Home | Dr. Jackson | Methods | Readings | Useful Links | Ask the Doctor  


Objective. From 1932 to 1942, Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger Jr. conducted a group of experiments to determine the effects of heat-processed food on cats. Cats fed an all-raw diet were healthy while cats fed the cooked meat diet developed various health problems. At the time of Pottenger's studies the heat labile amino acid taurine had not yet been identified as essential for cats. This work shows that the deficiencies Pottenger identified in cats correspond with those of a taurine deficiency and are the direct result of the lack of taurine in the feline diet. Methods. Pub Med and EBSCO Host were utilized to obtain journal articles. The Pottenger papers were obtained from the Price-Pottenger Nutritional Foundation. The physiological effects of a cooked diet described by Pottenger in his papers were compared with data from recent studies on taurine deficiency in the feline diet. Results. Pottengers main observations of near and far sightedness, cardiac leasions, increased stillbirth, low birthweight, poor kitten survival, and developmental abnormalities each correspond to published descriptions of taurine deficiency in cats with multiple references for each described condition. Conclusions. Taurine deficiency is a strong explanation for the symptoms observed by Pottenger in his cat studies. Pottengers own conclusion that there was an as yet unidentified, heat-labile protein factor is realized in taurine.