Ayrshire cattery owner’s heartbreak as kitten dies from deadly disease killing cats across UK

The owner of an Ayrshire Cattery spoke of her grief today after losing one of her kittens to a fatal disease that is killing cats across the country.

Kristina Macauley, owner of Belle Ayr Cats of Alloway, was stunned after losing nine-month-old Mia to a disease that depletes cats’ white and red blood cells.

Now Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown has teamed up with Kristina to raise awareness of the disease called feline pancytopenia.

Kristina said: “I want to draw attention to this deadly disease.

“Nearly 500 cats have been diagnosed with the disease, which causes the depletion of white and red blood cells, leading to bleeding, anemia and clotting problems, and making them more susceptible to infection.

“Cat owners should look out for symptoms of fatigue and fever.”

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As of April this year, 499 cases of pancytopenia in cats have been recorded in the UK cat population.

Unfortunately, according to figures from the Royal Veterinary College, around 62.5 percent of these cases were fatal.

The outbreak has since resulted in a recall of various cat foods available from Pets at Home and Sainsbury’s, among others.

Although there is no concrete evidence, a possible association between pancytopenia in cats and certain hypoallergenic cat foods has emerged.

This, in turn, has led to a voluntary recall by manufacturer Fold Hill Foods Limited, which makes a range of Applaws and AVA cat food products.

Now Kristina is warning other cat owners to look for possible symptoms in their beloved pets.

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She said, “Our beloved kitten Belle Ayr White Cloud (aka Mia) passed away after a week of valiant struggle with pancytopenia.

“She was fed the recalled Applaws kitten food for two months, along with a different brand of wet food.

“She became lethargic on Wednesday and was immediately taken to the vet.

“The next morning we expected that she would need antibiotics for some kind of infection – only to find out that once she had her blood drawn, she would not survive.

“After that, she was hospitalized with a bad prognosis. She tried her best to hold on, but she started struggling to breathe. “

Kristina continued: “We were in shock because she was only nine months old and was a great kitten.

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“She was smart, playful, curious and very loving and adventurous.

“She had a loving family and we still can’t believe she actually left.”

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

“As cat owners, we know exactly how 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 cats’ absolute safety.

“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 make for the brands identified.

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

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Michael Bellingham, Executive Director of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) said, “The health and wellbeing of pets is a top priority and we fully support this recall.

“We understand the concern this will cause cat owners and we want to assure them that a thorough investigation will be conducted from start to finish to determine the cause.”

Ms. Brown, MSP at Ayr, added, “If cat owners are concerned about the health of their pet they should contact their local veterinarian.”

To access Fold Hill Foods Limited’s list of recalled products, go to https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/alert/fsa-prin-36-2021-update-1

If you have bought any of the products on the recall list, you should no longer feed it to your cat. We recommend that you return them to the retailer from whom you purchased them for a full refund.

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