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Feline Pancytopenia

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Cat Food Recalls over Feline Pancytopenia Suspicions - An overview and an Emergency Home-Cooked recipe for your Cat

Many of you will have heard that there has been a widespread recall of multiple dry pet foods due to an increase in frequency of ‘Feline Pancytopenia’. The post below gives you a little more information, and a short term home-cooked cat food recipe should you require them.

We have not yet launched the cat recipes or supplements on the VetChef platform, but given the circumstances have listed a quick short term option that you can use safely if you need it.

What is Feline Pancytopenia? ‘Pancytopenia’ means ‘reduction in all blood cell lines’ and is the result of bone marrow damage. Bone marrow suppression causes low red blood cells, white cells and platelets.

In normal circumstances pancytopenia is rare, but a cluster of cases at the Royal Veterinary College caused vets to investigate a link. There is currently suspicion that dry cat foods originating from one factory are involved in the increasing number of cases (currently 278 cats). As a result these foods (particular batches of AVA, Sainsbury’s and Applaws) have been recalled while investigations continue.

You can find a list of foods on the recall list here:

What should I do if my pet has been eating one of the foods on this list?

Stop feeding the food and change to something else for now. Whilst we do not yet know what the underlying cause is, it is safer to stop the food whilst investigations are ongoing.

Do I need to go to the vet? If your pet is showing signs of being unwell (lethargy, blood in stool/vomit, or any other sign of being unwell) you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Please tell your vet if you have been feeding one of the implicated foods.

If your pet seems normal, you may not need a blood sample. You should discuss this with your vet. Some owners may wish to take a blood sample as a precautionary measure as some pets have been found to have low platelets without outward signs.

What has caused this? We don’t know yet. Ordinarily pancytopenia is rare and can be caused by multiple things including immunodeficiency viruses, drug reactions, cancer and toxin exposure. Given the nature of the product (dry/stored) fungal contamination or fungal toxins are also a possibility.

A Home-Cooked Cat Recipe: This ingredients list will feed a 4kg average cat for 1 week. Short term (no more than a few weeks) you can use just the easy to get ingredients safely. If you plan to use this recipe longer than this, you will need to purchase the supplements online (these are generic supplements available on Amazon) to balance the recipe and ensure that your cat is receiving all the nutrients that they need each day.

Please note - every cat is different so feeding amounts may vary. Some cats will take time to accept a different type of food if they are used to kibble foods, but most are thrilled to eat high meat diets once they get used to the change of textures. Feeding the recipe warm can often be helpful in encouraging your cat to try the food, or buying some nutritional yeast from a health food shop to sprinkle on! (Cats love it!).

Ingredients for 7 day batch of Home-Cooked Cat Food:

Skinless Chicken Thigh - 300g

Tinned Mackerel in Tomato Sauce - Half a tin (62g)

10% Fat Beef Mince - 90g

Beef or Lamb Liver - 7g OR 1.5g of dried beef liver treat (links below)

All Bran Cereal 25g - (The one that looks like sticks!, a source of manganese)

Sunflower Oil - 1 tsp

Supplements (optional - see detailed links below)

NOW Taurine 500mg - 1 capsule per batch

Metabolics B Complex Liquid - 4 drops per batch

Dorwest Kelp Powder - 1 small pinch per batch

Cooking Instructions:

  • Put the All Bran in some boiling water to soften

  • Cut up your chicken into bite size pieces, and add with your beef mince to a pan with just enough water to cover. Simmer on medium until cooked through

  • Mix in the mackerel, soaked bran and sunflower oil

  • Allow to cool, then add the supplements if using them.

  • Mix well and serve. Make sure that you feed your cat the cooking water too - important nutrients are in the water

Any that you do not use right away can be split into 7 daily ‘portions’ for later.

You can store your batch in the fridge for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Helpful Links:


NOW Taurine Capsules 500mg - 1 capsule per 7 day batch

Metabolics B Complex Liquid - 4 drops per 7 day batch

Dorwest Kelp Powder - 1 pinch (about 0.3g) per 7 day batch

Disclaimer - These supplements are human supplements. It is safe to use them at the appropriate levels, but choosing incorrect products or doses can be hazardous. Vetchef does not manufacture nor have any association with these companies. It is your responsibility to ensure that you select the suitable product and dose them correctly. If you are unsure, please do not use them and ask your vet or our nutritionists at for advice.

Beef or Lambs Liver - you can often get lambs liver in the local supermarket, but if you can’t, you can substitute it for dried liver treat like these:

They are a concentrated source of nutrients so you’ll only need 1.5g of dried liver in your 7 day batch. Other companies make the same sorts of treats - you just need to choose one that is 100% Ox or Lambs Liver.

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