Taurine and Feline Heart Disease
When it comes to feline heart disease, there is one method of prevention: proper nutrition. Like humans, cats need food that will keep them healthy and in shape. Yet, weight is not the only concern when it comes to feline nutrition. That's because there is one ingredient that is essential for preventing feline heart disease. It is an amino acid known as taurine.
Taurine helps prevent feline heart disease by strengthening the heart muscle. The only problem is that unlike other animals, cats can not produce taurine by themselves. Instead, they have to get it through their food. This is not a problem for cats in the wild, who get taurine from the meat they consume. However, domesticated cats usually eat processed foods, which may not contain the taurine levels they need.
So, how much taurine is necessary for preventing feline heart disease? According to The National Research Council, kittens need 400 mg of taurine while adult cats need around 500 mg. Yet, don't expect to see these figures on cat food any time soon. Why? Well, in the cat food industry taurine is an ingredient that is 'assumed' to already be in the food. This is especially the case for cat food that is high in protein. However, taurine decreases when meat is cooked. That's why canned food may not have as much taurine as dry food. Yet, if dry food doesn't contain as much protein it may also be lacking proper taurine levels.
With that being said, how can cat owners ensure they are getting food that contains the right amount of taurine? Well, their best bet is to discuss the issue with their vet, who should be able to recommend several brands. They could also give their cat taurine supplements. Some pet owners are already doing this when making homemade cat food.
Just remember that if you do decide to go this route, that 'L-taurine' is the same as 'taurine.' The 'L' is only added if the manufacturer wants to emphasize the chemistry associated with making taurine. In that vein, it should also be noted that synthesized taurine is just as powerful as taurine obtained from natural sources. So, if you see anything indicating that the taurine is synthesized, you don't have to worry as it is still effective.
In conclusion, if you want to lessen the odds that your cat develops feline heart disease, you will definitely want to make sure they are consuming enough taurine. Most likely, in today's time they probably are, especially as more brands are becoming aware of taurine's importance. However, since feline heart disease is nothing to play around with, you will want to do a bit of investigation. Your vet should be able to give you good recommendations, but if you want even more information, consider writing to the manufacturer directly. Tell them you heard about how taurine prevents feline heart disease, and you want to know if their food has the right amount. Hopefully, they can respond with concrete studies showing that they do. However, if they don't, just move on to the next brand.