Rare disease linked to cat food kills Ipswich kitten

Ipswich cat owner Gemma Smith had one kitten die from feline pancytopenia

Ipswich cat owner Gemma Smith had one kitten die from feline pancytopenia - Credit: Gemma Smith

Cat owners have had their pets die of a rare disease that has been linked to food which has left hundreds of animals sick.

Ipswich's Gemma Smith hoped Patch would get better

Ipswich's Gemma Smith hoped Patch would get better - Credit: Gemma Smith

Ipswich cat owner Gemma Smith had one kitten die, Patch, on Wednesday of feline pancytopenia and is concerned her two cats, Sidney and Aurora, and two kittens, Harry and Zorro are next. 

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 dying on Wednesday from feline pancytopenia 

Ipswich kitten Patch before dying on Wednesday from feline pancytopenia - Credit: Gemma Smith

"This has been the worst week of my life," the 27-year-old said. She added without insurance for her kittens, and only for her cats, she's facing over £1,000 in vet bills.

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

Harry the kitten

Harry the kitten - Credit: Gemma Smith


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

The RVC explained the evidence points to the "diet of the affected individuals" and welcomed "the Food Standards Agency’s (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 veterinary practice if they are worried that their cat may be affected."

The Ipswich litter together with their mum

The Ipswich litter together with their mum - Credit: Gemma Smith

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

"I was just finding new homes for them," the Willis Towers worker, who lives in the California area added. "I had to go back and say unfortunately I am caught up with this situation. 

"I hope I can help other people by raising awareness of this so people don't have to go through something so tough."

Gemma Smith used to buy Applaws cat food before it was liked to feline pancytopenia deaths

Gemma Smith used to buy Applaws cat food before it was liked to feline pancytopenia deaths - Credit: Gemma Smith

Applaws UK has said in a statement: "We’re cat owners ourselves and we’re heartbroken that there’s even a suggestion that some of our dry cat food may be involved in this problem.

"But the truth is, right now, while we don’t know what’s caused the problem, we’re working flat out to find out.

"We’re liaising on a daily basis with the FSA and RVC and every one of our seventy Applaws people here in the UK are focused on getting an answer as quickly as we can."

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

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

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