***CONSUMER ALERT*** Wellness Canned Cat Food Recalled

February 28, 2011

Dear Pet Parents,

My name is Tim Callahan and I’m the CEO of WellPet, makers of Wellness® natural pet food. Over the years, we at WellPet have worked hard to earn the reputation of being a company that does everything possible for the pets that depend on us.

WellPet is committed to delivering the very best in pet food nutrition, as nothing is more important than the well-being of our dogs and cats. So when we found through product quality testing that specific product runs of our Wellness canned cat food might contain less than adequate levels of thiamine (also known as Vitamin B1), we decided to voluntarily recall them.

Please know, the vast majority of products tested had the appropriate levels of thiamine; however, with the number of recipes we offer, we did not want to make this more confusing. Therefore to avoid confusion and in an abundance of caution, we have decided to recall all canned cat products with the specific date codes noted below. Cats fed only product with inadequate levels of thiamine for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency is typically reversible.

Though the chance of developing this deficiency is remote, withdrawing these products is the right thing to do and we are removing it from retailers’ shelves.

The lots involved in this voluntary recall are:

**Wellness Canned Cat (all flavors and sizes) with best by dates from 14APR 13 through 30SEP13;

Wellness Canned Cat Chicken & Herring (all sizes) with best by date of 10NOV13 and 17NOV13.**

If you have cat food from these lots, you should stop feeding it to your cats. You may call WellPet at 1-877-227-9587 to arrange for return of the product and reimbursement.

No other Wellness products that your pets currently enjoy are impacted, so you can continue to feed your pets Wellness with full confidence. This is an isolated situation, as we have had only one reported issue. We are taking all the necessary steps to ensure it does not happen again.

Speaking on behalf of our entire Company, I apologize for any concerns this may have caused you. As a parent of a yellow lab named Hope, I understand the sense of responsibility we all share for our dogs and cats. Rest assured, product quality and safety will always be our top priority.

Sincerely,
Tim

http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/letter.aspx

My pantry is full of Wellness canned cat food. Fluck. No signs of illness in either of my kitties, but every can is going back to the store.

I’m glad to hear that your kitties are okay Shayna and thanks for the update. I’ll make sure we don’t have any either.

The OP’s link checks out; clearly not spam. Nothing to see here.

And thanks to Shayna for letting us know.

You’re welcome (why would you think I would spam the SD?).

P.S. Petsmart has agreed to take back all the recalled product and replace it in-store. If you deal through Wellness directly, they’ll send you a prepaid shipping label, and when they get the product back, they’ll mail you coupons to replace the recalled cans. Amazon.com has stopped selling the canned Wellness product altogether to be safe.

look at the bright side; a lot of pet food manufacturers would let far, far worse go out w/nary a peep.

Thank you so much for posting that link. I wonder if they’ve hung a copy by the Wellness displays at the stores. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.

Wellness is the mainstay in the kitty cupboard. They also get Innova and Chicken Soup. I’ve only got 8 cans of Wellness now and none of them have the bad dates Seeing as how the concern is a deficiency, I’m thinking that as long as I mix their food up, they should get everything they need. Kinda like its OK to eat a yummy fried fish samwich for lunch once in a while as long as you balance it out with good food with the other meals.

I’ll keep feeding my boyz a food that I trust.

jz78817 Good point. Wellness is a high quality food and owning up for a mistake just shows their commitment.

I have 21 cans of it, all within the expiration dates for the recalled product. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that both of the last 2 cases they went through were also within that date range. Since I don’t mix up their food, that’s all I have in the pantry. But you’re correct, that as long as they’re getting the proper amount of Thiamine via all the food they eat, it shouldn’t pose a problem for your kitties.

I’ll have no problem continuing to buy Wellness for my cats. I like that they offer a grain-free product and my cats love it.

Says some bad words for you. I understand your concerns better now. I wonder if you might think about calling your vet and ask about supplements.

I think that Wellness is a wonderful food, but after that problem with cats dieing from liver failure because they only ate one brand of food (thinking about the best cat in the world…allergies are acting up now), I always mix their food up.

Thanks again for posting this warning. I know that lots of people would have missed it otherwise.

As a pet owner (cats and dogs) my first response to this news would be to wonder what is really wrong with the food.

Such a recall would seem to indicate something a bit more serious than the lack of a B vitamin which could easily be given as a supplement.

Thiamine is found in whole grains.

Thanks Shayna. That explains why I couldn’t find any Wellness at Petco or FF today. My cats like it and I feel good about giving it to them. However, I don’t buy that brand exclusively. Just like me, my cats sometimes indulge in junk food.

They aren’t showing any of the symptoms associated with a Thiamine deficiency, so I’m not worried that they’re sick now. But since it’s something that becomes a problem over a prolonged period, on the chance that the flavor I’m giving them is one of the ones with low Thiamine, I’m not going to continue to feed it to them for 2 more weeks.

I’ve tried the mixing up their food thing and all I found it doing was making them more finicky. I threw away more bowls filled with cat food than what they actually ended up eating. My first cat ate nothing but Fancy Feast Cod Sole and Shrimp her entire life (long before there were really “high quality” cat foods other than what was sold in vet’s offices, which were way too expensive), and she lived to be 22 years old.

But like you, I trust Wellness, so I’m not concerned that that’s the only brand I feed them. I just need to pick up some cans that are outside the recalled expiration dates.

I also wouldn’t have known about this had I not read it on a pet forum I go to, so I couldn’t not share it here. I remember how many here were affected by the tainted dog food.

A Thiamine deficiency can be serious. And if you don’t know the food you’re giving your cats is lacking in it, you wouldn’t know to supplement it.

I’m not sure why you’d think there would have to be more than the potential for this kind of problem for Wellness to issue a voluntary recall.

I’ve never used this brand but THANK YOU for the heads up. I’m gonna pass this on to some of my friends who are animal lovers.

Cats don’t eat grains in the wild, so I prefer they not get it in their domesticated diet, either. I’m sure Wellness adds Thiamine to their grain-free canned cat foods, or there would be a lot of sick and/or dead cats who eat it already. In this case, there simply wasn’t enough in a few of the flavors of food, within a few batches that fell into a certain expiration date period. And just as a precaution, they’re recalling it all, even though all of it wasn’t affected.

You’re very welcome!

You’re welcome! I haven’t been to the store yet, but I’m glad to know they’re taking it off the shelves.

Cats prey on herbivores in the wild, and enough of the stomach content of those herbivores are ingested to provide them with the necessary vegetable nutrition. Certainly you don’t want to feed a cat an all-grain (or mostly grain) diet, but neither is a completely grain-free diet natural for felines. Else why does Wellness find it necessary to add thiamine?

those herbivores “pre-digest” that vegetation. a cat eating the contents of its prey’s gut is not the same as cramming grains down your housecat’s gullet.

I have very healthy cats, so unless my vet tells me otherwise (and she knows they’re on a grain-free diet), I’ll stick to what I feed them. I do appreciate the thoughtful input, though.

Yes, cats sit watching herbivores feed, and waiting for them to chew their cud, waiting for the stopwatch to say that the vegetation is pre-digested.

I’m not arguing that Wellness should not have recalled the cat food they make due to a lack of thiamine. I am arguing that a lack of thiamine is a natural result of a lack of grain in a cat’s diet, and that a commercial diet whose selling point is “grain-free” and then has to add thiamine is no more a natural diet than are the 20 pound bags of Cat Chow lining the grocery shelves.