Results from testing have finally been revealed by Weruva following reports its Best Feline Friend (BFF) range of food was causing cats to fall ill and die.
Testing according to standards set by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) found batches of BFF were deficient in thiamine, a vitamin core to a cat's diet.
"Certain batches of our Australian BFF canned foods...contain insufficient vitamin B1 (thiamine) to be labelled as complete and balanced," the company confirmed in a website posting.
"As it pertains to BFF canned foods, a 'complete and balanced' diet means an adult cat can subsist on that one food alone...Therefore, thiamine supplementation should be considered by veterinarians when symptoms of deficiency are present."
Customers turned to Weruva's Facebook page to express their discontent with its handling of the situation.
"My vet had thought that my Ginger's symptoms match Thiamine deficiency [TD] and gave him a shot of Thiamine," wrote one cat owner. "However it was too late, acute TD can cause death very quickly [and] my Ginger passed away in pain. I'm grateful you finally released the results, but it took such long time."
Another criticised the company for lacking transparency: "Why aren't you releasing lab results directly? That makes it appear as if you are hiding something. Not having transparency with the [Australian Veterinary Association] from the start is disturbing. I spend about $300/month on Weruva products but I don't think I will be anymore."
The test results come twenty days after sales of Weruva's Best Feline Friend were stopped at its distributor Petbarn. Concerns initially suggested heavy metal toxicity, but testing of more than 50 batches ruled this out about a week later.
"Further veterinary consultation has shown that thiamine deficiency may share many neurological symptoms with heavy metal toxicity," the company said at the time.
Weruva has not revealed how many batches were affected or for how long they were on sale.
The company is asking customers to return BFF cans with 'best by' dates ranging from September 2018 through to October 2019 for a refund.
Further testing is underway, the company claims, to analyse the details of reported cases.
Customers who believe their pet may have been affected by thiamine deficiency are being asked to contact Weruva at email@example.com or by phone on 1800 108 382.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated testing was carried out by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AFFCO), when testing was carried out to AAFCO standards.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.