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My coworker John told me that his cat was seriously ill--throwing up, lethargic, refusing food, dropping weight. The previously healthy 6-year-old, 15-pound cat had lost a third of her body weight over the last few months. The vet couldn't find anything wrong with her. Blood tests were clean, and she didn't have any known illnesses. Yet she was a few days from organ failure.

That was a week ago. She's fine now. The solution was... to stop feeding her Purina cat food.

When John told me that, and said that friends of his had the same problem with their cats and Purina cat food, I looked into it. Holy shit. Take a look at the consumer complaints about Purina cat and dog food. This exact same problem has been an issue with Purina pet foods since 2007, but since this summer, the rate of complaints has picked up drastically. People who previously had no problems with Purina are reporting issues. Comment after comment sounds the same:

I've been feeding my three cats Fancy Feast canned food Chopped Grill Feast for many years. They have always devoured their meal and licked the plates clean. Last week, I noticed they did not want to eat much and went from plate to plate, ate a little. Next day, none of them would eat it. I kept trying new cans. What they did eat made them vomit and one cat was lethargic for days. I refuse to buy any more of this food. It's very scary. I don't know what is wrong with the food, but I fear it has toxins in it. I switched to another brand and the cats are fine now. Did anyone else experience this?


My dogs have been eating Purina Dog Chow (green bag) for about four years. They used to eat only Iams, but due to financial issues, we had to go with a cheaper brand. The last bag I purchased was about a week and a half ago. My 14 years old Labrador has vomited about 5-6 times and my German Shepherd has vomited about 4 times. Something is wrong with this food! The food has a kind of metallic smell to it. It just does not smell right. I'm taking it back to the pet store. I am changing my dogs' food, it's just not worth taking the chance to save a few dollars.


We purchased a large bag of Purina One Salmon dry cat food to give to a needy pet owner. She emailed us a couple of days later ,to say that there were maggots, lots of them with what looked to be like strands or webs with more dead gnats or flies, pieces of web in the food and "shells" of gnats or flies in the bag. Cats would not eat much of the food and, fortunately, they did not get sick. The store had noticed this problem in other bags and was willing to swap out.


I purchased a 34 lb bag of Purina One Smartblend dog food every three to four weeks for my two Labradors. The last bag I purchased seemed fine until I noticed a new infestation of little black bugs. Upon further inspection through the contents of the bag, I noticed clusters of white "eggs" adhered to quite a bit of the food. Some of these clusters contained larvae in the process of hatching. I immediately threw out the remaining contents of the bag but did save samples for my vet.

We went out of town last weekend and had friends dog sit for us. We originally attributed their lethargy and random vomiting to separation anxiety. Although they are doing better, I am still concerned and will be watching them closely. As stated, I saved samples of the infested dog food for our vet in the event that anything results from this issue.


I recently switched to the Friskies Poultry Variety pack (32 cans) that says it must be used by August 2013 (12281789 09:31 lo61237) sku (050000454242). I have 5 cats and feeding them this food, I noticed some of them throwing up. There's nothing in it but liquids, no hair ball, no food, nothing. My cats range from 8 weeks to 13 years old.

I switched my own cats to Purina a couple of months ago, and their coats look so much better than they did on the old brand of cat food... but Buffy has started vomiting stomach liquids. Purina and Fancy Feast are off the menu. Permanently.

I have no idea why this isn't news. But if you're feeding your pets any Purina brand, please don't wait for media confirmation that something is going on. Stop feeding your pets Purina immediately.


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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(no subject) - fer_de_lance - Dec. 4th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kwanboa - Dec. 5th, 2011 04:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 3rd, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
All our lil weasels get is Imas. Ever.


Edited at 2011-12-03 05:02 pm (UTC)
Dec. 3rd, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
I've alerted a family friend who is a news anchor about it (dunno if she can do anything though), our local newspaper and our area newspaper. I'll see if I can find a national outlet's submissions email as well...
Dec. 4th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. Wow, you're impressively dedicated. I don't know how recalls get started, but maybe people like you who take it to the "real" media are part of it.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Ps. I don't know if you have a Costco around or a Costco membership, or if they sell cat food as well (don't see why not) but we feed our dog their dog food which is surprisingly highly rated considering it's a store brand and cheap, $25 for a huge bag.
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
I was going to recommend that, actually! I took a look at the Costco premium dog food, at my cousin's request, and was actually quite impressed with it.
(no subject) - calandria - Dec. 5th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 3rd, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
We get really picky about Dude's food. Read the ingredients, compare price points, etc. Currently we have him on the PetSmart brand, which is the best thing we could find that contained none of that useless corn and also wasn't creepy 'meat byproduct'. He's always been the softest cat I've ever known, and highly energetic. DOWN WITH PURINA.
Dec. 3rd, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
PetSmart's brand being called Simply Nourish, and it's fabulous without being out of most price ranges. :) Purina talks a big game but it's really only like a step above Meow Mix or Special Kitty.
(no subject) - fer_de_lance - Dec. 4th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeshika_keranzu - Dec. 6th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 3rd, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
yeah, we feed FF... one cat eats all and everything and the other is picky... yet there were a few types of FF the picky one would eat until a week, maybe almost two ago and he wouldn't even touch his usuals... i thought it was him, but its probably the FF
Dec. 3rd, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
so thanks for the heads up
Dec. 3rd, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. I just switched my cats' food to Purina One a few weeks ago. I noticed a few days ago my Bucky was vomiting but it was only stomach liquid. I'll be sure to get a new food straight away.
Dec. 4th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
ACK. Yeah, that's worrisome. The good news is that Bucky should recover as soon as he stops eating Purina--I hope all goes well with him.
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Dec. 4th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
One of the posters on Consumer Reports got lab results back that indicated "toxins" in the food, but didn't say which toxins. I would be surprised if analysis showed that there weren't toxins. It's unlikely to be melamine, which causes kidney damage, not gastric issues, and which doesn't change the taste of the food. However, reading about what happens to "meat byproducts" before they go in pet food is a nasty, nasty experience. Don't do it within two hours of eating. If Purina is cutting corners in their meat processing, all kinds of foul things could end up in the food.
(no subject) - pierceheart - Dec. 6th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 3rd, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, I read it via a signal boost, and I've linked my flist to it to boost the signal further. I feed my kitty Natural Balance (which had its own recall last year, though only with a certain flavour of dog food) so I'm not personally affected, but I know people who buy Purina.

The fact that it's affecting both cat and dog foods, and various different flavours, suggests a major problem, rather than just a bad batch. Here's hoping they do a voluntary recall soon. I know companies hate doing recalls, but in the long run it'll probably do less damage to their brand than letting this go on. Yeah, consumers get worried when they hear about a recall, but they get plain old pissed off when their pets get sick.

Edited at 2011-12-03 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Dec. 4th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
The effects seem to be patchy, perhaps batch-specific, so hopefully your batch wasn't one of the affected ones. But yeah, changing brands is a good idea.

(I have so many cans of Fancy Feast to get rid of. Not. Pleased.)
Dec. 4th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Linked here from boosette.

*horrified* My older cat AND my dog both get Purina food... I'm going to show this to my parents immediately. Thank you for posting this warning.
Dec. 4th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Here via signalboost from boosette. Thanks for the heads-up. My family's got a dog, and since I'm in a different country I don't know what they feed her, but I sent them an email letting them know about this. I'll also link my flist to your post here, if you don't mind.
Dec. 4th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
Update: my dad told me via email: earlier this fall, apparently Serena (our dog) had started throwing up after starting on a new bag of Purina; my dad got her some Iam's and she's been fine since. He couldn't return the bag (the grocery store manager was jerkish and told him "oh, it's just an allergy"), but he saved a scoop of the dogfood to send in for testing.
Dec. 4th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC)
So, so glad I changed mine over to Applaws a few years back. It is MUCH more expensive but they also seem to eat a lot less of it (and are healthier, more active and with glossier coats on it) - maybe because it's got much more protein in? It's one of the few low- or no-grains foods I've found.

I wouldn't touch Iams, Purina etc with a bargepole - just looking at the change in my cats since I upgraded their diet has decided that for me. I don't have money to spare but it's worth it.
Dec. 4th, 2011 06:43 am (UTC)
This is really disturbing to hear. Purina has a large family of off-brands, Like Purina One, Beneful, Meow-Mix, etc. Our pets haven't gotten sick on it, but we may be in a different market with a different sourcing of ingredients. I'll keep a very close eye on them and we'll switch out to something else until this gets a recall.
Dec. 4th, 2011 08:01 am (UTC)
Best of luck!

(I would definitely switch away from that entire family of brands; all of them are on the so-cheap-it's-alarming end of the spectrum in terms of ingredients/quality. Higher quality foods cost more, but your pet will need to eat less of them -- in fact, one thing I used to recommend people do, in addition to comparing ingredient lists, was compare the recommended feeding amounts! Find a food that recommends feeding less than your current food says, and you've probably got a better product with less filler and better ingredients.)
(no subject) - kitty_advanced - Dec. 6th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 4th, 2011 07:58 am (UTC)
Having worked in a pet store and taken time to really read labels (as well as working through the tainted gluten thing of a few years ago), I can say: Purina is rubbish. So is anything else with either grain or byproduct as its first/second ingredients, especially if they're the *only* protein-source ingredients. And -- as the tainted gluten proved -- they almost all share suppliers, so if there's something wrong it's going to be everywhere, and good luck getting any one company to address it. D:
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