Taurine is an amino acid that’s an essential part of any cat’s diet. It’s especially valuable for heart health, but it can also be used to boost platelet creation and retinal function.
Sadly, though, many commercial foods are lacking in taurine, leaving it to concerned cat owners to figure out a way to make up the difference. Given that taurine deficiency can cause everything from blindness to abnormal skeletal growth, it’s important that you make absolutely certain your kitty is getting enough in their diet.
Fortunately, there are many natural sources of taurine that you can feed your cat to keep them healthy — and better still, many of them are things that cats find irresistible.
Chicken is an excellent source of taurine, but not all parts of the bird are equally good. The legs and liver are your best bets, as they’re packed with taurine and other important amino acids.
You can skip chicken fat or skin, though, as those parts are completely lacking in taurine. It’s only found in muscle tissue (but your kitty will still likely appreciate the chance to scarf down the taurine-free parts).
All beef has some taurine in it, but the internal organs are the biggest sources in the animal. The heart and liver are swimming in it, so ask your butcher for some of their less-requested cuts.
One good thing about feeding your cat these organs is the fact that they’re often large, so you can get value for your money. A single beef heart could feed your cat for several meals.
Most shellfish are loaded with taurine, but shrimp and clams have more than any other animal source. You can also give your cat krill and scallops, if they’ll eat it.
However, you should be aware that shellfish doesn’t have much else going for it, nutritionally speaking. As a result, it should only be fed as a taurine supplement, and it should never form the bulk of your cat’s diet.
Eggs have quite a bit of taurine, but like shellfish, they don’t have all the other vitamins and minerals that cats need to stay healthy. They should only be fed as a treat or supplement.
Only serve your cat cooked eggs, though, as raw eggs could be filled with salmonella. If you want to give your cat a little extra moisture in their diet, however, a runny egg can be a good choice.
Many types of fish offer plenty of taurine, which is just one of the reasons that fish is such a staple of many cat foods. Unlike some of the other ingredients shown here, fish usually has everything that your cat needs from a nutritional standpoint.
The best type of fish to feed your cat from a taurine standpoint is whitefish. Tuna and cod are also excellent, but just about any commercially sold fish will do.
Like chicken, turkey is full of taurine, but stick to the dark meat. It has significantly more taurine than white meat, so the legs and thighs are your best bets.
You should also give your kitty the internal organs, if you can get your hands on them, especially the heart and liver.
Dark meat from lamb has a respectable amount of taurine, but there’s less than you’d find in some of the other sources on this list. Given how much more expensive lamb is than, say, chicken, you’re probably better off going with another option.
However, if you get the opportunity to feed your cat some lamb, go for it. Their heart will thank you.
A Quick Note About Solubility
Taurine is highly water-soluble. That means that when you cook meat that contains taurine, the water will evaporate, taking the taurine with it.
As a result, if you want to give your cat the most taurine possible, then serving them raw meat is the best way to do so. However, some meats aren’t safe for cats to eat without being cooked, so check with your vet before you give your cat anything raw.
Don’t Skimp on the Taurine
It may not get as much press as protein and other important amino acids, but taurine is just as essential to your cat’s health. It’s critical that your cat gets plenty of it if you want them to stick around for a while.
Luckily, taurine is mostly found in animal sources, so you shouldn’t have any issue convincing your cat to increase their intake.
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