A number of cat food products have been urgently recalled by suppliers following fears that they could cause serious illness.

Which? publicised the recalled products after the reported a spike in cases of severe feline pancytopenia which causes blood cells to rapidly decrease.

Brands impacted by the recall include Sainsbury’ own-branded Hypoallergenic Recipe food, Applaws food and AVA (Pets At Home) food.

‘Consistent pattern’

RVC researchers and the Food Standards Agency found the outbreak possibly started at the Fold Hill Foods factory in Lincolnshire.

A spokesman for the RVC said: “We can confirm that we are aware of a series of cases of fatal pancytopenia in cats in the UK.

“After noticing an increase in cats presenting with pancytopenia in May, we have been gathering data from UK vets from affected cats. Based on the evidence to date, the one aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of the affected individuals.

“We are currently aware of more than 130 affected cats, and have information relating to the diet in approximately 80% of cases reported. From the data shared, most cats show some non-specific signs for around two days before being seen by a vet. 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 veterinary practice if they are worried that their cat may be affected.

“Given this apparent association with diet, we welcome the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) product recall notice. While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition.

“To further support these efforts, we are encouraging vets who have seen these cases to complete our survey (https://rvc.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/pancytopenia).”

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