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 Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins, taurine is an amino acid found exclusively in animal proteins. Many amino acids can be produced within the body of humans and animals, while some can only be obtained through food, these are known as “essential” amino acids. While dogs and people can synthesize taurine from other amino acids, cats cannot. Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats, if they don’t receive enough in their diet, their health will eventually begin to decline.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and taurine is naturally found in uncooked meat which makes up a considerable portion of diets in wild cats. Cooking can degrade or destroy taurine, which is why commercial cat foods typically supplement their recipes with taurine. Since taurine is not stored in large quantities in the body and cats metabolize it quickly, taurine must be included in their diet every day. 


Symptoms of taurine deficiency in cats are slow to develop and may not be apparent for many months. Symptoms are mainly degenerative, becoming progressively worse over time.

Signs of taurine deficiency include:

Retinal degeneration

  • Feline central retinal degeneration (FCRD): Taurine helps maintain the health of the retina. With a taurine deficiency, the cells within the retina start to degrade, which can lead to blindness.


  • A taurine deficiency can cause degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Unfortunately, once these cells are lost, they can’t be replaced.

Weakening of the muscles of the heart

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) occurs when the heart muscles become enlarged, making the heart unable to pump blood adequately and may lead to Congestive Heart Failure and death if not addressed.

Digestive issues

  • Taurine is found in bile salts, which are produced in the liver and help with a cat’s digestion. A taurine deficiency leads to digestive problems.

Fetal abnormalities

  • Taurine is necessary for a healthy pregnancy, kittens born to mothers with a taurine deficiency have delayed growth and development, low birth weights and small litters.

Immune System Disorders

  • Without enough taurine, your cat’s immune system may not be able to fight off viruses as easily as healthy cats and may suffer from frequent illnesses.

If caught early, it may be possible to reverse the effects of a taurine deficiency with dietary supplementation in addition to eating an appropriate diet. Taurine is a vitally important nutrient that all cats need in their daily diet. If you are concerned about your cat not getting enough taurine, speak with your vet.

by Cher Thorsen, CNP




Vykon Canine
Vykon Pets founded by Lisa Pitel-Killah, Hair Mineral Analysis Expert & Educator, Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Functional Diagnostic Practitioner, and multi-time Kettlebell Sport World Champion.  Her animal study includes Holistic Carnivore and Equine Nutritionist and advanced Animal HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis). Lisa is the host of the Human Optimization podcast and the co-host of the annual HTMA Virtual Summit, bringing mineral education to the masses.  The science of HTMA can identify exactly what your body, or your animal’s body, needs to thrive.  Customize, simplify, and revitalize life with Vykon.


Sue’s background includes being a two sport athlete in University and a member of Ontario Field Hockey team. She completed her CIS eligibility in College for photojournalism following 25 years as a photojournalist. Supporting two daughters through competitive hockey, Sue discovered her passion for Holistic Nutrition and returned to study at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, graduating with her Certified Nutrition Practitioner designation. She has a strong passion for supporting people through chronic stress. Sue enjoys time on the water, has her Level 1 SUP certification and recently started racing.


Kailan spent her youth on her family farm; from a young age she developed an interest in how the mental and physical wellness of animals can impact their bonding and performance. After improving the health of her equine companions, she has had some pivotal moments resulting in multiple national championship titles. Her inherent passion for health coupled with her degree in engineering has led her on this journey to help humans and animals alike realize the benefits of optimized health.  

Kailan’s goal is to enlighten others to the resources available, aid in resolving root cause of barriers and breakdown misconceptions surrounding poor behavioural patterns.


Yielding over a decade of professionalism in design and entrepreneurship, Grace is in charge of the many multimedia projects at Vykon. With an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design, her artistic eye and a flair for creativity brings a unique touch to every project she undertakes. When she’s not working, Grace enjoys trying new recipes, watching movies and spending an afternoon in an art gallery.