Shocking Tests Reveal Toxins in Cat & Dog Food

For several months we’ve been on pins and needles awaiting the results of the findings from 12 very well known brands of cat and dog foods, including a few so-called prescription foods. These are all brands you’ve heard of, and some of them are brands many assume are the good ones for our cats.

The testing was sponsored by and paid for by the members of the Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF), in other words, concerned consumers like you and me who donated money to fund this project. ATPF was founded by pet food advocate Susan Thixton.

The qualifications of the people running the tests include: veterinary nutritionists and forensic scientists.

Does the word “Mycotoxin” scare you? Us too! The foods tested had varying levels of Mycotoxins in them.

Have you heard of group of bacteria called Acinetobacter? We learned that this bacteria is responsible for approximately 500 human deaths a year. You will see that this bacteria was found in 8 of the 12 pet foods tested! And it gets worse: for humans Acinetobacter is 63% multi drug resistant. We are going to wonder out loud for a moment: could some of these human deaths be linked to the handling or eating tainted cat/dog food?

If it’s a threat to human health then why are these toxins ending up in cat and dog food?

Read more:

We are paying the FDA and state department of agriculture One Billion Dollars annually nationwide to conduct testing yet they claim they don’t have enough money to test for toxins in cat and dog food!

Susan Thixton from ATPF will attempt to meet with the FDA in a week to challenge them on these topics and more. If she’s successful we’ll report back to you with the outcome.

Angry? Here’s what you can do today. Call and write to your Congresspersons. Call and write to officials at the local level. If we do not demand change, insist that laws be put in place, and force better enforcement of those laws nothing will improve. Don’t just contact the manufacturers – they may only change if laws which make this illegal are in place.

The test results which you are going to see should embarrass the regulatory officials because it proves that they are not doing their jobs.

This link will take you the very lengthy and disturbing test results.

Avoid these indoor holiday plants that are potentially lethal to cats!

Poinsettias, mistletoe and lilies – these are but a few of the indoor house plants that are toxic to cats! Here’s a complete list of cat-unfriendly houseplants.

Bringing flowers to a home with cats? Roses are a good choice BUT they should be grown locally, and better yet, they should be grown organically!

Why is organic important? Most roses sold in the U.S. come from Colombia or Ecuador where they are grown in greenhouses which use a shocking amount of pesticides.

Read more about the toxins in Colombian and Ecuadoran roses here:

Where to find organic or fair trade flowers:

Newton’s purr-spective on pilling a cat

Two weeks ago we wrote a story about alternatives to pilling our cats. If you missed that article, here is it is – Non-pill medication for cats from Koshland Pharm, the compounding pharmacy we endorse.

Our contributor, Newton, is a very smart cat and always has something to say. This is a topic near and dear to his kitty-heart! Here’s what Newton has to say about medication.

Newton’s Purr-spective – Medications

Let’s start this column with a quick survey for you cats. Here’s the situation. You go to the vet and the doctor prescribes medication. Choose from the following:

A. a pill
B. a capsule
C. a liquid
D. an injection
E. something else please!!!

I know you all skipped to E, and I don’t blame you. In fact, I’m a huge fan of “something else” – compounding pharmacies that make medicine easier to take. I know I look very cool, but I do stress out when it comes to pills. Cat Faeries recently posted an excellent article which includes the benefits of compounded medication plus a guide to choosing the right compounding pharmacy.
Although the list of available medications is growing, not all prescriptions can, or should be compounded.

I can testify that my flavored medication is quite tasty. But there are still those of us who are, and will remain, Finicky Felines. This group will likely face the first 4 options.

A. There are many jokes about “how to pill a cat” (usually pages long), but it is truly not a laughing matter. No matter what technique a pet parent uses there is one simple rule. The key to getting the pill into the cat is getting it on the back of the tongue so Kitty swallows, rather than spitting it out. Some people find that a “pill popper” is helpful, especially if they have large fingers. A subsequent dropper of water (plastic only!) will prevent the dry pill from getting stuck. Wrapping Kitty in a towel (aka the kitty burrito) can be calming and reduce injuries.

B. If a medication is particularly bad tasting it may come in a capsule. Here correct positioning on the tongue is even more important than with a pill. Muffin, a friend of mine, accidentally bit into a gelatin capsule of bitter medicine. To make matters worse, it got stuck on her tooth! Needless to say, this was a most unpleasant experience for all.

C. After a bad experience cats demonstrate that they have jaws of steel which will open for nothing. Pet parents may then choose liquid medication. The important requirement is to get the dropper inside the cat’s cheek and administer slowly enough to give Kitty time to swallow. However, can someone please tell me who decided cats are partial to banana or bubblegum flavored antibiotics? My older brother, Indiana Jones, would gag just at the sight of the bottle! Right now I only know of one common cat friendly antibiotic liquid available directly from your veterinarian.

D. There is one injectable antibiotic popular for hard to medicate cats. OK, it involves a small needle – BUT – the shot lasts a full 2 weeks. It isn’t safe for everyone. The manufacturer cautions against use in patients with allergies to penicillins or cephalosporins. However, clinical trials documented the safety of Convenia in the general cat population. Any drug has the possibility of causing adverse effects. Once the shot is given you can’t “take it back”. so this method should not be used without careful evaluation of alternatives.

What you choose will depend on availability and on the dosing frequency required. For example, deworming medication may be given only once (with a followup dose in 7-10 days), while antibiotics generally require a full 10-14 day regime. A single dose may be relatively easy to administer. But even a compliant cat may become weary after a week of twice a day medication. Life saving medication for chronic diseases (e.g. hyperthyroidism) involves other considerations. Transdermal methimazole for hyperthyroid cats is often the preferred treatment option.

Remember, the most important thing is your cat’s health. Work with your veterinarian to find the best method available for making sure Kitty gets the full benefit of prescribed medication.

Keeping cats calm during the holidays

Ah, this time of year can be a flurry of visitors, more activity than usual, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and so much more. Do yourself a favor, keep your cat calm which in turn will make you calmer because you aren’t worrying about your cat’s nerves or possible naughty behavior.

Here are our tips:

Company is coming! How to train your guests and visitors to be cat friendly!

We sure love our guests. It’s fun to plan for them, to feed and water them, and create new experiences and memories. Some cats love having new people around, they can thrive on it. But for other cats it’s a disaster! “Who are these people and why won’t they leave?!” Their noise can be upsetting, their smells can be unfamiliar, they might bring a dog or children and heaven forbid they might sit in the cat’s favorite chair! The last thing we want is a stressed out cat – this can lead to vomiting, not eating, being a bit aggressive, or the worst of the worst: litter box avoidance.

Tips for training house guests which will help keep kitty calm and allow you to be the perfect hostess who enjoys your guests.

  • Visitors should be asked to not approach your cats. Let the cat’s curiosity kick in so that if your cats want to be petted it will be asked for.
  • No rough housing! No vigorous petting unless that’s something your cat likes.
  • Give your visitors a favorite Cat Faeries catnip toy so they can interact with the cat. The cat will view your catnip toting guest as a friend!
  • This may sound nutty, but it works. Make the visitor endearing to your cat via sense of smell. A spray or two of our Cat Faerie Catnip Mist on clothing works wonders! You can also give a spray or two of Comfort Zone with Feliway to clothing or shoes. Really! This works!
  • If your cat likes to hide in a back room, let it be. If the cat wants to join the holiday festivities, it should happen when the cat wants it, and on the cat’s terms.
  • Show children how to play gently with the cat. Children should know to not bother a hiding, sleeping or eating cat. Loud exclamations like “THAT CAT IS SO CUTE!” can frighten a cat who’s not used to hearing loud voices.
  • If you’ve got several Comfort Zone with Feliway Diffusers, place them all in the room that your cat spends the most time in. The beauty of the diffusers is that you can move them around.
  • Don’t change the cat’s feeding times. Even a half hour can worry or upset a cat.

To help make your cat more comfortable during holidays, plug in a Comfort Zone with Feliway Diffuser a day or two in advance. The diffuser will last for four weeks (so you may need more than one to keep your cat comfortable through the festivities), and helps your cat adjust to a changing environment. Stress behavior (vertical scratching, urine spraying, etc.) is usually a result of stress, and using Comfort Zone products with Feliway can help keep your cat happy and your home safe. Feliway is used and recommended by veterinarians nationwide.

Cat Faeries recommends:

Comfort Zone with Feliway – DIFFUSER
Plug it in and forget about it (until 4 weeks later when it’s time to install another refill of the pheromone) Fills a 600 square foot room with the calming scent. You may need two per room which is a good idea especially this time of year.

The Spray
The Comfort Zone with Feliway Spray makes it easy for you to go from room to room and spot treat furniture and other surfaces putting the calming pheromone right on places that the cat likes to sit or rest. It will also deter urinating or spraying urine.

Calm and Serene Flower Essence Formula for Cats
A few drops of this magic liquid in the water bowl or in food works wonders to calm down a cat. You can also rub a few drops on ears and top of the cat’s head.

Moves and Changes Flower Essence Formula for Cats
This formula will be helpful if your visitors will be staying for awhile! Cats don’t like change, even if it’s Aunt Martha who’s occupying the spare room for a few weeks! Even moving furniture around for the holiday can upset an otherwise calm cat.

Calm and Serene and Moves and Changes are on sale!

They’ve been marked down on our website.

Non-pill medication for cats from Koshland Pharm, the compounding pharmacy we endorse

Who doesn’t have a book full of stories about trying to pill their cats! And scratch marks too! Some of us are just not great at getting a pill into their cat. Others of us worry that the handling of the cat when pilling adds to the stress of being sick – not to mention it stresses us out too!

Perhaps you already know about compounding pharmacies and that they can put medication for feline hyperthyroidism in gel form to be applied inside a cat’s ear. The good news is that many more medications can be compounded into a gel for application inside a cat’s ear.

The reason why a cat’s ear is a great location for transdermal drug application is that the skin there is very thin and the medication will absorb evenly and quickly. A cat’s ear has a lot of blood flow to carry to drug directly into the blood stream.

Another great option for cats would be to put the medication in a flavored mini-chew.

This link will take you to an article which will tell you the wide array of medication that can be compounded to put either into an ear gel or mini-chew.

Veterinary Transdermal Medications – International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding

Researching compounding pharmacies has told us that not just any compounding pharmacy will do. The ones which are exclusively for veterinary are surprisingly the worst choice as their standards, quality, and precise measuring of ingredient particle sizes can be lax. You’ll want to seek out a compounding pharmacy which also creates human medications.

But that said, you also want a compounding pharmacy that will guarantee that none of the ingredients contain xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that is safe for people, but lethal to cats and dogs. Koshland Pharm guarantees that their products for animals are xylitol free. They also will provide you with a Certificate of Analysis if you ask for it – which is not the case with every compounding pharmacy. And your cat faerie knows personally that their attention to detail and getting everything just right is stellar.

The size of the flavored mini-chew from Koshland is about the same size as a pencil eraser.

Custom flavors include:
– Tuna
– Fish
– Shrimp
– Bacon
– Beef

– Chicken
– Liver
– Protein free flavors are also available

Here are six questions to help you evaluate a compounding pharmacy. Not all compounding pharmacies have the highest quality or standards.

Peter Koshland, the owner of Koshland Pharm, welcomes your calls and he will graciously answer your questions.

Koshland Pharm: Custom Compounding Pharmacy
(p) 415-344-0600 (f) 415-344-0607
301 Folsom St., Suite B
San Francisco, CA 94105

Important article from the The Truth About Pet Food about Purina food possibly linked to pet illness/deaths

Below is an article from The Truth About Pet Food that came out today regarding reports of Purina food possibly linked to cat and dog illnesses/deaths over the last two months. If any of your cats or dogs have mysteriously gotten sick or worse please read this article and then report it to the FDA. You can go here to file a report.

Report it! – Please!

By Susan Thixton

November 13, 2014

I’ve heard from many readers concerned of the recent Internet reports of sick and dying pets linked to a Purina Pet Food. I turned to FDA asking if the agency has received complaints on the Purina foods.

When an story was published highlighting several recent pet deaths linked to a Purina pet food, I started hearing from many readers. Everyone had similar concerns – is there going to be a recall? The amazing thing is – no one that wrote me provides their pet a Purina product. Everyone’s concern was for other pets – other pet owners. Everyone that contacted me was wanting to help – wanting to prevent pet illness and death.

The story was based on pet food consumer reports of sick or dead pets on the website. The posts from consumers were heartbreaking and concerning. I turned to FDA, asking if they could tell me if any Purina pet food was under investigation and asking how many adverse event reports the agency has received over the past two months.
FDA promptly replied:

In the past two months (9/12/2014 to 11/12/2014), the agency has received 14 reports about Purina dry food products (this includes for both dogs and cats). Three were adverse event reports for cat food products, 10 were adverse event reports for dog food products (one of these included a product defect report as well), and 1 was a product defect report for a dog food product. Here is a breakdown of the reports:

Purina Cat Chow: 0
Purina Dog Chow: 1 product report
Purina Puppy Chow: 2 (1 product defect, 1 product defect/adverse event report)
Beneful: 8 reports, 1 included another Purina product as well
Purina ONE: 1 cat product report, 1 dog product report
Purina ProPlan: 1 cat product report

The Food and Drug Administration welcomes reports from consumers alerting the agency to problems with products regulated by the agency. These reports help the FDA ensure that products on the market are safe and properly manufactured, labeled and stored. FDA encourages those with concerns about a particular pet food product to submit a report to the Safety Reporting Portal:

Reports of adverse events do not necessarily mean that the product caused the event. Other factors, such as existing disease, exposure to chemicals or contaminants, foods, or other medications may have triggered or contributed to the cause of the event. The FDA takes all of these factors into consideration when reviewing adverse drug event reports.

In general, the agency does not discuss its enforcement activities, and any investigation findings would be shared directly with the company.

From the website – in the approximate same time frame there are the following complaints filed by consumers…

Alpo – sick dog
Beyond Lamb and Rice Dog Food – sick dog
Purina One Cat Food – sick cat.
Purina Kit & Kaboodle – 10 cats died.
Pro Plan – worms in pet food.
Kit & Kaboodle – one cat died.
Purina Kitten Chow – one kitten died.
Purina Lamb and Rice – sick dog.
Pro Plan Dog Food – seizure.
Purina One cat food – diminished motor control.
Friskies – 2 sick cats.
Purina One Hairball – two sick cats.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cats and one died.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Dog Chow – sick dog.
Purina Kitten Chow – 2 kittens died.
Purina Cat Food – bugs in food.
Purina Pro Plan Puppy – bugs in food.
Puppy Chow – puppy died.
Purina One Lamb and Rice – bugs in food.
Friskies – sick cats.
Friskies can – ‘grey’ on top wet food.
Purina Beyond – sick dog.
Purina Cat Chow – sick cat.
Purina One Smart Blend – sick dogs.
Purina Dog Chow – dog died, another dog died too.
Purina One – sick cat.
Purina Cat Chow – cat died.

In the above list – consumers have reported 19 animals have died. These numbers or reports of sick pets (naming a food) do not agree with what FDA shared. What is going on?

The answer is – we don’t know. What we do know is that we need every incident of a sick pet, every pet that has died, and every bugs in a pet food reported to FDA. Every incident needs to be reported.

Needless to say, I am not the FDA’s biggest fan. But – the ONLY way for a suspect pet food to be recalled is through FDA and your State Department of Agriculture. If – we consumers – can be pro-active in helping save the lives of pets, this is one way we can help.

If you or anyone you know has a pet they believe was sickened or killed linked to a pet food or treat –

1. Seek veterinary care for your pet. Share your concern that you believe the pet food or treat might be the cause. Ask your veterinarian to give their opinion if the food could be related to the illness or death – this is significant information for FDA and other investigators. We need our veterinarians to stand with us. If the pet dies – as difficult as this might be – ask your veterinarian to perform a necropsy. This is evidence. In the midst of your grief, if you believe the food or treat was the cause, you need this evidence to hold the manufacturer accountable. You will need this evidence to possibly save the lives of other pets. If you cannot afford the cost of a necropsy, ask you veterinarian to hold the pets body while you report the issue to regulatory authorities.
In some cases authorities will perform the necropsy for you. Make certain to tell regulatory authorities you are holding the pet’s body for this reason.

2. When time allows – document everything. Where and when you purchased the food (keep all food and packaging), when you first noticed symptoms and what those symptoms are/were. Document everything you can recall. DO NOT return the food to the retail outlet for a refund. No investigation can occur without the food/treat and the packaging.

3. File a complaint with the FDA and your State Department of Agriculture (ask to speak to the pet food investigator). Bookmark this page on the FDA website. This is the instructions on how to report the sick pet.

4. Report the incident to the pet food manufacturer. Note: seek veterinary treatment first, document everything, report to FDA before you report to the manufacturer.

5. You can have the food tested yourself at an independent lab or a veterinary school lab. Ask your veterinarian to provide you with what food toxins could cause the symptoms seen in your pet (example: mycotoxins, vitamin toxicity).

6. If you wish to share your story with other websites – share. We all want to warn other consumers when we suspect a problem with a pet food or treat. But please – report the incident to regulatory authorities first, Facebook second.

My heart goes out to all those that have lost a pet due to a pet food or treat – I began my path of pet food consumer advocacy because 20+ years ago a dog food killed my beloved dog. I still grieve her death – I still feel responsible. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I bought her this pet food and placed it in her bowl. Something I’ll never forget.

Report it – please.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food