Sainsbury's And Pets At Home Recall Cat Food After More Than 150 Deaths
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Retailers including Sainsbury's and Pets at Home are recalling a dry cat food after an outbreak of deaths among cats.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra have advised owners not to give their cats food made by Fold Hill after 150 cases of feline pancytopenia have been recorded since April.
One owner, Andy Robinson, 55, regularly fed his cat Electra, Sainsbury's Hypoallergenic dry cat food with salmon.
But tragically, a month ago, Electra began to suffer with blood in her urine. She deteriorated very quickly and was diagnosed with feline pancytopenia. Sadly she passed away.
The disease is a rare bone marrow condition where the number of blood cells decreases, causing serious illness with symptoms like fever, bleeding gums and nosebleeds. Andy explained he was told by his vet there is usually just one case a year.
"She was my best friend and I would have done anything to protect her," said Andy.
"I want to make sure all cat owners are aware of the risks, so more don't go through what I have.
"After she died I was so upset that I couldn't stay in my houseboat as it became claustrophobic - I was overwhelmed with tears and felt that I had let her down.
"Shops have sent emails recalling the products, but only customers on their mailing list will get this information. Any others will likely continue to feed their beloved pets until they either die or the bag runs out.
"It's about saving other cats now and putting a stop to other people going through the same thing."
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) commented: "We can confirm that we are aware of a series of cases of fatal pancytopenia in cats in the UK. After noticing an increase in cats presenting with pancytopenia (a severe reduction in all major types of blood cells) in May we have been gathering data from UK vets from these affected cats.
"Based on the evidence to date the one aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of the affected individuals.
"We are currently aware of more than 130 affected cats and have information relating to the diet in approximately 80 per cent of cases reported.
"From the data shared most cats show some non-specific signs for around two days before being seen by a vet.
"Common signs include lethargy and loss of appetite although in some cases there are signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising. We encourage owners to contact their veterinary practice if they are worried that their cat may be affected.
"Given this apparent association with diet, we welcome the FSA's product recall notice. While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition."
They added last week: "The RVC is aware of 209 cats that have been affected based on cases treated at our own hospitals and information provided by some vets in the UK.
"Of these there was 72.5% percent mortality at time of reporting."
General manager at Fold Hill Foods, Ben Mankertz added: "As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this situation is for families and although diet has not been confirmed as the cause, we would prefer to act now to ensure the absolute safety of cats."
Meanwhile, a Sainsbury's spokeswoman said: "We are supporting an investigation into a possible safety issue affecting cats.
"We are not willing to take any risks where the safety of our products is concerned and so we are voluntarily recalling these products and asking customers not to use them and to return the packs to their nearest Sainsbury's store for a full refund."
And Pets at Home added: "This is a precautionary measure whilst further investigations are carried out and we are working closely with the FSA, RVC and wider industry to determine the cause.
"In the meantime our store colleagues are on hand to help customers select a suitable alternative."
The products that have been recalled are:
- Sainsbury's Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g
- Sainsbury's Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with chicken 1+years 800g
Pets at Home
- Ava Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg
- Ava Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and 4kg
- Ava Adult Fish 2kg
- Ava Mature Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg
- Ava Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg
- Ava Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5kg
- Ava Weight Management 1.5kg
- Ava Hairball 1.5kg
- Ava Oral Care 1.5kg
- Ava British Shorthair 1.5kg
- Ava Persian 1.5kg
- Ava Maine Coon 1.5kg
Applaws products (best before date between December 2022 to June 2023 with a site reference code of GB218E5009):
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Cat Dry Senior Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Salmon 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Kitten Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Lamb 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Duck 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
- Applaws Cat Dry Ocean Fish 350g, 1.8kg and 6kg