As cat owners, we place a lot of trust in the manufacturers of our kitty’s food. It can be really scary when your cat’s favorite food or treats are the subject of a pet food recall. Knowing what to do when you find out about a recall is really important to protect your cat, your family, and other cats who are using that product.
Interesting Pet Food Recall Facts
The FDA states that on average there are 60 pet food recalls per year due to salmonella contamination. Salmonella is a strand of bacteria that can cause food poisoning in cats, dogs, and humans. Pet foods being recalled for this type of contamination (or contamination by any other type of bacteria) can be dangerous not only for your cat, but for you as well! Humans can become sick from handling these foods or from cross contamination by dishes or utensils used both for cat food preparation and human food preparation.
According to PetFoodRecall.org, the most common cause of pet food recalls between 2010 and 2013 was salmonella contamination. Other common causes included problems with the levels of vitamins and minerals found in the foods and antibiotic residues found in the foods. What company had the most recalls? PetFoodRecall.org’s top 5 for pet food recalls between 2005 and 2013 included Nutro/Natural Choice (78), Iams (74), Hill Country Fare (44), Sophistocat (42), and Ol’ Roy (39).
Not sure if your cat’s food has been recalled?
If you think there has been a pet food recall that affects your cat, check for a recall notice. These notices will give you specific information on the product being recalled and any special instructions from the FDA or manufacturer. The following links are pages dedicated to sharing all the latest pet food recall information:
- The Food and Drug Administration
- The American Veterinary Medical Association
- The Humane Society
Many times your favorite new channels and pet bloggers will receive press releases from the manufacturer too. A pet food recall might just be broadcast all over television or social media.
When your cat is involved in a pet food recall
Once you have checked the pet food recall notice and confirmed that your cat’s food or treats are affect, there are some steps you should take.
- Stop feeding your cat the affected food or treats.
Whether your cat is showing any symptoms of a health problem or not, you don’t want to take chances. Remove the food from your cat’s dish and make sure that the dish is cleaned an sanitized before it is used again. Make sure that any remaining portion of the food still in the packaging is kept out of reach of your cat.
- Take your cat to the veterinarian.
Assuming that your cat has consumed some portion of the affected food, it is more than recommended that your cat gets a check up. Your cat may not be showing symptoms, but that doesn’t mean that a health problem isn’t in the works. Let your veterinarian know that your cat has consumed food that is part of a pet food recall. Any ill-effects from the food need to be documented and reported to the FDA. Likewise, if you or any of your family members have become ill as a result of a pet food recall, get documentation from your doctor can report it to the FDA.
- Make a report with the FDA.
This is a step that you can skip if you, your family, or your cat did NOT become ill (or die) as a result of the pet food recall. The FDA needs all of the information it can get about the effects caused by the affected food so that it can help determine what went wrong. Reporting the problem can help save other kitties from experiencing what your cat experienced. To make the report you can either call your state’s FDA coordinator or use the FDA’s online reporting portal. Contacting the manufacturer of the food is a good idea too.
- Return the affected food to the store it was purchased from.
After you have made your report it is time to return the affected food from the store you purchased it from. Making your report first is important because detailed information from the packaging will be needed. During a pet food recall, stores will give you a full refund of the purchase price of the affected food when you bring back the packaging and remaining food.