Tainted food blamed in Winnipeg cat's death

A Winnipeg man believes his cat may be a victim of the contamination pet food involved in a huge North American recall.

A Winnipeg man believes his catmay bea victim of the contaminated pet foodinvolved in a huge North American recall.

Menu Foods, an Ontario-based company, recalled 42 different brands of cat food and 53 brands of dog food after pets were reported to be dying of kidney failure after eating it.

Allan Scheirer said his cat, Bucky, last ate some of the food on the recall liston Friday night. He wasn't aware of the recall until after Bucky died.

"Sunday she didn't eat at all. She didn't drink at all. So we were feeding her water with an eyedropper, just so she'd get a little moisture," he said.

"She wasn't improving, so we took her in Monday morning and the vet put her down."

Kidney failure was blamed for Bucky's illness, but it hasn't been proven that her kidneys failed due to contaminated food. At 17, she was an older cat, but Scheirer says she was previously healthy, and he's sure there's a link to the food.

"When you feed your pet something, you kind of trust the people who are producing it and selling it," he said.

"I've had this cat since she was six weeks old… almost all my adult life. So there's a huge sense of loss, there's anger, because this didn't have to happen."

No confirmed cases in Manitoba

Erica Anseew, director of animal health at the Winnipeg Humane Society, said the recall is one of the most serious she hasheard about during her career.

"Well, initially I wasn't too concerned. I get notices of recalls periodically; in the past few years I've had seven or eight notices of recalls for several reasons," she said.

"But this recall is quite widespread because this company, they contract to produce food for a lot of different other companies, and it involved a recall for a lot of different types of food."

Whileshe hasn't heard of any confirmed cases of the food causing illness or death in Manitoba, Anseew said, pet owners should be cautious.

"There's going to be a lot of coincidences as far as the number of cats that will have illnesses for other reasons. There may be some connections made that aren't valid," she said. "But because of the publicity, there may be some cases found that are valid, because the veterinarians and the public are more aware."

Veterinarians say signs of kidney failure in pets include stopping eating, drinking more or less water than usual, vomiting and diarrhea. Kidney failurerequires immediate treatment.

Approximately 60 million containers of "cuts and gravy" style food packaged in cans and pouches and manufactured between Dec. 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007 are affected by the recall, including some sold under the Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba labels, as well as supermarket brand names.

Detailed information about the recall can be found at the Menu Foods website or by calling the company at 1-866-895-2708.