At least 150 cats dead as food is recalled over potential link to rare and fatal disease

One possible link to the death of more than 100 cats is cat food. The recalled food is being tested, reports ITV news reporter Martha Fairlie

A heartbroken owner who euthanized her two-year-old cat the same day she took it to the vet wants answers as the food is being recalled because of a possible link to a fatal disease.

At least 150 Cats died as retailers continued to recall dry pet food, with authorities investigating a link to an outbreak of pancytopenia, a rare and fatal disease in which blood cell counts drop rapidly.

Food writer Jo Kenny suspects her cat sushi was one of those who may have died in this outbreak after eating one of the products that are now being recalled.

After showing signs of lethargy and having some dried blood in her mouth, Ms. Kenny took her to the vet where the tests showed no signs of illness.

However, over the next few days, her condition worsened and she was put to sleep on May 10, just a few hours after she returned.

Jo Kenny, here with her house cat Sushi, took her to the vet when she suddenly fell ill.

“Within four or five days she was completely normal and put to sleep, she was perfectly healthy and happy,” Ms. Kenny told ITV News.

“It was heartbreaking. It was so sudden that we thought she might be under the weather and then being called to find out she needed to be put to sleep was really annoying.

“If you’re a pet owner, you know they’re like family.”

Ms. Kenny, who fed Sushi AVA dry cat food, added that she was keen to see the results of the research into possible links between the products and the outbreak.

“The investigation is still inconclusive. On the one hand, it’s nice to know that we have an answer to what happened to her,” she said.

“There’s some sort of closure with the investigation, but it’s also terrible to know that it may have been something so innocent that we fed her, what killed her.”

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) said on Friday: “The RVC knows 209 affected cats from cases treated in our own hospitals and information from some veterinarians in the UK.

“Of these, at the time of reporting, there were 72.5% mortality rates.”

It added that the real number is likely significantly higher since “many cats may not be presented to a vet” and only a small percentage of practices currently report to the RVC.

One of those who seemed to die with this condition

Photo credit: PA

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra advise cat owners not to give their pets food from the manufacturer Fold Hill as a precaution.

Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home are among the retailers who use the manufacturer.

This follows reports earlier this week of more than 130 cases of pancytopenia in cats, a disease that can often be fatal in cats, since April, the FSA said.

Pancytopenia is a rare condition in which the number of blood cells (red, white, and platelets) decreases rapidly and causes serious illness.

Symptoms include:

The FSA said the current pancytopenia outbreak may be related to certain cat food products.

A government spokesman said: “We are working with the Royal Veterinary College, the Animal Plant and Health Agency and other government departments in all four UK nations, local authorities and the pet food supply chain to investigate a possible link between specific cat food products and pancytopenia Cats.

“At this point there is no definitive evidence to confirm a link.

“No unsafe cat food was identified, but the manufacturers and brand owners concerned are taking the precautionary recall action based on previous investigations and are withdrawing cat food products that have been associated with affected cats.

“There is no evidence that this outbreak of pancytopenia in cats poses a risk to human health.”

Cat owners are advised to consult a veterinarian immediately if their pet is not doing well and has been fed one of the feeds listed in the product recall.

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

Fold Hill Foods said products from the Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe range and Pets at Home Ava range are being recalled.

Applaws products sold by Amazon and other pet food stores can also be unsafe.

Ben Mankertz, General Manager of Fold Hill Foods, said, “We are alarmed and deeply saddened to hear of reports from the Food and Veterinary Authorities of some cat health problems.

“We are cat owners ourselves and understand how annoying and stressful this situation is for families, and while diet has not been confirmed as a cause, we would prefer to act now to ensure the absolute safety of the cats.

“As one of the UK’s leading pet food manufacturers, the safety of your pet is our top priority and we have therefore decided to recall the ranges of cat food we produce for the brands identified.

“We believe this is the safest course of action until an exact cause of the problem is identified.”

A Pets at Home spokeswoman said, “We are aware of the recent surge in pancytopenia in cats identified by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). The health and well-being of pets is our top priority, which is why we support the product recall of the manufacturer of the dry food series Ava and Applaws.

“This is a precaution while further investigation is in progress, and we are working closely with the FSA, RVC, and wider industry to determine the cause.

“In the meantime, our market colleagues are there to help customers choose a suitable alternative.”

You can see the list of all recalled products Here and under:

Sainsburys:

Pets at home:

  • Ava Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg

  • Ava Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and 4kg

  • Ava adult fish 2kg

  • Ava Ripe Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg

  • Ava Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg

  • Ava Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5 kg

  • Ava weight management 1.5 kg

  • 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 (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