Buying cat food can be a bit overwhelming because of all the variety. Should you buy dry food or wet food? What about grain-free options? Is poultry the best protein option for felines, or is fish better? Which additional supplements are essential for your cat? One essential supplement is taurine. Taurine is an amino acid critical for your cat’s heart muscle function, vision, and digestion. It is also needed for a solid and functional immune system.
Cats need to get access to taurine to keep their organs and system working in their food, and it’s found in animal-based proteins. While most cat foods contain some animal protein, you want to ensure that your cat is getting the right amount of taurine. This review goes over our top choices for cat food with taurine that will benefit your feline’s health.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Cat Foods with Taurine – Reviews & Top Picks of 2021
1. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food – Best Overall
|Main Ingredients||Chicken meal, sweet potatoes, venison, smoked salmon|
Our top recommendation for cat food with a higher level of taurine is Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food. This is an excellent choice because of its blend of ingredients. Grain-free cat food is becoming more widely used for people’s furry felines since grains are not a traditional part of a cat’s diet. Rocky Mountain Grain-Free contains a high-quality mix of proteins and has taurine listed early in the ingredient list. It also includes fruits and vegetables that provide additional vitamins to your cat’s daily diet.
While this is a great taurine-rich food for your cats, Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain is a bit more expensive than the average cat food. In addition, salmon is one of the top ingredients, so if your cat has a seafood allergy, this is not a good choice.
2. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Chicken Dry Cat Food – Best Value Food
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, rice flour, chicken and soybean meal, beef fat, corn|
If you think that your cat might not be getting enough taurine in its diet, our budget recommendation is Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend. There are several great high-taurine cat food options on the market, but you do not want to pay a lot for a cat food your pet might not like. While Purina One Tender Selects Blend has a little bit less taurine than other premium brands, the percentage of taurine per serving is still beneficial overall.
This blend has a lower amount of fat and protein, making this blend not the best choice for underweight cats or highly active cats.
3. Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried – Best Premium
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, tapioca, chicken fat, flaxseed|
Our premium recommendation for high-quality taurine-rich cat food is Instinct Ultimate Protein Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried. While this brand of cat food is expensive, it is reflective of the ingredients. There is no animal meal, and the protein comes from cage-free chickens. Since this blend avoids grain or vegetable proteins, cat-owners have found this recipe to be more easily digestible. This blend is also higher in protein and fat, making this a good choice for active cats. However, the high protein and fat content might cause weight gain in less active cats or indoor cats that do not get as much exercise.
4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe – Best for Kittens
|Main Ingredients||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, pea protein, tapioca starch, fish meal|
Taurine is an essential amino acid for healthy kitten growth. Once they are weaned, you want to get them started on the right track to nutritious eating. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe is our recommendation for kitten food. Their mother’s milk provides them all they need to get a strong start with life, so the transition to the right kitten food is essential. This recipe has a high level of taurine – higher than adult formula cat foods because kittens need a bit more to ensure healthy heart development and strengthen their immune system. However, this is considered a premium choice of food. Your kitten might not readily eat foods that are not of the same quality.
5. American Journey Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Duck and Pea Recipe Dry Cat Food – Best Tasting
|Main Ingredients||Deboned duck, duck meal, peas, pea protein, tapioca starch, sweet potatoes|
Sometimes, a simple recipe is often the most delicious. This is why our top choice for best tasting cat food is American Journey Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Duck and Pea Recipe Dry Cat Food. In the wild, cats eat simply and have a basic palate. Modern dry and wet cat foods can have a laundry list of ingredients that might mask the taste of meat in the recipe. Additionally, some recipes have several proteins blended together.
American Journey Grain-Free Limited Ingredient formula uses one source of animal protein and one main source of plant protein to keep the final recipe simple. However, this formula includes canola oil, which some cat owners may not want to include in their cat’s diet.
6. Sheba Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food – Best Overall for Picky Cats
|Main Ingredients||Water, chicken/turkey, poultry liver, animal plasma, tapioca starch|
If you have a picky cat that needs an increase in taurine intake, we recommend giving Sheba Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food a try. Wet food is often a good choice when feeding a picky eater. You can also mix Sheba Perfect Portions into dry food to help get your cat used to other textures of food.
Picky cats often like the small pieces of meat in gravy. This food comes in a multipack, so they can try either the chicken or the turkey recipe to see which one they enjoy the most. However, it can get costly to feed your cat wet food exclusively, meaning you might need to buy dry food and mix to make the wet food last longer.
7. Wellness Complete Health Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food – Best Wet Food for Picky Cats
|Main Ingredients||Turkey, chicken liver, chicken, chicken broth, carrots|
|Taurine||0.1% min per serving|
|Protein||10% min per serving|
|Fat||6% min per serving|
Picky cat owners will appreciate Wellness Complete Health Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. This pate-style blend of turkey and chicken liver and carrots helps promote healthy skin and urinary health while providing your cat with taurine. While the amount of taurine per serving is a bit less when compared to dry food, the amount is still beneficial for your favorite feline.
Wet food is a great way to introduce more taurine if you have a very picky cat. Some cats prefer an exclusively wet food diet. However, you might need to mix this in with dry food to make the canned food last a bit longer.
8. American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Food – Best Dry Food for Picky Cats
|Main Ingredients||Deboned turkey and chicken, chicken and fish meal, tapioca starch, dried egg, and pea protein|
|Taurine||0.15% min per serving|
|Protein||40% min per serving|
|Fat||5% min per serving|
If you have a picky cat that prefers dry food, our recommendation is the American Journey Turkey and Chicken Recipe. American Journey is already known as high-quality cat food, so there is a great chance your picky kitty will enjoy this recipe. Made with turkey, chicken, and plant protein sources, this taurine-rich formula benefits your cat’s overall health.
Since this blend is high in protein, it could cause weight gain in more sedentary felines. The high protein content is better for active cats. This particular brand of cat food can also be a bit on the pricey side, but every cat is worthy of being spoiled a bit.
9. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Mature Dry Cat Food – Best for Senior Cats
|Main Ingredients||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, peas, and pea protein|
|Taurine||0.15% min per serving|
As your cat gets older, it is still essential to make sure they get taurine in their diet to maintain a strong immune system and heart muscles. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Mature Dry Cat Food is a top recommendation for senior cats needing more taurine in their daily meals. The recipe is made with quality chicken and healthy grains loaded with fiber required for a healthy gut.
In addition to taurine, Blue Buffalo also uses LifeSource Bits in all of their recipes, giving your cat minerals and antioxidants. This formula does contain grains, which is something that some cat owners do not want to give their felines.
10. Purina Savor with Probiotics – Best for Sensitive Stomachs
|Main Ingredients||Salmon, rice, corn gluten, poultry by-product meal, soybean meal|
Cats who have sensitive stomachs still need taurine in their diets, but what kind of taurine-rich cat food will not upset stomachs? Purina Savor with Probiotics is recommended for kitties with sensitive tummies. Salmon is the first ingredient, ensuring that your cat’s meal will contain quality protein. Another benefit of this recipe is the Pro Plan Complete Essentials formula, which includes live probiotics to help with your cat’s sensitive digestive tract. The probiotics also work to strengthen your pet’s immune system.
This formula is a bit more expensive than the standard formulas of cat food, but the health benefits might outweigh the cost in the end.
How Much Taurine Do Cats Need?
When looking at taurine percentages per serving for cat food, the recommended amount of taurine is 0.10% in dry food and 0.20% in wet food. Some people might wonder why the taurine percentage on wet cat food labels is less than what the AAFCO recommends. However, if you check the feeding instructions, you will be giving your cat several servings of wet food a day, equaling the required amount of daily taurine they need.
What Are the Signs of a Taurine Deficiency?
According to PetMD, it can be hard to detect a taurine deficiency in your cat. However, if you notice your kitty has vision issues or dental problems, this can be a sign. If you are feeding your cat with food that has taurine in it, there should not be any taurine-related health issues. However, if you feed your cat a vegetarian diet, this can lead to a taurine deficiency.
Look at the percentage of taurine per serving in any food you buy. Cat food that is high in animal protein will have a good amount of taurine in it. Cats can be picky, so you might need to try a few options of food before finding one they enjoy. A diet of wet food can get a bit costly, but so can premium dry food.
Our recommendations for cat food with a high amount of taurine are Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food or Sheba Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food. Both recipes have quality ingredients that are beneficial to your cat’s health. Trying out one dry food and one wet food can help you figure out the best recipe for your cat.
Featured Image Credit: Photo_Olivia, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.