Martin Lewis' website MoneySavingExpert has issued a warning to cat owners after it was revealed certain dry food could be linked to a fatal disease.

Certain Applaws, Pets at Home, and Sainsbury’s branded cat food made by Fold Hill Foods have been recalled over a potential link to the fatal disease pancytopenia.

Cat owners are being advised to return food made on behalf of retailers by the manufacturer, Fold Hill, as a precaution.

The team at MoneySavingExpert told owners they could be entitled to a refund if they have bought the products.

According to the Food Standards Agency, there have been over 130 cases of feline pancytopenia - a disease that causes the number of blood cells to rapidly decrease, which can lead to death - since April 2021.

The Argus: Cat food has been recalled over health fears. Martin Lewis has told people they can get a refundCat food has been recalled over health fears. Martin Lewis has told people they can get a refund

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is also investigating.

It sees one case of this disease per year but it's now seen 10 cats with severe pancytopenia in the past four weeks.

If you have purchased any of the products listed below, you should stop feeding them to your cat straight away.

According to the RVC, common symptoms to look out for include lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases there are signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising.

There's no evidence the outbreak poses any risk to human health.

Here's a full list of the products that have been recalled:

  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Salmon
  • Applaws Kitten Dry Chicken
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Lamb
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Duck
  • Applaws Cat Dry Ocean Fish
  • Applaws Cat Dry Senior Chicken
  • AVA Kitten Chicken
  • AVA Adult Fish
  • AVA Adult Mature Chicken 7+
  • AVA Senior Chicken 12+
  • AVA Sensitive Skin & Stomach 
  • AVA Weight Management 
  • AVA Hairball
  • AVA Oral Care
  • AVA British Shorthair
  • AVA Persian
  • AVA Maine Coon
  • by Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with Salmon 1+ Years
  • by Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with Chicken 1+ Years

Dr Barbara Glanemann, a senior lecturer in small animal medicine at the RVC, told MoneySavingExpert: "Given the rarity of this condition, the clustering of these cases is concerning.

"Investigations in our cases have not revealed any identifiable underlying cause so far.

"Speaking to several colleagues in general practice and other referral hospitals around the country we are currently aware of about another 40 to 50 affected cats.

The cats are severely unwell, have spontaneous bleeding and require often multiple transfusion for stabilisation prior to any investigation being possible."

How to get a refund: 

You can return any of the recalled products to the retailer you bought them from and you will receive a refund, even if you don't have a receipt. 

What does the FSA and Fold Hill Foods say?

In a statement on the FSA's website, a government spokesperson said: "Working with the Royal Veterinary College, the Animal Plant and Health Agency and other government departments across all four nations of the UK, local authorities and the pet food supply chain, we are investigating a possible link between specific cat food products and feline pancytopenia. There is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage

"No unsafe cat food has been identified but the manufacturer and brand owners affected, based on investigations so far, are taking the precautionary action of recalling and withdrawing cat food products that have been linked to affected cats.

"There is no evidence to suggest this outbreak of feline pancytopenia presents any risk to human health."

Ben Mankertz, general manager at Fold Hill Foods Ltd added: "As one of the leading pet food manufacturers in the UK, ensuring your pet’s safety is our priority and therefore we have chosen to recall the ranges of cat food that we manufacture for the brands that have been identified. We feel this is the safest course of action until an exact cause of the issue has been found."