Ayrshire cattery owner’s grief as kitten dies from fatal disease killing cats across the UK



The owner of an Ayrshire cattery spoke today about her heartache – after losing one of her little kittens to a fatal disease killing cats across the country.

Kristina Macauley, owner of Alloway-based Belle Ayr Cats, was stunned after losing nine-month-old Mia to a disease that depletes cats’ white and red blood cells.

Today, Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown teamed up with Kristina in an attempt to raise awareness about the disease called feline pancytopenia.

Kristina said, “I want to raise awareness about this deadly disease.

“Nearly 500 cats have been diagnosed with the disease, which causes depletion of white and red blood cells, leading to bleeding, anemia and clotting problems and making them more susceptible to infections.

“Cat owners should watch out for fatigue and fever as symptoms. “

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As of April this year, 499 cases of feline pancytopenia have already been detected in the UK feline population.

Sadly, around 62.5% of those cases have been fatal, according to figures from the Royal Veterinary College.

The outbreak has since led to a recall of various cat foods available at Pets at Home and Sainsbury’s.

Despite no concrete evidence, a possible link between feline pancytopenia and certain hypoallergenic cat foods has emerged.

This, in turn, has led to a voluntary recall by the manufacturer, Fold Hill Foods Limited, which makes a number of Applaws and AVA cat food products.

Now Kristina is warning other cat owners to look for possible symptoms in their beloved pets.

She said: “Our beloved kitten, Belle Ayr White Cloud (aka Mia), has passed away after a courageous weeklong battle with pancytopenia.

“She was fed the recalled Applaws kitten food for two months, along with a different brand wet food.

“She became lethargic on Wednesday and was immediately taken to the vet.

“The next morning we expected her to need antibiotics for some sort of infection – only to be told she was unlikely to survive once they shed her blood.” .

“After that, she was admitted to the hospital with a poor prognosis. She did her best to hold on, but started to have difficulty breathing.

Kristina continued, “We were in shock as she was only nine months old and was an amazing kitten.

“She was smart, playful, curious and very loving and adventurous.

“She had a loving family and we still can’t believe she is gone.”

Ben Mankertz, Managing Director of Fold Hill Foods Ltd, said: “We are alarmed and deeply saddened to learn of reports from food and veterinary authorities of certain health problems in cats.

“As cat owners we fully understand how overwhelming and stressful this situation is for families and although diet has not been confirmed as the cause, we would rather act now to keep cats absolutely safe.

“As one of the leading manufacturers of pet food in the UK ensuring the safety of your pet is our top priority and as a result we have chosen to recall the cat food lines we manufacture for identified brands.

“We believe this is the safest course of action until an exact cause of the problem has been found.”

Michael Bellingham, CEO of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), said, “The health and welfare of pets is the top priority, and we fully support this recall.

“We understand the concern this will cause to cat owners and we want to reassure them that a full top-down investigation is underway to determine the cause.”

Ayr MSP Ms. Brown added, “If cat owners are concerned about their pet’s health, they should contact their local veterinarian.”

For a list of Fold Hill Foods Limited recalled products, go to https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/alert/fsa-prin-36-2021-update-1

If you have purchased any of the products on the recalled list, you should stop giving it to your cat. The advice is to return them to the retailer you purchased them from for a full refund.

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