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The Importance of Taurine in Cat Food

Taurine For Cats It's Benefits, Sources & Requirements

Taurine is an important component to all IAMS™ cat foods, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Adult Original with Chicken.

Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in kittens. It is also needed to form the bile salts that aid in digestion. Unlike other amino acids, taurine is found as a free amino acid in body tissues such as the heart and eyes and is not incorporated into proteins.

Most mammals manufacture taurine from other amino acids. However, cats cannot manufacture enough and, therefore, must acquire enough additional taurine through diet to meet their needs. In pet food, taurine is naturally found in animal-based protein ingredients and can also be added separately.

How Does Taurine Help?

Taurine helps in maintaining normal vision, heart muscle function, digestion, normal pregnancy and fetal development, and a healthy immune system. Taurine for cats can only be found in animal-derived proteins.

Taurine Occurrence In Dogs Vs Cats

  • Dogs:

    Taurine can be made by dogs from two other amino acids: cysteine and methionine. As a result, it isn't regarded necessary in their diet. But since taurine is an important ingredient, you can add it to your pet’s diet due to its numerous health benefits.

    Taurine criteria for commercial dog food have yet to be established. If you are worried that your dog may have inadequate taurine or if you need guidance on how much taurine to include in your dog's diet, it is best to consult your veterinarian. 

  • Cats:

    It is vital to include taurine in your cat’s food because cats cannot synthesize it. If your cat's food has too little taurine, it will become taurine deficient, which can lead to a range of major health concerns. For example, taurine could cause your cat’s retinas to degenerate and make your pet go blind. Further, this lack of taurine can stifle growth and make it difficult for you cat to reproduce.

    Therefore, the minimum taurine requirement for adult cats in commercial pet food is 25mg/100 kcal for dry food and 50mg/100 kcal for canned foods, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials Publication, 2018. However, because taurine requirements vary from one cat to the next, it's always a good idea to check with your vet if you're concerned that your pet isn't getting enough.


Why Does IAMS Add Taurine To Cat Diets?

IAMS dry cat foods also include taurine as an ingredient to supplement the primary source of this amino acid, which is animal-based protein from sources such as chicken, egg, lamb, and fish. However, these sources can vary in their taurine content, and adding more taurine is a sound approach to ensure optimal taurine levels.Ü

Importance Of Taurine For Cats

Health benefits of Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid found in muscles, the heart, the brain, and the retina, among other tissues and organs. Unlike most amino acids, taurine does not form cell proteins but has a variety of other functions. Here are some taurine benefits for cats:

  • It helps to strengthen the heart.
  • It helps to maintain a healthy blood flow.
  • It helps to protect the retina and vision.
  • ıt enhances your cat’s reproductive health.
  • Its antioxidizing effect aids in the prevention of ageing.

Why Do Cats Need Taurine?

Taurine deficiency can cause serious health problems for your cat over time because it is required for many regular metabolic functions. Some of the issues include:

  • Immune system weakness - Disease recovery is slow
  • Low energy - Energy levels are affected by nutritional deficits
  • Feline Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) – It is a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged
  • Digestive issues - Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Feline Retinal Degeneration in the Center (FCRD) - Loss of vision with time
  • Problems with reproduction - Infertility or kittens born with a low birth weight and poor growth
  • Problems with health - Taurine impacts blood sugar levels, and taurine shortage can lead to feline diabetes
  • Skin and coat that ae dry and unhealthy – Your cat's fur may grow dry and flaky if he doesn't get enough taurine
  • Problems with the teeth - Tartar accumulation, cavities, and bad breath.


What Are Some Effects Of Taurine Deficiency?

  • Blindness
    Taurine is essential to the proper development and function of cells in the retina of the eye. If insufficient taurine is present, the retinal cells don’t function properly and may die, eventually causing impaired vision and even blindness. This process is referred to as feline central retinal degeneration.
  • Heart Disease
    Taurine is also necessary for normal function of the heart muscle cells. Taurine deficiency leads to weakening of the heart muscle, which, in turn, can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal.
  • Decreased Reproductive Performance And Growth
    Taurine is necessary for optimal reproductive and growth performance. Both the queen and kittens must maintain adequate taurine levels during pregnancy, lactation, and growth to ensure proper structural development.
  • Immune System Disorders
    The immune system of cats may not work properly if they don't get enough taurine. As a result, cats may be unable to fight viruses and become prone to disease.
  • Decreased Energy Levels
    Cats with low energy levels may look fatigued and sedentary.
  • Digestive Problems 
    Taurine for cats also aids in the production of bile salts, which are necessary for fat digestion. Cats may get diarrhea and digestive problems if they don't get enough taurine.
  • Reproductive Issues
    Cats with taurine deficiency can also face fertility issues.
  • Dental Issues 
    Taurine is an amino acid that keeps a cat's teeth strong and healthy. Cavities are more likely to build when there is a lack of it.

Taurine In IAMS Cat Foods

IAMS cat foods are formulated with high-quality, animal-based proteins as their primary ingredient. In addition, they are supplemented with extra taurine to ensure balanced levels of essential amino acids. 

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult with Chicken and Salmon are one of the best foods to feed your cat. This nutrient-dense cat food is available in chicken and salmon flavors. These food ingredients act as the first ingredient to promote a healthy body for play. It also contains natural fiber and prebiotics, which help your cat's digestion. What’s more is that it helps your cat develop strong muscles with rich amounts of protein and provides a complete and balanced diet with no fillers. 


  1. Does Taurine Have Any Side Effects For Cats?
  2. Taurine has no significant side effects and is well-tolerated by cats when added correctly. The only side effect reported is minor vomiting which is lessened by providing a supplement with food.

  3. Is Taurine Ok For Cats?
  4. In the late 1980s, taurine was discovered to be an essential component of a cat's diet. Since then, all cat foods have been enriched with plenty of taurine to suit their individual demands.

  5. What Causes Taurine Deficiency In Cats?
  6. A high number of cats given unfortified commercial foods suffer from taurine insufficiency. Because cats can't absorb all of the taurine in processed foods and/or can't synthesis the difference between absorption and demand, taurine is considered an essential amino acid for cats.

  • Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean
    Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean
    Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean

    Listen up, Mom or Dad, because your feline definitely has something to say. Cats use more than 100 different vocal sounds to communicate. Here are nine of the most common sounds you’ll hear and what your cat’s unique language means.




    While your cat’s purrs are usually a sign that they’re happy, comfortable or content, it’s important to point out that your cat might also purr when they are anxious, agitated or sick — because purring soothes them. The key to figuring out if it’s a “worry purr” is to check if their ears are folded back, if they seem tense or if they just aren’t acting normal. (If that’s the case, call the vet and grab the cat carrier.)



    Why do cats meow? It’s simple: It’s their way of communicating with us!

    Meows are your cat’s most common “word,” and every one means something different. For example, your cat might meow to greet you when you come home, to ask you to open your bedroom door so they can curl up on your pillow, or to say, “I’d like some more tasty kibble or a second serving of IAMS® PERFECT PORTIONS™ paté, s’il vous plaît.


    Chirps and Trills

    Chirps and trills are the loving language of cat mothers. Chirps, or chirrups, are staccato, bird-like sounds mother cats use to say to their kittens, “Follow me.” Trills are higher-pitched chirps your cat uses to say hello or “Pay attention to me.” When your cat directs these sounds at you, chances are they want you to give them some love or follow them somewhere, usually to their food or water bowl. (Shocker, LOL.)

    If you have more than one feline fur baby, listen closely. You’ll likely hear your cats talk to each other with these sounds.




    When your kitty spies an unsuspecting bird or squirrel frolicking outside the window, they might make a chattering sound at it. This distinctive, repetitive clicking noise is caused by a combination of lip smacking and your cat rapidly vibrating their lower jaw. This odd behavior looks like teeth chattering, and a lot of cats also chirp when they chatter.

    This clickety sound is thought to be a mix of predatory excitement and frustration at not being able to get to the elusive feathered or furry prize. Some animal behaviorists even think the sound mimics a fatal bite used to break the bones of their prey. Who knew your li’l feline was so ferocious?!

    Regardless of the exact reason cats chatter or chirp at birds and other small animals, most feline parents find it fascinating and amusing to watch.




    The unmistakable sound of a cat hissing is like a steak hitting a hot skillet, and it can only mean one thing: Your cat feels threatened and will put up a fight if they have to. Just as important as the hissing sound, however, is the cat body language that comes with it. Your cat will flatten their ears, arch their back, puff their fur, twitch their tail and usually open their mouth to flash their fangs — aka the classic defensive pose.



    Snarls and Growls

    In addition to a hiss, if your cat makes a deep, guttural growlsound, they’re saying, “Back off.” Similar to a dog’s growl, this noise means your cat is annoyed, scared or angry. Some cats even make short, higher-pitched snarl sounds before launching into a full-blown growl.

    While these sounds usually signify an unhappy cat, it’s important to note that some cats growl because they’re in pain from an injury or a health problem. If you suspect this is the case, a trip to the vet is in order.

    If your feline snarls or growls at you for any reason, though, it’s best to leave your feisty friend alone.



    A yowl, or howl, is a long, drawn-out meow that almost sounds like moaning; it’s your cat’s way of telling you they’re worried or distressed, or that they need you. They might have gotten locked in a closet, can’t find you anywhere or, heaven forbid, have discovered their food bowl is empty. Your cat might also yowl when they don’t feel well or when a new neighborhood cat trespasses on their turf.

    Whatever the reason, make sure you immediately help your cat whenever you hear a yowl. Trust us — you’ll both be glad you did.


    Your Cat’s Language: What Meows, Chirps and Yowls Mean