A woman is “praying for a miracle” to save the life of her cat after he ate food which has recently been pulled from the shelves.
Gillian Iveson already faced the loss of her pet Luna due to Pancytopenia which caused internal bleeding within her 12-month-old moggy.
And now her last remaining pet, Lenny, is battling for his life.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have warned cat owners not to give their pets dry food made by Fold Hill Foods, due to a possible link to an outbreak of feline Pancytopenia.
The FSA said it has recorded more than 150 cases of the disease since April.
Gillian says both her pets became ill after consuming the same Applaws dry kitten food which has now been recalled.
The pet food firm said they are “heartbroken” that there’s even a suggestion that some of its dry cat food may be involved in the problem.
In an attempt to save Lenny, the 34-year-old mum-of-three started a fundraiser to try to raise enough cash to pay for a potentially life-saving blood transfusion.
She said: “I’ve set up this fundraiser in the chance I might raise enough to cover the cost of blood transfusions the vets say he needs to survive this deadly illness.
“I found out about the food recall on Wednesday so took the Applaws food away from my cat, we lost my other cat two weeks ago to Pancytopenia too.
“The vets were baffled for the cause. Now we know. My other cat has been going downhill, I thought it was grief, but he too has been diagnosed with Pancytopenia.”
Taking Lenny home to die
She said on Thursday she was given two options, either to drive to Edinburgh from Westhill for an emergency blood transfusion, which would cost thousands of pounds, or to have Lenny put down.
Gillian added: “Sadly we couldn’t afford it as we just paid a huge amount to try to save my other cat we don’t have the funds available to go through it again so soon.
“Insurance only covers up to £2,000 and the cost of the transfusion well exceeds that, not to mention the costs already incurred from the other tests, antibiotics and supplements he has been given so far.”
She said she decided to let him go peacefully at home but once back in the house, Lenny appeared to be getting better.
“The vets are baffled and said it isn’t possible,” Gillian added.
“Every day he looks better. He was eating for two days, bits of fresh chicken, and the bleeding in his urine reduced.
“His gums are still totally white as is his nose, he is very poorly but he is happy, purring, walking around the house.”
Gillian said she is “praying for a miracle” but said she doesn’t think he can survive without the transfusion.
Fundraiser launched to try save Lenny
“I was hoping he can battle this without the blood transfusion as I don’t see us being able to afford it at all, however if we do manage then this will hopefully give him the extra fight he needs to make a full recovery.
“He may need a few transfusions so it’s likely to be a long road to recovery but so far he has already defied the odds let’s hope he continues to.
“I’m aiming to raise enough for one blood transfusion and hopefully he can take over and do the rest.”
Gillian said any additional funds raised after vet bills will be donated towards saving any other cats battling this or any other animals in need.
Pancytopenia is a very rare condition where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decrease, causing serious illness.
The disease mostly affects the bone marrow, spleen, lymph nodes and lymphoid tissues.
Cats with the disease can become severely unwell, have spontaneous bleeding and often require multiple transfusions. It can be fatal.
Applaws ‘heartbroken’ at suggestion there may be link
A spokesman for Applaws said: “It’s an understatement to say we’re heartbroken that there’s even a suggestion that some of our dry cat food may be involved in this problem.
“This is the first time in 15 years bringing pet food to consumers that we’ve ever had to recall a product in the UK.
“We pride ourselves on the quality of ingredients in our pet food, the care we take to find the best manufacturers and the auditing and monitoring of every aspect of production.
“We’re working flat out with the FSA and RVC to find out precisely what happened and we’re really sorry for the distress many cat owners are feeling.
“We’re committed to getting to the bottom of this as quickly as we can.”
The full range of recalled products are:
Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g
Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with chicken 1+years 800g
Pets at Home
Ava Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg
Ava Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and 4kg
Ava Adult Fish 2kg
Ava Mature Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg
Ava Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg
Ava Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5kg
Ava Weight Management 1.5kg
Ava Hairball 1.5kg
Ava Oral Care 1.5kg
Ava British Shorthair 1.5kg
Ava Persian 1.5kg
Ava Maine Coon 1.5kg
Applaws products (best before date between December 2022 to June 2023 with a site reference code of GB218E5009):
Applaws Cat Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Cat Dry Senior Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Salmon 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Kitten Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Lamb 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Duck 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
Applaws Cat Dry Ocean Fish 350g, 1.8kg and 6kg