Taurine is one of the most critical amino acids in your cat’s diet. Though many commercial cat foods lack a suitable amount of taurine, cats need it for heart health, retinal function, and more. Without taurine, cats can develop many serious issues, including blindness and abnormal skeletal growth.
If you’re worried that your cat isn’t getting enough taurine, this article is here to help. You will learn about 8 natural sources of taurine, as well as how much taurine your cat needs daily and signs of taurine deficiency. Keep reading to learn all of this and more.
How Much Taurine Your Cat Needs Daily
How much taurine your cat needs depends on your cat’s size. A good rule of thumb is to provide your cat with 10 mg of taurine relative to the cat’s body weight in kg a day. For most cats, this will be anywhere between 35 and 55 mg of taurine a day.
For example, let’s say that your cat is just about 8 pounds, which is equivalent to roughly 3.6 kilograms. Based on the recommendation above, your cat should get 36 mg of taurine a day based on its weight.
Keep in mind that this is the minimum requirement. If you feed your cat more taurine than the minimum, your cat likely won’t experience any negative side effects. So far, there have been no negative reports of taurine toxicity in cats.
Signs of Taurine Deficiency
Here are some signs your cat is experiencing taurine deficiency:
8 Natural Taurine Sources for Cats
Here are 8 natural sources of taurine that you can feed your cat:
|Dark meat and organs
|110 mg/100 g (raw liver), 170 mg/100 g (raw dark meat)
Chicken is the top source for taurine, which is why many cat food has a chicken flavor and ingredients. Dark meat chicken is especially the best. In contrast, the fat and skin of chicken does not have any taurine. So, feed your cat chicken meat from the legs or liver but avoid the fat and skin.
|Dark meat and organs
|306 mg/100 g (raw dark meat)
Turkey is much like chicken in terms of its taurine content. Turkey legs and thighs will have the most amount of taurine because that is where the dark meat is located. The organs of the turkey also provide a lot of taurine and nutrition for your cat. Once again, avoid the turkey skin and fat, though there isn’t much fat to avoid.
|6 mg/100 g (liver raw), 63.2 mg/100 g (heart raw), 43.1 mg/100 g (meat raw)
Poultry isn’t the only type of meat with taurine. All beef has some taurine in it. The internal organs are the best, especially the heart and the liver. We recommend requesting these lesser used cuts, no matter how gross they may seem to you, to get your cat some extra taurine from beef.
|Dark meat and organs
|43.8 mg/100 g (raw dark meat)
Lamb doesn’t have quite as much taurine as most other poultry and beef, but you can certainly feed lamb to your cat if you have some on hand. Much like poultry, feed your cat the dark meat of lamb instead of the light meat.
|All raw, especially whitefish
|113 mg/100 g (whitefish raw)
Fish often have a lot of taurine, which is why it’s used in many cat foods. It also comes with other nutritional benefits for your cats. That being said, don’t overfeed fish to your cats because of its high fat content. Instead, only feed fish once or twice a week.
|240 mg/ 100g (raw clams)
All types of shellfish have an insane amount of taurine. Of the different types of shellfish, shrimp and clams have the highest amount of taurine. Krill and scallops also have a decent taurine content, but it isn’t as high as the other mentioned shellfish varieties.
In comparison to the other meat sources on this list, we don’t recommend shellfish simply because it does not offer many nutritional benefits for cats, other than the taurine. With the other protein sources, there are many nutritional benefits in addition to taurine.
|Cooked with runny yolk
|350 mg in one egg
Eggs are controversial. There are mixed studies – some of them found very low taurine levels and some found very high ones. Taurine levels seems to be affected by the feed and supplementation of the hen. Regardless, eggs are a good source of nutrition to your cat; however, we recommend only feeding boiled eggs to your cat to avoid any potential Salmonella spp. infection.
|8 mg/ 100g (cooked loin)
Finally, the last natural taurine-packed food on our list is pork. Pork offers a good amount of taurine, but you can only serve pork to your cat if it is cooked and the bones have been completely removed. Because of this fact, some people don’t find pork as convenient as some of the above-mentioned options.
If you were paying attention, you noticed that most of the foods high in taurine should be served raw to your cat. If you do not have the stomach to serve raw meat to your feline, you can opt for taurine supplements instead. Taurine supplements will often have fewer calories but not offer as many nutritional advantages as raw meat will.
The best taurine supplement is designed to be put over your cat’s food, almost like a powder. We recommend the Dr. Tim’s Beef Taurine Supplement or the Thomas Labs Felo Taurine Powder Cat Supplement. Both options are affordable and ensure your cat gets the taurine it needs.
Nearly all meat comes with some degree of taurine. Based on taurine content, additional health benefits, and convenience, we recommend feeding your cat raw chicken, turkey, or beef. All three of these options are easy to get ahold of, won’t break the bank, and provide a lot of taurine for your cat.
If you cannot handle the idea of feeding raw meat to your cat, simply pick up a taurine supplement instead. Although the supplement won’t offer as many nutritional benefits as raw meat, it can ensure your cat gets the taurine it needs without upsetting your stomach.
Featured Image Credit: Fayzulin Serg, Shutterstock