Taurine is an important component found in all IAMS™ kitten foods. This essential amino acid 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, kittens cannot manufacture a sufficient amount 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 also can be added separately.
Why Does IAMS Add Taurine to Kitten Diets?
IAMS kitten foods are formulated with high-quality animal-based proteins as their primary ingredient. In addition, they are supplemented with extra taurine.
We supplement taurine in IAMS dry and canned cat foods to ensure we provide optimal levels of this essential nutrient. IAMS wet kitten foods, such as IAMS™ Perfect Portions™ Healthy Kitten Paté with Chicken, are supplemented with taurine because they must contain as much as twice the amount of taurine found in dry food for cats to maintain adequate blood taurine levels. The canning process may affect the complex taurine balance in your cat or kitten. Our wet cat foods are supplemented with taurine to meet these higher needs.
IAMS dry kitten foods, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten, 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.
Effects of Taurine Deficiency
Kittens that eat a diet deficient in taurine can develop several serious health conditions.
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.
Taurine is also necessary for normal function of the heart muscle cells. Taurine deficiency leads to a weakening of the heart muscle, which, in turn, can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal.
To help protect your kitten’s health, both now and when she is fully grown, make sure to feed a diet with sufficient taurine. Learn more about the nutritional needs of kittens.
Case L, et al. Canine and Feline Nutrition. 3rd ed. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier, 2011.
Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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