Popular pet food Best Feline Friend (BFF) by Weruva has been recalled amid fears it is causing cats to fall gravely ill.
The recall – described by Weruva as being in early stages – has been caused by batches alleged to have contributed to the death of family cats.
The Best Feline Friend range of canned food is specifically formulated by American company Weruva for the Australian market, and is exclusively distributed through the retail chain Petbarn.
Hundreds of people flocked to Petbarn's Facebook page to share stories of BFF making their cats sick over a period of weeks.
"Our cat, Teuer, became extremely ill these last few weeks; we've been feeding her BFF for at least 12 months," says Jeremy Birkett .
Teuer was fine until a few weeks ago, when she developed symptoms including the vomiting of bile, a high fever, dehydration, eye infection, enlarged lymph nodes and the inflammation of the bowel.
"It was touch-and-go for a long time, and thousands of dollars [was spent] in vet bills. Thankfully, we have an amazing vet, and she's recovering now, after IV drips, steroids, antibiotics and, anti-inflammatories."
But not all cases end happily. Simone Glossop alleges BFF contributed to the death of her cat, Loki.
"I lost [Loki] 3 weeks ago, he was fed exclusively BFF. After $3000 in vet fees and many, many trips to the vet, he eventually lost the use of his legs and the possible diagnosis of FIP [Feline Infectious Peritonitis] was given. My family and I are absolutely shattered."
The vet tried to diagnose Loki based on what he was fed, says Glossop, but at the time it wasn't known the batches of BFF were suspect.
"The first thing my vet did was go over the list of ingredients [we fed him]. To know that this may have contributed to his death is heartbreaking."
Glossop is not the only person to allege the recalled pet food contributed to the death of a family cat.
Weruva has not confirmed how long the affected batches have been on sale, although customers have claimed their pets have been sick for weeks.
The company commenced a recall on 5 May.
An open letter was published on the company's website, signed by David Forman, president and cofounder of Weruva.
"We have recently been made aware of select Best Feline Friend canned foods, exclusive to the Australian market, which may have been produced outside of intended formulation guidelines.
"...We have issued a stop sale of BFF canned foods in Australia until further notice."
The letter describes the recall as "still developing".
The remainder of the company's range will undergo "aggressive testing of ingredients" at "independent laboratories" as part of its quality assurance measures.
"[Weruva] will continue to communicate updates as they become available," says Forman.
Pet owners with cans of Best Feline Friend are being advised to return them to Petbarn for a full refund.
Weruva could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
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