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Best Feline Friend recall: Cat food tins tested after widespread illness fears

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A popular brand of tinned cat food has been recalled from pet stores after widespread concerns that the “gourmet” meals were making cats ill. 

The Best Feline Friend (BFF) range made for the Australian market has been recalled for testing by its American manufacturer, Weruva, after online pet forums were flooded with complaints from owners who said their cats became ill after eating it.

Cats that ate the food have reportedly become ill, though no link has been established. Cats that ate the food have reportedly become ill, though no link has been established.  Photo: Lyn Osborn

In some cases, owners claimed their pets had vomited, refused water and became lethargic. 

While there is as yet no evidence that BFF’s “natural” and “grain-free” food has made any cats sick, the manufacturer and distributor have recalled all the product and testing has begun to see if there are any links. 

an example of a BFF brand cat food tin an example of a BFF brand cat food tin  Photo: supplied

Hundreds of customers have complained about the products on the Facebook pages of both Weruva and the brand’s Australian distributor, Petbarn. 

“Our two cats have both been extremely ill and vomiting this week,” wrote one woman.

“Couldn’t figure out the cause but swapped their BFF food for plain, cooked chicken on the vet’s recommendation (plus rehydration treatment and anti-nausea meds) and they are finally coming right. I rang the hotline and they are going to reimburse our vet expenses.”

“Our cat became extremely ill these last few weeks,” wrote another customer, noting they had been feeding their pet BFF for at least 12 months.

“She was in good health until a few weeks ago. Many symptoms loss of appetite/inability to eat, vomiting bile, high fever, dehydration, infection of the eye, enlarged saliva glands/lymph nodes, and inflammation of the bowel. It was touch and go for a long time, and thousands of dollars in vet bills. Thankfully we have an amazing vet, and she’s recovering now, after IV drips, steroids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories. I’ve contacted Weruva and will be seeking compensation from them.”

In a message to customers on the Weruva website, company president David Forman wrote: “We have recently been made aware of select Best Feline Friend (BFF) canned foods, exclusive to the Australian market, which may have been produced outside of intended formulation guidelines. Out of an abundance of caution and in partnership with our exclusive retailer of these goods, Petbarn has removed BFF canned items from shelves in Australia until our analysis is complete. The facility for this exclusive BFF canned food does not produce BFF foods for any other global market or any other Weruva-branded foods”.

The products would be subject to “aggressive testing of ingredients and finished product by independent laboratories in addition to our routine testing and quality assurance measures”.

On Friday, an email sent to customers who bought the tins from Australian chain Petbarn said that BFF tinned food should not be fed to cats while testing was underway.

“As a precaution, we have taken the proactive measure of immediately removing all BFF products from all our stores and online until further product testing is completed,” the email said.

“We recommend you do not feed this product to your pet. The product is currently undergoing independent testing in Australia. We are liaising with the manufacturer Weruva to investigate this further.”

On their Facebook page, Petbarn said they would refund all purchases of BFF products. 

Cat owners with concerns can contact Weruva on (1800) 338 359 between 9am and 7pm (Australian eastern standard time) or email weruva@salmat.com.au.

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