Popular cat treats recalled for dangerous chemical

Blue Buffalo recalls Kitty Yums Chicken Recipe Cat Treats due to the presence of propylene glycol, a substance toxic to cats.

Although, Blue Buffalo tries to downplay the recall by saying the treats “may contain low levels of propylene glycol” whereas, cats only react badly to “high doses of propylene glycol,” Blue Buffalo seems to suggest that this is accidental inclusion of propylene glycol is nothing to worry about.

Veterinarian Marie Haynes warns that,

“While dogs and humans can tolerate small amounts of propylene glycol in their diet, cats cannot. Cats are extremely sensitive to this chemical!”

Further, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual propylene glycol is a known toxicity to cats,

“…ingestion of propylene glycol (PG) may be associated with a toxic syndrome similar to the acute phase of EG [ethylene glycol] toxicosis…In cats, ingestion of a diet containing 6–12% PG can result in Heinz body formation and decreased RBC survival.”

It is important to remember that this recall was prompted because of a consumer complaint which led the FDA to test the treats, leading to the finding that they contained propylene glycol, an ingredient forbidden for use in cat food or treats.

Specifically, in the Code of Federal Regulations propylene glycol is listed as a “Specific Substance[s] Prohibited From Use” in or on cat food. The FDA explains their reason for prohibiting its use in cat food:

“…studies have shown that propylene glycol reduces the red blood cell survival time, renders red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, and has other adverse effects in cats consuming the substance at levels found in soft-moist food. In light of these new data, CVM amended the regulations to expressly prohibit the use of propylene glycol in cat foods.”

In Blue Buffalo’s press release, they explain what prompted the recall:

“The FDA tested product in response to a single consumer complaint and found propylene glycol in one bag of our cat treats in the impacted lot. To date we have had no other reports of incidents related to our cat treats. Out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily recalling all product manufactured in the same lot as the subject bag.”

The press release continues,

“Cats reacting to high doses of propylene glycol may exhibit signs of depression and may have a loss of coordination, muscle twitching, and excessive urination and thirst. If your cat has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.”

The contaminated product was distributed nationwide in the US and Canada through pet specialty stores and e-commerce.

The product is packaged in a 2 oz., plastic stand up pouch. Only these specific code dates of this product are involved:

Blue Kitty Yums Tasty Chicken Recipe, UPC: 859610007820 – Best If Used By: April 24, 2016.
Blue Kitty Yums Tasty Chicken Recipe, UPC: 859610007820 – Best If Used By: July 24, 2016.

Consumers who have purchased the product being recalled may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Blue Buffalo at: 888-667-1508 from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday and the weekend of November 7, 2015 or by email at for more information.


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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (7) Write a comment

  1. My cat ate some Zoe brand cat treats from the 2019 “Advent calendar for cats”… She nearly died. Anyone else had any issues with this?


  2. I think Paws Happy Life chicken and cheese flavor cat treats almost killed my cat. Any comments out there?


  3. I am so glad to have found you. We have a beloved Havanese rescue dog that we got four years ago. She was estimated to be between 1-2 at the time. We have fallen in love with this affectionate, quirky, happy dog and want to do everything to keep her healthy and happy. In order to ensure this, we only fed her Blue Buffalo for the first several years, until I read your report about this horrid company’s denial, excuses and other lame remarks on why chicken byproducts were found in their food, thanks to Purina, while an inexpensive brand, finally got sick of being denigrated by BB about the composition of their food. BB was busted. I have rarely been so angry with a company. These management folks should be in jail for false and dangerous advertising. In any case, thanks to your article, Harper is now on a regime of Organix kibbles,a bit of Paul Newman’s organic canned food and a bit of scrambled organic egg mixed together. She loves it. I want you to know that you are much appreciated. We are completely smitten by Harper and want, above all, for her to remain healthy, energetic and happy. I feel much better about our efforts thanks to you. God bless you and your work, Mollie.
    Pat Greene and Mary Logan
    Lincoln, Nebraska


    • God bless you Pat for taking the time to write and thank me! It makes my heart glad to know I am making a difference. It’s because of stories like yours that keep me going, despite the hard work, endless hours of research and abject poverty all worth it! Blessings to you and your dear Harper!


  4. BB continues to downplay problems and excuse substandard sourcing and manufacturing protocols. Go look at the “what’s new at Blue” page of their site, where supposedly they post emergent information, and there is no mention of this issue. Not much of a surprise, really…



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