Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Melamine in Whiskas Cat food?

Bill Brown ... Xiamen University

Has anyone else's pets died after eating Whiskas pet food? For a decade we bought Whiskas, and only Whiskas, by the case--until one cat died and another almost died--in 2007, the very time that Whiskas with melamine was discovered outside China.

The company denies that they have had any problems, and I'd like to believe it--yet USA Today and other sources have shown that Whiskas prepared in Thailand had melamine and cyanide from contaminated Chinese grains. So we should believe that Whiskas made in China never had problems, when my cats sickened at the same time as the problems elsewhere? Read what happened to our cats, and decide for yourself.

In 2007, our beloved old cat, whom we had for 12 years in Xiamen, became very ill at the same time as the younger one, with the same symptoms--gagging, coughing, throwing up. We thought it was hairballs and treated them, but it did not help. We then took them to the vet, but the vet did not know the cause. We never suspected food, because we trusted Whiskas, having fed them nothing but Whiskas for years (purchased by the case at Metro).

Finally, hearing of the problems with melamine in cat food, and that a Mars plant in Thailand that manufactured Purina and Whiskas had used Chinese grains that were contaminated with melamine and cynanide (check here for one source), we tried Optima, and the cats recovered some over a few weeks. But Optima, at least here, is very expensive, so we thought, just to be sure, we'd try Whiskas again. After all, we had used only Whiskas every since the cat was very young (we bought it by the case).

When we went back to Whiskas, within a few weeks both cats were again ill. We took them off Whiskas and tried Optima and Friskies, but it was too late for the older cat. It could not recover, and we had it put to sleep. It was skin and bones. The younger cat, over a couple months, recovered, though still is not quite the same.

I e-mailed Whiskas last year and they said they'd had no problem. But given the widespread melamine scares the past year, and that melamine has been found in everything from children's formula to coffee-mate and candy, it seemed to me that, in fact, Whiskas might also have used contaminated Chinese grains in China (as they did elsewhere). I e-mailed Whiskas again. It is too late for our cat, but hopefully other cats will not suffer the same.

A couple days ago, a lady from Whiskas in Beijing phoned, and was very apologetic, but insisted that Whiskas had taken this very seriously, and inspected their products, and had found nothing. Is this likely? If Whiskas used contaminated Chinese grain in Thailand, is it any less likely they'd use it (inadvertantly, of course) in China itself?

Given that we fed our cats nothing but Whiskas, and that both became ill with the same symptoms at the same time, that both recovered when taken off Whiskas, and that both became ill again when back on Whiskas, and that the old one did not recover but the younger one did when back on Optima (and Friskies now), does it not seem likely that Whiskas also was the victim of contaminated grains?

It is too late for my cat, but I hope other pet owners will not suffer the same experiences, and I wish I could believe that the firm in Beijing is being upfront--but it seems very unlikely.

If your pet too has become ill, or died, from Whiskas, let me know (amoybill AT


Below is the info from the link above:
The tainted ingredients in the Asian incident came from a Mars plant in Thailand that manufactured Pedigree dog foods and Whiskas cat food. The culprit in the U.S. poisonings was Chinese grain that had been adulterated with the industrial chemicals melamine and cyanuric acid to make it appear higher in protein. The same contaminants were also found in feed for hogs, chicken and fish that had entered the U.S. food supply.

Mars researchers had linked the incidents even earlier -- in March 2007 -- after scientists figured out that melamine was involved in the U.S. contamination. Mars shared the information with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but major veterinary groups including the American Veterinary Medical Association say no one informed them of the link.

The Georgia researchers' findings have worrisome long-term implications for both pets and people:
...[S]ublethal MARF [melamine-associated renal failure] could represent an important, previously unrecognized cause of chronic kidney disease in dogs and cats. Interestingly, the contaminated wheat gluten in the 2007 outbreak was a human food-grade product. The potential effects of ingestion of similarly contaminated material by people are unknown.


Amoy Bill said...

Two cats in Philippines succumb...
I received this letter today, Dec. 2nd, from a man whose two healthy cats died shortly after eating Whiskas. To be fair, I've written the Beijing company to let them know I've posted this blog--but no response. Bill

From: bl...
Subject: Whiskas
To: amoybill

Hi, my cat Tomas died recently and I think it might have to do with Whiskas

I fed my two cats some canned Whiskas a couple of weeks ago and they didn't even finish it... I remember I was surprised because both my cats are hearty eaters but they seemed to be turning up their noses at it. I thought it was because Whiskas isn't their usual brand; I had substituted it because the supermarket didn't have their usual Friskies in stock.

A few days later, Tomas appeared lethargic, and was running a fever, I fed him some antibiotic and it didn't go away. By the time I brought him to the vet, he was having respiratory problems, and one day later, he succumbed to cardiac arrest while we were trying to hook him up to an IV.

We had our other cat Missy tested and now she has been diagnosed with liver disease and borderline kidney damage.

Both cats were the picture of health before I fed them the Whiskas, or at least they didn't exhibit any signs of illness.

Unfortunately I did not have Tomas' remains autopsied, and I did not keep the can of the Whiskas I fed them. We do have Missy's blood test though...

Let me know if you have any findings on Whiskas, I really want to find out if it caused my cat's death. I don't know how else my cats could have gotten this sick, they're given the best care...

Bl. So, (name changed)

"We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand,
and it is no good moving from place to place to save things,
because the shadow always follows.
Choose a place where you won't do harm,
and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."

- Mr. Emerson to Lucy, A Room With a View by EM Forster

Anonymous said...

Oh no... sad alert...
Me too feed my kitty with Whiskas imported from Russia. I'm in Mongolia & here is none of Whiskas branch. I thinking Whiskas is the most trustworthy ((( Poor our cats((