Recalled pet food may have caused death of girl's cat, kittens

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

March 20, 2007

Menu Foods is recalling 95 brands of wet dog and cat food. That's 60 million containers.

At last count, pet owners in this area say ten pets have died and three more are or were gravely ill.

All of them experienced severe kidney problems.

One girl says her cat and six kittens are victims of this poisonous food.

Jessica Hurley has always had a big place in her heart for animals, but recently that big heart was broken.

"I loved that cat," she said. "She was my baby."

Jessica had raised her cat Lelu since she was a kitten. Lelu was like family. That made it even worse when she got sick.

"My momma got special kitty food for her. I fed it to her and she loved it, and then she quit eating after two or three packages."

What Jessica didn't know at the time was that the food she was feeding Lelu would eventually be recalled.

This past weekend, Menu Foods issued a massive recall of tens of millions of containers of wet dog and cat food. It includes well-known brands like Iams, Eukanuba, and Science Diet.

The recall happened because the company says ten pets have had kidney failure after eating some of the food.

Jessica says Lelu's symptoms fit in line with kidney failure.

"She was real depressed and wouldn't eat anything."

Lelu also had some of the other symptoms veterinarians say often come with kidney failure, like nausea, diarrhea, an increase in thirst, an increase in urination and general weakness.

To make the story even sadder, Lelu was pregnant with six kittens at the time.

"She'd given birth to the kittens, and they were all stillborn," Jessica said.

Jessica ended up having to borrow money to have Lelu put down once she realized the cat was too far gone. All she has left now is Lelu's cardboard casket to bury and a broken heart to mend.

"It hurts, it really does," she said.

If you've fed your pet any of the recalled food and they're experiencing any of those symptoms, get them into the vet as soon as you can.

The FDA says Menu Foods tested the food on up to 50 cats and dogs after the first complaints about sick animals came in. Seven of those animals died.

The first complaints came in a month ago today, February 20.

The FDA is continuing the investigation, but focusing on the wheat gluten.

12 On Your Side talked with an attorney about what to do if your pet does get sick or maybe even loses its life after eating some of the recalled food.

The first recommendation is to save all of your paperwork: vet bills, prescriptions, and anything else.

After that, make sure to save some of the food, but keep it out of reach of any other pets or children.

Then call the company first, and if that does not bring you satisfaction, you may want to call an attorney.

You can see the full list of recalled items here. You can also call Menu Foods at 866-895-2708 or 866-463-6738.

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