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Cat deaths prompt concern over food's safety
2006-02-21 20:27:57 Xinhua English
BEIJING, Feb. 22-- Concern is being raised over the safety of a brand of cat food after the sudden deaths of dozens of cats.

Yu Zhi, who took care of about 50 homeless felines in her house in Beijing, said 38 of them died last month.

She said they became ill shortly after being fed with Xiduoyu, a brand of a Tianjin-based cat food manufacturer.

Beijing Municipal Industrial and Commercial Bureau said it had received complaints from dozens of pet-owners whose cats had also died or become seriously ill after eating the product.

The manufacturers of the cat food were yesterday unavailable for comment.

Some people fear the food contained fish products that were contaminated with heavy metals.

A vet who examined the dead cats, however, said tests proved no direct link between the death of the cats and the food they had eaten.

Yu said she was left heartbroken by the death of the animals, but was still concerned over the health of five others, which are seriously ill.

"They are now suffering serious oral ulcers and look very helpless," Yu told China Daily yesterday.

She said many of her cats began to fall ill on December 29, a day after feeding them with Xiduoyu.

She claimed only the cats that did not eat the food stayed healthy.

A vet surnamed Liu said test results from Beijing Animal Hospital showed the dead cats had suffered from kidney exhaustion and that the sick ones have kidney damage.

But kidney exhaustion only usually falls on old cats, while the ones that died were of all ages, Liu added.

Another well-known animal volunteer, Ding Shiying, who has fed homeless cats for more than 60 years, is also concerned over the safety of the food.

She said she had received many complaints over Xiduoyu cat food from other people."I'm sure the cats died of food containing heavy metals, food which was made with polluted seafood ingredients."

Yu went to the national feedstuff quality check centre under the Ministry of Agriculture to have tests carried out on the food.

"Tests showed there is slightly more lead in the food sample(Yu brought here) compared with pig and bird feedstuff, which has clear ingredient standards," Gu Junhua, a chief engineer from the centre, said.

But at present, he said it was difficult to draw any conclusions because the country has not drafted any food safety criteria for pets in terms of the quality and quantity of each element of the ingredients.

(Source: China Daily)

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