Cats cannot create their own taurine from other amino acid building blocks so it is essential to ensure the diet your cat is eating provides sufficient amounts of taurine. Cats are unable to synthesize their own taurine because of their minimal activity of the enzymes Cysteine Dioxygenase and Cysteine Sulfinic Acid Decarboxylase. Cats must receive taurine requirements from the muscle tissues of their prey.
Taurine is an essential amino acid needed to maintain proper eye and heart function; but it is also found to be important for fetal development, growth, reproduction, neuro-modulation, sight, hearing, blood platelet, immune response, antioxidation, and production bile acid.
For dogs, taurine is not considered an essential dietary amino acid. Dogs are able to synthesize sufficient taurine when the sulphur amino acid precursors, Methionine and/or Cysteine, are present in adequate amounts in their raw diet.
Natural Taurine in Raw Diets
The average cat needs about 1000mg of taurine for every 2.2 pounds of food, or roughly 100mg per day. A species appropriate, Prey Model Raw, diet is abundant in taurine. It is important to note, heat destroys more than half (about 65%) of the taurine content and vegetables contain almost no measurable amounts of taurine.
Optimize Taurine Intake Levels
Feeding whole prey is optimal for raw fed cats. Small whole prey is high in taurine, fully balanced, and the appropriate size for a cat. Second to feeding whole prey, Franken Prey feeding is a way to provide whole cuts in a variety of proteins. These two feeding methods provides adequate amounts of taurine.
Grinding meat decreases the taurine content by increasing the surface area of the meat and exposes the amino acid to the air. This results in oxidation of taurine which decreases the overall available taurine.
Provide a Taurine Rich Diet
Muscle meat contains fairly high amounts of taurine. The amount of taurine in meat depends on how much work the muscle does. Darker meat indicates hard working muscles thus higher levels of taurine. The heart, being the hardest-working muscle in the body, contains the highest amounts of taurine.
Larger animals, such as cattle, have a lower concentration of taurine. Smaller animals have a much higher concentration of taurine. Taurine is abundant in most fish, birds, and rodents.
When defrosting frozen meats to feed be sure to feed the thawed out juices in the meal. When meat defrosts, majority of the available taurine is left behind in the thawed raw juices.