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Friskies, Purina cat foods recalled for Salmonella contamination

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling approximately 870 bags of dry cat food shipped to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon. This is being done because the product has the “potential” to be contaminated with Salmonella. Only the following products with both the “Best By” date and production codes shown are included in this recall:

Product Name Bag Size “Best By” Date & Production Code* Bag UPC Code
Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food 6.3 lb. AUG 2012 10331083 13 17800 11320
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food 3.15 lb. AUG 2012 10381083 06 50000 08450
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food 16 lb. AUG 2012 10381083 06 50000 57578

*”Best By” Date and Production Code is found on the back or bottom of the bag.

Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or to obtain a product refund, please call Nestle Purina PetCare toll-free at 1-800-982-6559 weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, or visit www.purina.com.

Not quite the end of the story

Normally, I would end the article here.

As someone who feeds and cares for cats, I feel it is my duty to give you my opinion of these two Purina brands whether you like it or not.

But, before I do that, I would like to apologize beforehand for offending anyone who buys Purina pet foods, because I am sure to do just that.

Like many of you, I bought Purina before I knew better. And now that I know better, I want to help others discover the reason not to buy these pet foods (and pet foods like them).

My objection lies with one simple premise: Cats are obligate carnivores. They are not meant to eat grain. Period. Full stop. Therefore, when I see grain-based cat foods with ingredients like the ones in these brands, I shudder.

As example, the first five ingredients of recalled Friskies Grillers dry cat food are: Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, ground wheat, chicken by-product meal and soybean meal. In other words, crap, crap, crap, crap and more crap.

The first five ingredients of the recalled Purina Cat Chow Naturals are equally unhealthy: Chicken meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, brewers rice and animal fat.

The last time I checked, cats are neither herbivores or omnivores. Therefore, what consumers who buy grain-based pet foods need to know are two, very simple things: One, they are wasting their money and two, they are very likely unknowingly harming their cat’s health with a species inappropriate food made up of mostly grain by-products.

There, I said it. I hope you understand that my goal is only to help animals, and if all you can afford is a low quality, inexpensive pet food I understand, but may I suggest supplementing their diet with meat, poultry, and eggs that you yourself eat.

Source: Nestlé Purina’s recall notice

Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is a consumer advocate and pet food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO's Pet Food Committee and Ingredient Definitions Committee and (more importantly) is mom to seven cats. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (31) Write a comment

  1. Couple weeks ago 1 of 3 cats got sick – been choking ever since (only feed Friskies) – thought fur balls? A few days later another cat has shown same signs and then my 3rd cat had same symptoms. Checked in cats mouths and see nothing. Something is definitely wrong – suspecting the food. More so cautious now after losing 4 cats with Melamine in cat food a few years ago – a very sad and costly experience.

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  2. OH NO!!! So i have 2 babies! Azraelia 1yr and Silky which is only 6months. Ive always fed them both friskys. Azraelia loved it and always has since the day i found her and the same with Silky since i found her. Well i feed them the dry stuff all day everyday. The pouchs i buy once or two a month. Well i bought some last week. Gave them a pouch the night before last. I though it smelled alittle strong but i had a cold so… well after 10mins which is when they r finished eatting i came back in the kitchen to find that Silky finished hers but Azraelia didnt even take a bite. Well if Azraelia ever has any left Silky devours it. Well neither of them would touch the food in azraelias bowl. Then yesterday Silky starting to walk around acting strange and meowing loud as if she was in pain. By last night less than 24hrs later she is throwing up food. Today no food all day same pain and cant even keep water down. What should i do? Should i wait a few days and see if it passes or what? Sounds like the food right???

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  3. I have been feeding my cats Purina for many years. I usu. mix it with water ~ most of them like that better. They are all healthy and robust. This year I had some kittens die. The vet said that Feline Leukemia and feline aids diseases are running rampant this year. Countless cats all around the neighborhood were dying, and most of them never tasted Purina because it is too expensive to buy in our small town. If the cats are fixed, then they have had their leukemia shots, and at least won’t contract that. The cats fight and spread the diseases.

    Should we be so quick to blame the catfood?

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  4. In an Addendum to my earlier comment, In addition to Friskies Canned and Dry cat food and TEMPTATIONS Cat Snacks, I also feed my Cats Chopped Fresh cooked Rotisserie Chicken that I prepare myself every day, plus Canned Tuna suitable for Human consumption, and Canned Mackerel also for human consumption. Most all of my Cats live to be between 12 and 23 years old. I have one Cat since about 1.5 years old that has Aids and is on his way to the Rainbow bridge soon, but he’s 14 years old now and to date has lived a very active life as an Indoor/ outdoor cat. I also have 3 Cats with FELV Leukemia, Luck must be in my Corner.

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    • God bless you for taking such good care of your babies!

      I only feed human food too (and Honest Kitchen’s Prowl for cats).

      I would be careful about the amount of tuna, though. Do they get bone meal? Just muscle meat isn’t enough.

      May I recommend Lisa Pierson’s cat nutrition page as one of THE best sources for feline nutrition at http://www.catinfo.org/!!

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  5. I generally feed my 16 Cats Friskies Canned Foods and also as a fill in I feed them FRISKIES SURF N TURF Dry Cat food with Great results so far. One day my wife brought home FRISKIES GRILLERS DRY CAT FOOD to try. My Cats didn’t like it and I complained there was too much RED DYE in it and was staining what ever I put it into for an Eating plate. When Cats spilled Saliva into the food it would look like Blood, and I would start checking to see if any cats were injured. I found None, but the Red Dye would stain everything it touched. I Dumped the remainder of product and never bought it again.

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    • Well, Bill, you are not the only person to comment (and complain) about the horrid red dye in their food. If your cat barfs on anything other than the color red – good luck getting it out.

      You probably won’t ever really get the stain out, but you’ll probably spend a mint a professional carpet cleaners trying!

      Thanks Purina!

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  6. My cat became violently I’ll after eating Friskies shredded beef. Vomitting, abdominal pain….Three trips to the vet in 2 days and nothing turned up. Funny though, my other cat didn’t eat the food and didn’t get sick. Before I realized the issue, I put the food out again, & again wouldn’t eat it. They have been eating this for years. My cat has never been sick like this & very similar reports are on the Internet- same symptoms. Never again!

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  7. I purchased a 12 pack of Friskies 5.5 OZ canned for our cat. Within two days we noticed the cat box stunk bad. Than he had crap stuck to his fur!

    I took him off the Friskies and cleaned the box twice in two days. Third day everything was good. We had noticed before the crapping bout he was not acting right. Seamed tired but did not sleep much either. Etc.

    We feed him a combo of dry food and wet food as a treat.

    He was thrown from a car into our yard in late fall during very cold weather by some jerk. Who a few weeks latter threw another weeks old kitten into our yard again. It got run over the same night!

    All that aside he was near starvation. He finds comfort in the presence of a small amount of dry food we put out for him to eat a little at a time.

    My son insisted on only Science Diet cat food which the cat soon disliked the wet canned food. But he still ate the dry food by the same brand.

    I switched to Iams brand for dry food latter because of shopping locations and somewhat the price.

    He eats it well but is seamed to hard of a crunch for a kitten. That started me on the date code search and here I am. All our recent cat foods products were purchased at Walmart?

    Now after reading about recalls and stuff I knew from my parents decades back like ash content. Now I feel like all the food sucks!

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  8. I would like to know why the small cans of friskies wet cat food smell like bad meat n my cats won’t eat it the big cans so far are okay but the small cans don’t really thinking of changimg wet food this not all of a sudden it has been ongoing problem with the small cans for almost a year thought it was my imagination but while living at daughter’s over the winter she said the same thing

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    • I can’t answer that question. I have a couple of theories, but they are not important. What is more important is that you are feeding Friskies to your pets at all – in any form. It is one of THE WORST quality pet foods on the market. It is absolute garbage. There are plenty of healthier alternatives. TruthAboutPetFoods.com reviews brands, I don’t do that. She has reviewed hundreds and hundreds of pet foods, I assure you she can help you find a better one than Friskies. The detailed reviews are in her Petsumer Report. Well worth the small price to save the life of your pets.

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      • One thing that I found helpful
        when my male cat developped crystals was to mix apple cider vinegar in with his food. The vinegar will dissolve the crystals in his urethra, unblocking it, and allow him to urinate without straining. No need for surgery, steroids or Rx drugs. I highly recommend you look into homeopathic treatments for the crystals, as well as changing your cat’s diet.
        I saw a noticable difference in my cat within 24 hours, and the problem was completely cleared up in 3 days.
        Good luck!

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  9. My 3 year old cat died in January as a result of eating Friskies.His bladder became impacted with crystals to the point of not being able to urinate.He later went into kidney failure.I am still having a tough time getting over his death,but it will not be in vain.

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    • I would check for vitamin D toxicity of the food. Otherwise, what I can tell you is what I learned years ago (my reason for starting this blog) was the same thing happened to me years ago (read the About Mollie page), the main cause of urinary obstruction is because of a diet of kibble. Cats were never ever meant to eat dry food. Period. I don’t care how expensive the food is. That is the short story. Their urine becomes too concentrated because they are in a state of constant dehydration. Watch out for canned foods, all the big cans are lined with a toxic chemical – BPA. Your best bet is to buy something like Bravo! Blends or Bravo! Balance food, Nature’s Origin raw or Honest Kitchen’s Prowl (for example)…Cat’s need fresh, not cooked meat and the worst food in the world is Friskies dry cat food. It is total garbage. But, don’t feel bad most consumers are completely unaware of how horrible 90% of commercial pet food is. You are in the right place and check out my favorite site about pet food the TruthAboutPetFood.com – the author Susan Thixton has been doing this work for 19+ years.

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      • Molie, and the 2nd worst cat food is Friskies wet, sheds and filet’s type in gravy.

        I am happy to report my cat survived his bout with it. 6 days in the hospital on IV, came home on Monday and still recovering. We are having to give antibiotics 2x daily, 1x daily steroid shot. The vet has him on a prescription diet. Crystals caused by Friskies were the issue.

        The manuf replied to my complaint. Customer Service took all the can info, apologized and then had the nerve to offer coupons. We refused. Will never buy a product from Purina again.

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        • I couldn’t agree more! I hate to be so harsh – but it really is awful stuff. Thank God (or your vet) that your kitty survived, however, I would urge you to do research on that “prescription diet” the vet has your kitty on. I don’t know the brand, but I have a pretty good idea which one it is. I’m not suggesting to take her off it, though. Just know that they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…Go to truthaboutpetfood.com, Susan has all the information. Try taking them to small claims court. Susan just wrote an article about that too. Coupons? Assholes. Typical of Big Pet Food.

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  10. We just ran into problems with Friskies shreds and filets in gravy. Our indoor cat came down with explosive liquid stools after eating it for less than a week, we switched him to the Pate and his stools return to normal. Our outdoor cats were not so lucky. One vanished, persumed dead, a second is now in the vets with renal failure, we don’t know if he will survive. The vet said he had been having liquid stools The 3rd cat doesnt like wet food so he ate very little of it and is fine. The only commonality was the food. I filed a compaint with Purina-Neslle and have yet to hear from them.

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    • Mike, you and your vet need to report this to the FDA! And save a sample of the food, the FDA may want to test it! All the instructions for doing so are online at the FDA or go to my post – the Complete Guide to Making a Pet Food Complaint: http://poisonedpets.com/2012/02/13/the-complete-guide-to-making-a-pet-food-complaint/. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer from those sh*t heads at Purina. I encourage you to check out another excellent site on pet food called http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com written by pet food expert Susan Thixton. I hate to say this, but Friskies I’m afraid is one of the WORST pet foods on the market, I am sorry to say… You are much better of with something like Honest Kitchen, Answers Pet Food or Nature’s Logic for example…

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    • My cat started to have issues with Friskies wet canned cat food. He was violently throwing the food up from deep inside. Bought two other brands of wet food and he ate them with no problems. Called Purina who reimbursed me for the cans I bought and also the FDA. I got the feeling that no one from either place cared if there is cat food that could be or is killing cats on store shelves.

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      • Did you take the cat to the vet? Often the FDA prefers that for backup information. You should also report it to your state’s consumer complaint coordinator (see sticky post). In the future, I would avoid Purina pet food in general because Friskies is one of the lowest quality pet foods on the market. Buy the best you can afford or make your own. There are many other brands that are better than Friskies. Try Honest Kitchen, Answers Pet Food, Nature’s Logic, for example. If you want more brand advice/reviews go to http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com – she does reviews, I don’t.

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  11. What catfood would you recommend??? I tried many brands and Friskies was the only one my cats would eat,,,,

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    • Well, considering your budget…you can start by switching right away to a better kibble and canned food called Nature’s Logic. They have a raw food too. I really like Honest Kitchen’s Prowl and Answers Pet Food. Personally, I make my own cat food for my nine babies and supplement with Honest Kitchen and Nature’s Logic. It is soooo easy to make your own and way cheaper than you think, mainly because they eat much less of it. Buy a whole chicken, some chicken hearts and chicken livers, cook, get out the Cuisinart add cantelope, sunflower seeds, a few peas, some fresh corn, egg yolks, olive oil, shrimp, sardines, tuna or mackerel and your good to go. Freeze what you don’t use right away. Don’t worry about the exact measurements right now, just make a soupy mix of stuff to add to kitty’s store bought cat food. I HIGHLY recommend Susan Thixton’s website, http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com, she’ll be coming out with an easy cookbook for pets soon. Oh, and I almost forgot, DO NOT feed the chicken bones to your cat – put them in a pot, cover with water and simmer on low, low, low for 6-12 hours with the lid on (if you have on cook the bones in a crock pot). It makes a killer broth that the cats go nuts for. It’s chock full of vitamins and it will look almost white in color and turn to jello in the fridge. Add it to your home-made stuff or serve by itself. And, if you can, only buy organic. It is a million times better than regular produce and meat. But if you can’t – that cool. It’s a HUGE step up from Friskies! Good luck and let me know how it goes…I promise to write about what’s GOOD about pet food – soon! Oh, and the reason Friskies was so irresistable to your cats is because they doctor the shit out of it with all these gross flavor enhancers! Try a smattering of tuna on crap and your cats will eat anything. So, if they turn their noses up at their new food, add a smidge of tuna, sardines or mackerel and trust me, they’ll eat it. Mollie

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