Did Royal Canin Lightweight Care dry cat food give 5 Somali cats IBD?

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: There is a report this morning of Somali cats falling ill after eating a new version of Royal Canin Lightweight Care dry cat food. Lynne Moorman said her 6 Somali (longhaired Abyssinian) purebred cats become ill (one is non-purebred). Perhaps it was coincidence? The manufacturer stated that there are no issues with their food. However, Moorman is a very experienced cat owner who has shown her cats at cat shows and won awards. She said all seven of her cats fell ill during Sept 2020. She’s convinced that she is right.

Lynne Moorman and Tarek at the Sydney Royal show in 2019
Lynne Moorman and Tarek at the Sydney Royal show in 2019. Photo: Lynne Moorman (believed).
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Moorman said the older version of this product, which she had used for four years previously was okay but the new product caused the illness. The shape of the kibble was changed from a pyramid to a donut. She blames the ingredients for causing diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, bloody stools and loss of appetite. It appears that a vet diagnosed IBD – inflammatory bowel disease or lymphoma in 5 of her cats. The other 2 have ongoing sickness. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system.

There is a suggestion, as yet unfounded, that the shift in manufacture of the product from France to South Korea many be behind the problem which is when the shape of the kibble changed.

Moorman said: “It was horrendous. These are our family, and it breaks my heart to see what they’ve had to go through.” She has spent $10,000 on veterinary treatments.

Royal Canin are adamant that they are unable to establish a link between the illnesses and their product. They also say the product was made in France. But Moorman referred to a video on Facebook of July 2020 which showed the new donut shape indicating it was made in S. Korea.

Unfortunately, she did not keep the packaging so can’t establish beyond doubt the place of manufacture. Moorman is utterly convinced that the food caused the IBD.

She said: “Prior to the food change in August 2020 all my cats were fine. There is no question in my mind whatsoever. I am absolutely 100% convinced that Royal Canin has caused the issues. There’s nothing else there.”

By mid-May 2021 the cats were showing signs of improvement. Moorman took them off Royal Canin Lightweight and she said that “their coats have come back; their tails have come back. They’ve got more energy and they’re putting on weight. Two of them have put on nearly a kilo since January.”

She feels badly let down by Royal Canin who continue to deny that their product is the cause. Royal Canin said “we have exhausted all support we can provide you in relation to this complaint.”

ROYAL CANIN Light Weight Care Dry Cat Food
ROYAL CANIN Light Weight Care Dry Cat Food which is available in the UK.

Psyllium

The manufacturers states that it contains a “special blend of fibres including psyllium helps to increase the volume of food in the stomach, thus helping to naturally reduce spontaneous eating. Low fat content to help limit weight gain.”

Psyllium is made from the husks of the Pantago ovata plant’s sends. It is also called ispaghula. It can be used as a bulk-forming laxative. It is said to be beneficial to the heart and pancreas in humans.

Perhaps psyllium caused a negative reaction in the Somali cats? There is a link because it is a laxative. The cats contracted diarrhoea. Perhaps some cats might have a negative reaction to this ingredient? Was IBD the correct diagnosis?

Comment: Moorman looks very sensible to me. She is a very experienced cat guardian. She understands the nuances of the role and she knows her cats intimately. For these reasons I am with her on this. It seems possible that some cats might be sensitive to the ingredients in this food and psyllium might be the culprit.

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