Ipswich pet owner blames cat food for kitten death

Cat owners have let their pets die from a rare disease linked to food that has made hundreds of animals sick.

Gemma Smith of Ipswich hoped Patch would get better
– Credit: Gemma Smith

Ipswich cat owner Gemma Smith died Wednesday of cat pancytopenia, Patch, and is concerned for her two cats, Sidney and Aurora, and two kittens, Harry and Zorro.

Ms. Smith’s kittens were perfectly healthy a few weeks ago, but she had to “rush” them to the vet last week, where she found they had low platelets in their blood.

Ipswich Kitten Patch before death Wednesday from pancytopenia in cats

Ipswich Kitten Patch before death Wednesday from pancytopenia in cats
– Credit: Gemma Smith

“That was the worst week of my life,” said the 27-year-old. She added with no insurance for her kittens and only for her cats she faces vet bills of over £ 1,000.

Ms. Smith is just one of hundreds of pet owners affected, according to the Royal Veterinary College, with 352 cats currently being treated by the RVC.

Harry the kitten

Harry the kitten
– Credit: Gemma Smith

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Of these, at the time of the RVC reporting on Thursday June 24th, there were 70% mortality rates.

The RVC explained the evidence for “the nutrition of those affected” and welcomed “the Food Standards Agency (FSA) product recall notice”.

They added, “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 veterinarian if they are concerned that their cat may be affected. “

The Ipswich litter together with her mom

The Ipswich litter together with her mom
– Credit: Gemma Smith

One of the recalled pet foods was the luxury brand Applaws UK Dry Cat Food, manufactured by Fold Hill Foods Ltd in Lincolnshire, with code GB218E5009 that Ms. Smith has always trusted to feed her cats.

“I just found a new home for her,” added the Willis Towers worker, who lives in California. “I had to go back and say that unfortunately I am trapped in this situation.

“I hope I can help other people by raising awareness so people don’t have to go through this.”

Gemma Smith bought Applaw's cat food before cats died of pancytopenia

Gemma Smith bought Applaw’s cat food before cats died of pancytopenia
– Credit: Gemma Smith

Applaws UK said in a statement: “We are cat owners ourselves and it breaks our heart that there is even an indication that some of our dry cat food may be involved in this problem.

“But the truth is, right now, even though we don’t know what caused the problem, we’re working flat out to find out.

“We are in daily contact with the FSA and RVC and each of our seventy Applaws employees here in the UK are focused on getting a response as quickly as possible.”

Ms. Smith got her money back from the cat food she bought on Amazon.

To find out if your pet food is affected, see here: food.gov.uk/news-alerts/alert/fsa-prin-36-2021-update-1.