Our friend Julie over at Cats Herd You pointed this out to us a few days ago, and we felt it was important information to pass along:
Last Monday, the Winn Feline Foundation published an article on cat food and low thiamine levels.
In it, they revealed something that Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine discovered while researching feline nutrition. They found a pattern in the FDA's published listings of cat food recalls: specifically, over the past 5 years, SIX cat foods have been recalled for low levels of thiamine. They wondered if this was a growing trend, so they sampled various canned cat foods for thiamine levels.
Their sampling included 90 cans, covering 45 different brands.
What they found was that over 13% of these cans did not meet the minimum requirement set by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). That's 12 cans out of 90.
What's more, over 15% of them missed the minimum requirement set by the National Research Council. That's 14 our of 90 cans.
Within these trends, it appeared that pate-style foods were bigger offenders, as were smaller, non-national name brand companies.
It's the recommendation from the Tufts research team that pet food companies be more careful to measure the thiamine not just prior to but after processing, as sometimes significant thiamine loss can occur during the canning process.
So what is thiamine anyway,
and why do cats need it?
So what would thiamine deficiency look like in cats? The Tufts group recommended that veterinarians consider testing for thiamine deficiency in any cat presenting acute neurological dysfunction, especially if it's accompanied by gastrointestinal issues.