University of Sydney researchers have found some supermarket cat food brands may be causing “severe illness or injury” to our feline friends.
Published in the Australian Veterinary Journal the study tested 20 commercial products, finding nine of them the be below Australian pet food standards.
Eight of those nine were found to have to levels of fat or protein that were either above or below the recommended dietary intake for adult cats. The study suggested use of these products could result in serious harm if eaten regularly with results showing them to cause diabetes, lameness, anaemia and/or obesity.
While many, including the Pet Food Industry Association, are calling for the brand names to be revealed the study’s authors are keeping mum.
“We do want to know more. We have flagged it with members,” Duncan Hall, from the Pet Food Industry Association, told the ABC.
“Of course we have concerns with regards to findings where the nutrient levels are not what is expected, and certainly the degree of some of those changes are a surprise.”
Yet both the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and the editor of the Australian Veterinary Journal, Anne Jackson, say reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
Jackson in particular told the ABC the study was only a “preliminary” investigation that “cannot be relied upon until confirmed by large, formal trials”.
The AVA are also concerned that the paper may have been misrepresented across media reports and that the names of studied foods should not be discussed until broader research has been completed.
“The study was prepared as part of a Master’s thesis and used a very small sample. Further research is needed to determine whether there are major concerns with cat food,” said the AVA’s president Robert Johnson. “The AVA does not know the brands, and it would be irresponsible to publish allegations about particular brands without knowing that they are backed by very robust research
“Unfortunately the story has led to concerned pet owners thinking that cat food is likely to poison their cat and this is not the case. It’s unfortunate that pet owners have been scared unnecessarily, and we are working with our members to help them reassure any clients who are worried.”
The paper is now open to the public and can be viewed here.