The effects of heat processing (Maillard reaction) and addition of antibiotics to diets on the metabolism of taurine in adult cats were studied. Groups of four cats were given daily 22 g/kg body weight one of four purified diets based on casein and starch. All diets contained the same major ingredients as the control (diet 1), except for starch substitutions. Diet 2 was autoclaved; in diet 3, 50 g glucose replaced 50 g starch before autoclaving; in diet 4, only the casein component was autoclaved with 50 g glucose before addition to the diet. Diets were fed for 5 wk, then a mixture of antibiotics was added to all diets and they were fed for a further 5 wk. In the first (no antibiotics) period, cats given the Maillard reaction products (diets 3 and 4) had a significant depletion of plasma and whole blood taurine and had twice the fecal, but less than half the urinary total taurine excretion of control cats. The addition of antibiotics to the diets restored plasma and whole blood concentration in cats given diets 3 and 4, reduced fecal and increased urinary taurine excretion, and decreased fecal cholyltaurine hydrolase activity. These results suggest that Maillard reaction products promote an enteric flora that favors degradation of taurine and decreases recycling of taurine by the enterohepatic route.