It has been widely reported that Natural Instinct’s raw wild venison cat food which costs about £4.50 for two daily portions (i.e. it is very expensive) has been implicated in infecting about 50 cats in 30 homes around Britain with bovine tuberculosis and in doing so there is a risk that their owners may also contract this disease because it is contagious.
It’s obviously a great shock for the manufacturer who say that they continue to follow every food standard and hygiene regulation and best practice to produce a high quality raw pet food. They blame the UK government, in particular the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which approved the carcasses of the wild deer shot in Britain used to make this cat food.
The venison was supplied by a third party supplier approved by Defra and it was deemed fit for human consumption by inspectors.
Regrettably, research by a veterinary scientist at Edinburgh University has come up with the conclusion that 50 cats in 30 homes have developed bovine TB because of eating this cat food.
Two of these cats were Bengal cats, Roxy and Amber. One of them, Roxy, has died already and the other is on a course of treatment. The treatment have cost about £7000 in veterinary bills. The owners, Michael and Gillian Groves are concerned that they have contracted the disease as well and have delayed their plans to start a family.
It’s a blow to raw cat food advocates. Raw cat food is a very good product, arguably better than any manufactured product of the conventional type, but it has to be produced to a high standard. Veterinarians recommend that cat owners do not feed their cat a raw food diet. They don’t recommend that cat owners produce this stuff either. They think it is too dangerous to produce it because it requires particularly careful handling in order to avoid bacterial contamination.
This particular scandal as I call it is a big knockback for this type cat food. In this instance most of the cats are purebreds because I suppose their owners want to give them the best available.
The product has been sold to thousands of cat owners. I’m sure that there is a lot of concern amongst those people. Danielle Gunn-Moore, Prof of feline medicine at Edinburgh University who co-authored the research said:
“Raw meat diet could be good for cats, in theory, but there is a clear risk of infection so checks are vital. It’s not just bTB – there’s also a risk of toxoplasmosis, salmonella and other pathogens.”
We get the message. Although my personal viewpoint is that she is being overly cautious. This is a very rare problem caused by a government department. The manufacturer is not to blame based on the reports.