Many pet owners know that cats require taurine in their diet. Most, however, are unaware that taurine is only one of eleven currently identified essential amino acids. Over twenty amino acids are required for a balanced feline diet, but most of them can be synthesized within the cat’s body; those eleven “essentials” can NOT be manufactured by our cats and must be supplied via their diet. They are: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrptophan, valine, and, of course, taurine.
Two more amino acids are conditionally essential: carnitine and tyrosine. Black cats that are deficient in tyrosine will develop a reddish brown tinge to their fur.
The pet food industry didn’t start adding sufficient levels of taurine to their products until the late 1980’s, when Dr. Paul Pion linked the lack of it to the deaths of thousands of cats.
Thankfully – naturally! – fresh meats contain amino acids in abundance. Feeding a fresh, balanced diet will ensure your kitty gets her daily dose of all 22. 🙂