Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog the Change - Catswell

Back in January, I got a couple of packages of Catswell cat treats, and I fed them to The Crew.  Most of them did not like it, but Jack, oh my dear dear Jack, will eat anything, ate up those I gave to all of The Crew. Shortly there after he started showing signs of urinary crystals.  It progressed to the point I was fearful of it and I took him to the vet.

It has been a very slow road back to recovery.  There have been several times I thought he was better only to find a puddle of urine in the tub, or on the bathroom floor (or on the washing machine - really Jack, the washing machine?? what on earth... *sigh*) and so I continue to nurse him and make sure he continues to heal.  But at this point I feel the need to write to the makers of the product that caused this mess.

Catswell SOUNDS like a good and healthy product. The packaging hits all the buzz words in marketing for people looking for good and healthy products... "natural" "grain free" "no corn" "no soy" "no gluten" "no byproducts" "no antibiotics" "no added hormones" "real salmon" "Cage free chicken" and have names like "Happy Hips" and "VitaKitty" What you don't see, because they wrote it in VERY fine print in white on a yellow background, which makes it very hard to see is the "Made in China" stamp..

Chicken from China has a VERY dangerous track record.. Please, be aware of where your food products are coming from!

Blog the Change

Well anyway.. I was finally comfortable that Jack isn't going to get any worse (update, yeah, about that.. not so much..), so I was writing my letter to the company and in the back of my mind I was contemplating what I might write for the Blog the Change this go around.. when I had one of those D'OH! moments. This is something that we need to change.  If it is not safe for us to consume due to how it was raised/produced, then it is not safe for our kitties..

Below is the letter I wrote and sent to Catswell / Dogswell  I do hope they take it seriously.

1964 Westwood Blvd.
Suite 350
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Dear Catswell

I wanted to write to you regarding an experience I had with your product earlier this year.  I apologize for my delay in writing, but I wanted to make sure the aftermath had completely finished before writing.

So earlier this year I was given an opportunity to receive two free packages of Catswell products.  I went to my local PetSmart store and got a package of Happy Hips and a package of Vitakitty.

I opened the package of Vitakitty first.  I have seven cats.  Many of them gave it huge paws down and refused to eat it, a very unusual occurrence in my household, as most treats are gobbled right up.  My eldest “Jack” however enjoyed all the treats I had dispensed for my cats. 

This was the only change to his diet in a very long time.  He has had several rounds of issues with urinary crystals, so I am careful what I feed him.  I liked that your products stated that they had no hormones, antibiotics, and more especially no fillers: no corn, soy, wheat, etc.   I read over the ingredient list carefully and while I wasn't thrilled with the plant based sources of added nutrients, I assumed it couldn't possibly have enough to have an effect on him.

What I missed was the very small ‘Made in China” fine print at the bottom.

Very shortly after feeding your product (and as you can see by the enclosed package, he did not get all that much) Jack started showing signs of urinary problems.  By the time I got him to the vet he was peeing blood and it was leaking out of him.   It was EXTREMELY unnerving for both of us.

Fortunately we have dealt with urinary crystals in the past and knew how to take care of it.  After an x-ray and an exam we gave him pain meds some additional supplements that have helped him in the past.  Slowly he recovered.  Several times I thought he was 100% only to find him peeing in the tub or on the washing machine.

At this point we haven’t had an incident in a while, and while I am not quite ready to say he is back to his old self, I am ready to say that it isn’t going to get any worse than this and my fear of what might happen to him has abated somewhat.

My beautiful boy did not deserve this.   You promote such healthy sounding products.  You sucker those of us who care about what we feed our pets with all of the current buzz words, while hiding the source of your product in fine print so fine it is easily overlooked.

Made in China; three words that have led to the deaths of so many companion animals.  With all the product contamination out there I can’t believe a company so seemingly interested in providing a “healthy” product would sell it.

Please find enclosed both packages of Catswell products I purchased, as well as a copy of the bill for $239.60 for the exam, x-rays and pain medication.

I would very much like an apology and for you to reconsider the source of the ingredients of your products.  I would also like to be reimbursed for the vet care. 


Cat Person /Rescue volunteer / Blogger


  1. It's horrible that the big companies all sell out and buy from China. I think there are enough people who would be happy to pay a little bit more for safe and good food that it's still possible for them to do business. Isn't it all about greed? They want to maximise profits so they become imoral in their ways of achieving those profits. I can't wait for the day that people have had enough of all the compromises and when they want to buy things that have writing on them thats big enough to read for a start. The people who make these products deserve to rot somewhere as far as I am concerned. It's hard not to get so angry about it and the fact that they do everything they can to keep getting away with murder, literally. I hope they read your letter and respond.

  2. I had a local supplier offer me some Dogswell for Whisky. The first thing I did was to check where it's made. As soon as I saw China I said no. The supplier kept telling me its safe and the company has strict QC but i still said no. I just dont trust anything from China. He laughed at me saying I was paranoid. Well, I sure am glad I was paranoid!

  3. Oh, paranoia is a must with anything made in China.
    I am sorry Jack had to pay the price for the company's greed. I am curious what the answer will be.

  4. Oh, paranoia is a must with anything made in China.
    I am sorry Jack had to pay the price for the company's greed. I am curious what the answer will be.

  5. I don't understand why all these Chinese made pet foods are so awful - do they really care that little about what happens to the creatures that consume them? I guess it is best to just avoid these products.

  6. All they care about in China is the mighty Yen so they make shortcuts left and right to increase profit margins. This is why more and more companies have stopped using goods from China.

    I'm so sorry poor Jack had to go through that. I doubt you'll see a reimbursement for the vet bill but I wouldn't be surprised if they sent you some more crappy free product. Thank you for sharing your story. I'll be keeping a closer eye on what I give my kitties.

  7. I am glad you are pressing the issue with the company. It is sad that this had to happen to Jack, and I can't help but wonder how many other pets have been affected.

  8. Actually since you wrote about the product and Jack before, I have been checking where the products are from very carefully! I hope the company will take your letter seriously.

  9. GOOD FOR YOU!!!! And a very well written letter. It is just wrong that they play with pet owners like that..... makes us want to scratch someone!!!

  10. That is a great letter I hope you get a decent reply though I doubt you will get and compensation!

  11. You know, the fact that they make it so difficult to see the "made in China" makes it pretty obvious that they know people are avoiding China-made foods and treats. It's infuriating! I hope that company replies and I really hope you get compensation. Poor Jack!

  12. Scary, scary, scary. Excellent post on a truly terrible situation,

  13. Thanks for this information. You have written a powerful letter, and I hope you get a satisfactory response. I have never tried this product and definitely won't be trying it in the future. Thanks for the reminder about checking for the origin of manufacture on everything we put in our pet's mouth. We should remember it for ourselves as well. I am so pleased that Jack's health is improving and hope that he will soon be at 100%.

  14. Wonder what the Chinese idea of "cage free" is? I don't really want to know.

    And the washing machine is cool and smooth, just the thing for a boy cat who hurts when he pees. Poor guy. Hope he's all the way better soon.

  15. I am absolutely paranoid about made in China for anything these days... And am really glad sweet Jack is feeling more himself!

  16. What a handsome profile! Jack is one of the most beautiful cats I've ever seen. I pray he recovers quickly. I also called a company to find out some particulars about my cats' supplements. Thanks for the warning. Nice letter writing.

  17. I hate this particular product line. The dog version sells like crazy and I can't for the life of me figure out why. I tried the catswell with my boys too and none of them would touch it, not even my little garbage disposal kitty (Sebbie would eat rocks I think, if it won't eat him, he'll normally eat it. Even he wouldn't touch the catswell.) Some of the catswell was recalled last year. Zukes and Cloudstar both make decent treats...


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