Published: 11:36, 17 June 2021
| Updated: 11:51, 17 June 2021
Cat food, including ranges sold by Sainsbury's and Pets at Home, is being recalled over a possible link to a disease that can prove deadly for felines.
The Food Standards Agency and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have issued a warning about a number of dry cat food products, made by Fold Hill Foods, following an increase in cases of pancytopenia among cats.
Pancytopenia is a very rare condition related to the bone marrow, where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) can rapidly decrease leading to serious illness. Common signs being seen in cats, says the Royal Veterinary College, can include lethargy and loss of appetite and in some cases signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising.
More than 130 cases of the disease have been seen since April, say those looking into the outbreak, who are now exploring whether the illness could be linked to the diet of those animals affected.
As a precaution, cat food from Applaws, Pets at Home & Sainsbury’s ranges is being pulled from shelves and recalled voluntarily by the Lincolnshire-based manufacturer.
Customers with products affected by the recall are being told to stop feeding it to their animals immediately and return it to where they bought it for a full refund with or without a receipt.
In a statement on its website Ben Mankertz, general manager for Fold Hill Foods Ltd: “We are alarmed and deeply saddened to learn of reports from the Food & Veterinary Authorities of some health issues in cats.
"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.
"As one of the leading pet food manufacturers in the UK, ensuring your pet’s safety is our priority and therefore we have chosen to recall the ranges of cat food that we manufacture for the brands who have been identified. We feel this is the safest course of action until an exact cause of the issue has been found.”
You can find the full list of recalled cat foods, with the relevant expiry dates, listed here on the Food Standards Agency website.