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Lack of Taurine in New Cat Food - Source of Concern?

Posted in Our Community @ Aug 28th 2012 1:26pm - By Judy Gillespie and Sarah McCoy from VetTech Australia
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Here is a message that was originally posted on the Vetanswers Facebook Page from one of our community members, Sarah McCoy from VetTech Australia:

Hi There,

I'm hoping that you can let all of the vets who "like" your page know about this: Coles Supermarkets have a new range of tinned cat foods under the label "Applaws Natural Cat Food". These foods are labelled "100% natural", and as far as I can tell, they are. What they are NOT is nutritionally complete.

 They do NOT contain Taurine, an amino acid that is absolutely essential in a cat's diet. Absence of Taurine in your cat's diet can cause irreversible blindness, hair loss, tooth decay and feline dilated cardiomyopathy.

The way that they are able to market this food is that there is a disclaimer on the label which says: "Applaws is a completely natural complimentary pet food for adult cats." and "This product is intended for occasional or supplemental feeding only. This product may be fed daily along with a complete and balanced cat food diet." in VERY SMALL LETTERS.

Vets may find cats coming in suffering from taurine deficiency-related illnesses, so I just wanted to give a heads up as they may not suspect what it is. Most vets practising today would never have seen taurine deficiency cases because almost nobody has been selling cat food wihout taurine since discovering its importance in a feline diet in 1975.
Sarah McCoy
Pet Tech Australia,

Vetanswers:  We did some research on the Applaws website and in the FAQ section they do address the issue of no added Taurine in the food.  Here’s what they have to say:

“Q:Is there any Taurine in cat food?

A: Applaws is naturally rich in Taurine which is an amino acid essential for the proper function of the Heart and for Eye health. Taurine is found in good quality meat protein and not in cereal protein. Cats require a high level of Taurine for their body functions, yet have limited enzymes which can produce Taurine from other amino acids such as methionine and cysteine. Therefore, they need a diet that is high in Taurine. If Taurine is deficient, signs such as a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, retinal degeneration, reproductive failure, and abnormal kitten development can occur.

In many other brands the level of natural Taurine can be very low which is why they need to add Taurine (often synthetic) to their food to meet the minimum standard required by a cat. Applaws does not need to add additional Taurine as our products are packed full of natural Taurine from the high levels of natural meat used, which contain Taurine which are well above the minimum levels required for cats.” Source:, accessed 28/08/2012

However, Sarah has also commented:

“..Taurine deteriorates in cooked foods, tinned foods, etc. I seriously doubt that this food has the levels necessary to support feline health, otherwise, why the warnings (in very tiny print!) on the labels???  My vet said he noticed that there is no taurine added, and was also concerned about it.”

Vetanswers: These seemed like valid points so I thought it was worth sharing this information with our community.  After all, how many of us read the fine print on anything, let alone our cans of pet food?  Some of your clients may be using this food as their cat’s main food source rather than the ‘Supplementary’ food source as suggested on the label.

Hope you find this information useful and thanks to Sarah for taking the time to keep us informed!


Adrian Bartoli @ Jun 4th 2013 2:59pm
An enquiry to Rachael at Applaws yielded the answer: "Since our wet products contain only 3-4 ingredients without the addition of artificial additives, the cans are not 100% complete and balanced. They are slightly lacking in calcium as well as vitamins A, E and D. Because of that it is not recommended that you feed 100% wet Applaws all the time. We recommend that you add in a complete diet, whether that be dry food or a brand of complete wet at least a few times a week to supplement the missing nutrients."
Judy @ Jun 4th 2013 5:20pm
Thanks for stopping by Adrian and for sharing the information from Applaws. I hope cat owners are aware of this information too!
Jabalong @ Jul 3rd 2013 9:51am
"it is not recommended that you feed 100% wet Applaws all the time" Shouldn't this be written as a big, bold warning on Applaws' website and on its cans? Yet I don't see it explained anywhere. If it is, it must be hidden away. Here in Hong Kong, we have all kinds of online pet food services that sell Applaws, but none of them warn their customers. Some will repeat the "complementary" bit, but it's never explained what that means. And all the little pet shops seem to be promoting Applaws, but without fail when I ask them if the food is okay to feed 100% of the time, they look at me like I am stupid and say "of course"! And when I point out the word "complementary" on the can, they have no idea what it means and shrug it off. So if retailers don't even understand this, I am sure most pet owners don't either and may be feeding Applaws 100% of the time. It seems like the height of irresponsibility for Applaws to be making a food that isn't suitable as a primary pet diet, yet doesn't appear to be going to any lengths to make this clear to the people who sell it and the pet owners who buy it. I find it very dismaying.
Judy @ Jul 3rd 2013 11:21am
Hi Jabalong, thanks for your comments. I agree it is dismaying & disturbing that this information is not made easier to find for pet owners. I'm not sure what the solution is apart from sending constant complaints to the company. I wonder if there are laws that are being broken here as well? Judy
Rose @ Aug 17th 2013 7:44pm
It's made in Thailand!! So disappointed paying premium prices for this imported 'whatever'
andrew @ Sep 3rd 2013 4:06pm
the food has been used/marketed in the uk for some time, i thought it was german brand and becasue of the lack of additives , preservatives etc has seemingly helped in some frustrating inflammatory gum problems of cats. I am not aware of any problems associated with it . there are many not nutritionally balanced foods available for all species.
Sahara @ Dec 11th 2014 6:10pm
I thought that everybody knew that you should never give just wet food to your pet (be it cat or dog). Wet food has been proven to be lacking in some areas and should always be accompanied with dry food. I use Applaws tinned food as the added taste on top of Applaws dry food with which it is mixed. Here in Australia Applaws is made in Australia with the UK's recipe.
Sahara @ Dec 11th 2014 6:15pm
I have seen a marked improvment in my pets health and condition since changing them to Applaws. Cats and Dogs are carnivours and were never meant to eat grains, and I am so pleased to have finally found a product that uses NO grains whatsoever! It is one of only two here in Australia to do so (and if you actually read BlackHawk's label they add grain in at the end!) I wouldn't use anything else!
Pet Food Reviews - Australia @ Jan 27th 2015 12:50pm
I have a number of unbiased points to make. Many wet foods in the supermarket have "supplementary" statements. Actually most pet foods make slightly deceiving "marketing" claims. Personally I'd always recommend a varied diet. There's no reason a cat (or dog) should eat the same food day in day out for their whole life. My cat has a mixture of decent quality dry food with occasional wet and fresh meat. Decent meat ingredients naturally contain taurine, which is why some foods don't include it. I think Sarah's comment on taurine deteriorating in cooked food is a very valid point, and I think in the case of Applaws it would be nice to see it added.
Therese @ Mar 6th 2015 3:05am
This is really disappointing. I have one cat who will only eat the wet food from Applaws but will also eat dried biscuits from Royal Canin (so he is covered) but the other one would rather waste away than eat any other store bought food (though he does eat some chopped up raw beef or mince when I am cooking). I tried them both on two different brands tonight and I'm surprised they didn't call the RSPCA! :) if Coles stops selling it, I'm stuffed!
Judy @ Mar 6th 2015 10:57am
Hi Therese, thanks for stopping by. It can be tricky when your pet is a fussy eating (thank goodness they can't make phone calls! ;-)) If you're at all concerned that your cat may be missing out on essential elements in their diet I'd definitely suggest having a chat with your vet. He or she may have all sorts of ideas on how you can get around that fussy eater. Regards Judy
Jenny @ Jun 3rd 2015 4:37pm
I have acat with asthma who is also overweight. I've tried her on all the vet prescribed diet foods and none of them worked. I now try and feed her mostly wet food (roo mince, diced meat, fish) & before you start the vet recommend this. I had started her on Felix pouches for breakfast as they have a rabbit variety which I thought would be better for her than fish and, as it is in jelly, took longer to eat. It was also quick. Unfortunately not long after starting on Felix her asthma attacks significantly increased. A naturapathic vet said to check it for soy and sure enough that was the culprit. I changed her to Applaws since it was the only supermarket/pet shop brand I could find that didn't have grain or soy and she immediately improved. I've also found my 13yo persian, who has sinus issues after having cat flu, likes it. I think because it smells like fish (though not too strong to repel humans) she can smell it better than a lot of the others which mask the smell with jelly/gravy
minhtrinh @ Nov 24th 2015 12:27am
Applaws canned cat food I think it's good brand. That's a simple ingredients. I haven't tried this brand yet, but I think it's a good idea for all cats. The truth is cats don't really need supplements and vitamins, in pet food, in this day all supplements are synthetic, came from China, toxic, contamination, pet food companies don't check it. Pet food companies overloaded all supplements put it in the pet foods, too much supplements cause toxic, they put unnecessary supplements vitamins, unnecessary herbs, and have a lot of plans, artificial colors as titanium dioxide, dye, sodium carbonate (washing soda) to keep the foods longer , propylene glycol, Ethylene glycol, ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, Carrageenan, sorbitol, and more more chemicals, preservatives. I have been feeding those foods called "'premium foods' to my cat, such as Wellness canned cats foods, Ziwipeak canned cats foods, Holistic Select canned cat foods, They all have carrageenan in their products, Wellness Healthy indulgence cat foods now got some preservatives sodium carbonate (lye, washing soda). WERUVA pumpkin licking chicken , after few years eating these foods my cat sick, he often vomited, gastro problems, weruva made him sick more vomited, and diarrhea, he got GI, gastro problems, and got antibiotics from Vet now. I stopped feeding all commercial foods, and do homemade cook food for my cat, it's simple with steam chicken, or chicken pumpkin soup, our foods without carrageenan or without supplements, without preservatives, my cat did stopped vomited and diarrhea. My family loves pets, cats, dogs , we raised too many cats through many generations, My grandfather, my mother generations , we feed them home cook food, without any supplements, their cats healthy, I remembered their eyes bright, their coats shines without Taurine.They all grew up with me all the kittens, the Queen, the old cat lived very long 15 years, some of the kittens lived longer, no sick. We didn't know anything about supplements at that time, but we survived with scraping foods. I am the fourth generation in the family who has too many cats, now I got my own family with my own cat like my son, he stayed inside only, that's why when he sick, vomited, I knew it right away. If you keep your cats inside only and feed those foods in few months I am sure you will clean the house everyday. Pets can't digestive all supplements, vitamins, or plans, herbs, that's why they often vomited. And don't worry about the food without supplements, as someone mentioned about nutrition, balance diet, that's not right at all, because all nutrition balance foods as what they called , all make pet sick, everyday,, what cats, need is real meats, fiber, digestive enzymes, water. Just simple like that. That's my opinions.Thank you. Regards.
CatLover @ May 14th 2016 2:32am
Some really interesting comments and opinions here. I have just discovered Applaws and was interested in it as it has 4 ingredients on the tin instead of 15+. I like to chop and change the diet of our cats so they don't get reliant on one brand and also because I think different brands offer different pros and cons. The fave food of all our cats is two things - mice and cooked chicken. I don't believe in adding pumpkin, spinach and oregano to cat food so never pick those sort. One thing I did notice from applaws was that they were full without eating so much, and over eating often results in vomiting. At the end of the day, some cats live 10+years eating from bins (poor things) and die from other factors so I am not sure we need to worry so much as long as we provide them good food, a warm bed and a cuddle.
betty ann beam @ Dec 11th 2016 11:54am
I have used this and added 1 pouch to a small can of a nutrionally complete wet food. The protein analysis is very impressive. I would add this combo occassionally as part of a broad range rotation diet.
Mark Frampton @ Feb 24th 2017 12:32am
Just seen this post. just to be upfront I work for Applaws. To prevent any confusion. Yes I agree taurine does reduce during cooking but all our tests on the taurine levels were after cooking not before.
Sharon @ Jan 18th 2018 8:21am
My cat is 2 1/2, we adopted her two years ago and started her on Royal Canin kitten food. At about a year or so, we added Applaws for some variety. I liked the idea that it had just a few ingredients. She went wild for the sardines and tuna varieties from the get go. I tried ProPlan briefly, it gave her dandruff, and some other brands- she just sniffed at them. So, we have our formula. We feed her wet and dry Royal Canin and the pouches and little cups of Applaws and have been doing so for the past two years. She is happy with the taste and variety of her food and looks great. Her coat is thick and shiny. She is alert and healthy. I recommend both brands.
Heidi Weaver @ Aug 24th 2021 11:19am
And then you have a cat like mine who lost all but 2 teeth ( her lower canines) through that nasty resorption disease. She cannot manage dry food and therefore has to depend on wet foods for her nutrition.

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