The effect of dietary taurine content on the plasma taurine concentration of the cat

Br J Nutr. 1991 Sep;66(2):227-35. doi: 10.1079/bjn19910027.


The essential role of taurine in the diet of the cat has been well documented and a deficiency of this nutrient is known to be responsible for a number of clinical conditions. At present, the National Research Council (1986) recommendation for the minimum dietary requirement of the kitten is 400 mg/kg dry matter and for a pregnant cat is 500 mg/kg dry matter. However, these minima were established by feeding the animals on semi-purified diets and, therefore, may be inappropriate for other dietary regimens. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of feeding a series of specially prepared diets containing different concentrations of taurine (canned diets 1475-5750 mg/kg dry matter, dry diets 811-1240 mg/kg dry matter) on the plasma taurine concentration of the cat. All diets were fed solus for 6 weeks and plasma taurine concentration was measured every 2 weeks. The results showed that to maintain plasma taurine values in the 'normal' range (less than 60 mumol/l), a canned diet must supply at least 39 mg taurine/kg body-weight per d and a dry diet at least 19 mg/kg body-weight per d; a cat fed on a semi-purified diet need only achieve a daily intake of at least 10 mg taurine/kg body-weight to maintain an adequate circulating level of taurine. The cause of the reduced availability of taurine from these diets is not yet known. Furthermore, repletion of plasma concentration above 60 mumol/l can be achieved within 2 weeks of feeding an adequate diet.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cats / blood*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Taurine / administration & dosage*
  • Taurine / blood*


  • Taurine