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Cat owners must be ‘vigilant’ as food products linked to fatal disease

·3-min read
There are concerns over cat food that have seen  (Getty Images)
There are concerns over cat food that have seen (Getty Images)

Cat owners must remain “vigilant” as pet food products continue to be recalled over a potential link to an outbreak of a rare and fatal disease, according to a leading cat charity.

Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home are among retailers recalling dry cat food, while the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra are advising owners not to give their pets food made by manufacturer Fold Hill as a precaution.

It follows more than 130 cases of feline pancytopenia, an illness that can often be fatal in cats, since April, the FSA said.

The charity Cats Protection said cat owners should contact their vet should they have any concerns.

A spokesperson told the Standard: “The charity would ask all cat owners to be vigilant and to contact their vet should they have any concerns about their pet.”

Pancytopenia is a rare condition where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decrease, causing serious illness.

Cat owners have been sharing stories of their pets falling ill or dying on Facebook. One woman said one of her cats had died while the other is “fighting for his life”.

She wrote: “I'm so angry this has happened, but right now I'm just so desperate to save one of my cats.”

A government spokesman said: “Working with the Royal Veterinary College, the Animal Plant and Health Agency and other government departments across all four nations of the UK, local authorities and the pet food supply chain, we are investigating a possible link between specific cat food products and feline pancytopenia.

He added that “there is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage”.

Cat owners are advised to seek immediate advice from a vet if their pet is unwell and has been fed any of the food listed in the product recall.

Owners are also advised to use an alternative food if their cat’s usual food is included the recall.

Fold Hill Foods general manager Ben Mankertz said the company is “alarmed and deeply saddened” by the reports, adding: “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.”

The products being recalled are:

Sainsbury’s:

Sainsburys Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g

Sainsburys 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

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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