their diet. Still, as with any big dietary decision, you should consult a veterinarian on the dosage just to be sure.
The Case for Liquid Supplements that Contain Taurine for Cats
Commercial processing can negatively affect taurine levels in your cat’s food.
And, as I touched on earlier, increased dietary fiber can hinder its absorption.
While cat foods that contain high-quality animal-based protein should supply your cat with enough taurine, not all cat food is created equal. Some just won’t get your cat enough of the taurine they need.
This is why I absolutely love liquid taurine supplements for my cat, Lyo. No matter what I feed him, it’s easy to mix the supplement into his food to ensure he gets that all-important amino acid.
Getting the Right Liquid Taurine Supplements for Your Cat
Just like all “high-quality” cat foods don’t offer identical benefits, the same can be said for liquid taurine supplements meant for cats.
That’s why, as the founder of Paramount Pet Health, I researched the potential effects of taurine for cats while creating our glucosamine for cats supplement because I desperately wanted to help Lyo get back to his old self.
As I shared in this article about him, the reason I began searching was that, at only 10-years-old, he had stopped jumping up into the window as much. When he did, he would begin limping after jumping back down. He also stopped running through the house after his favorite toy, the laser pointer. Instead, he just walked after it.
Within three days of adding our glucosamine for cats supplement to his food, he was no longer limping around the house.
By the end of the week, Lyo was regularly jumping up in the window again and again. He even began chasing the laser pointer around our house again at lightning speed!
After witnessing these results, I carefully created a liquid supplement based on medical and veterinary studies that contains not only taurine but a variety of other ingredients to help care for your aging cat and have them stay in tip-top – and tail – shape.
Paramount Pet Health Liquid Glucosamine for Cats also contains 260 mg Glucosamine, 50 mg of Chondroitin, and 120 mg of MSM to soothe inflammation and help relieve arthritis, making it an incredible health supplement and a practical way to support your arthritic kitty.
What the Ingredients in My Glucosamine Supplement Do for Cats
I know you wouldn’t want to give your cat anything without first knowing what’s in it.
I’m the same way.
Of course, I created this formula from scratch, so I can tell you exactly how its main ingredients will help your little ball of fur.
- Glucosamine: This is a naturally occurring compound found in cartilage. Due to age or illness, your cat may not be able to create enough glucosamine to support healthy cartilage on their own, so this is a great supplement for helping them stay mobile. We add only the best glucosamine for cats to our formula. Read more on glucosamine and if it is safe for cats.
- Chondroitin: Another substance that occurs naturally in the body, chondroitin helps cartilage retain water, which is especially helpful for easing joint pain in cats.
- Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM): This is a purified form of sulfur that helps your cat’s body absorb the glucosamine-chondroitin mix. I added this ingredient to make sure your buddy benefits as much as possible from all the others.
The best part is that our supplement is easy to mix with food, which means no matter how crafty your furry friend is, you can expect a clean bowl. This was a requirement for me as nothing is worse than trying to negotiate with a stubborn cat about eating something they don’t like.
The liquid formula also provides superior absorption compared to pills, chewables, and taurine powder. This is one more reason our supplement is purrrrrfect for adding to your cat’s food, instead of trying to administer it directly.
The Bottom Line on Taurine for Cats
Through and through, cats are carnivores.
In the wild, a cat’s prey is mice and birds.
As a pet, a cat’s prey is the food you provide.
So, as cat owners who (I assume) don’t want to go out and capture mice and birds every day, it’s up to us to feed our feline companions what they need to stay spry and fleet-of-foot.
For me, this has meant giving my Lyo a taurine supplement designed specifically for cats. If you’re thinking about doing the same but have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I would love to help you and your cat.