Research has shown that rice bran depletes taurine levels in cats and yet, you will sometimes find it listed as an ingredient in cat food.
Taurine is an amino acid found naturally in meat. It is also produced synthetically and most of it comes from China. Without the proper amount of taurine, cats would suffer numerous health problems, such as blindness or heart failure.
When rice bran is included in cat food as a source of protein or a filler, extra taurine is also included. My concern is placement of rice bran on the ingredients list. If you see it listed early in the ingredients list, that means a large amount of rice bran is in that particular food. If taurine is way down the list, I would be concerned that there isn’t enough extra taurine in the food to offset the larger amount of rice bran. It’s a slippery slope, and I’m not comfortable giving a cat a food that might have questionable amounts of good and bad elements in it.
I realize that some experts and some manufacturers believe that rice bran is a perfectly acceptable addition to cat food, but I don’t see the point.
According to Dr. Greg Aldrich of Pet Food & Ingredients Technology, Inc, rice bran is rich in phosphorus, potassium and manganese. That may be, but it is also difficult for cats to digest.
Perhaps if more manufacturers used higher quality protein sources in their food in place of such alternatives as rice bran or corn, there would be less need for the addition of synthetic taurine in the products and since most of the synthetic taurine comes from China, our pets would be better off if they could avoid the need for it.
Be very careful when choosing dry food for your cat. Avoid rice bran. Even better, feed your cat a diet of mostly canned or wet food with two real meats listed in the first four ingredients. That food probably won’t need the addition of synthetic taurine.