A Message of Apology to Cat Owners in Australia

Full Disclosure: Weruva is long time sponsor of my pet talk radio show. They are not a sponsor of this blog or any other activities I undertake.

My sincere apologies to any cat owners who have misperceived my motives in my defense of Weruva in regards to cat illnesses in Australia. I am truly sorry for not appearing to be compassionate about what you are going through. My heart goes out to you and I intend to get you all the information and support I possibly can. Pet wellness and advocacy is at the heart of my business and motivation every day.

My overriding and always essential motive in all my work is to inform and support pet owners. It’s what my career has been dedicated to. I feel terrible to have come across as anything less than that. I deeply apologize for not having known about you and other cats situations and your futile attempts to reach the company. I would be just as frustrated and angry as you are! I’m sorry if I made anyone feel worse in what I wrote. I am here for you and will try to do the best I can, trying to sort out information and put out any flames that erupt.

I have neither personal gain nor reason to alienate cat owners in crisis or in good times. Why would I want cat lovers to dislike me or tarnish my reputation when I have spent my career earning their trust and respect? I only associate with companies whose products, services and ethical conduct I respect—and that mirror my own. The Weruva company is a perfect example of that.

I received no money for blogging about the Weruva BFF situation. I wasn’t asked to do a thing other than being a sounding board for the company privately. My association with them began because I had been recommending their food on my live call-in satellite radio show CAT CHAT back in 2005. After that, they wanted to be a sponsor of my NPR (National Public Radio) show “DOG TALK (and Kitties, Too!)” Beyond that radio sponsor message and their logo on my e-newsletter as a sponsor, I am not paid for anything else. Nobody pays for my blog but me. I cannot be “bought,” it’s an essential reason hat pet owners trust me, so I feel dreadful to have done anything Down Under that made me look otherwise. Please let me make it up to you and do whatever I can to support your through this crisis, the proportions of which were completely unknown to me.

I have been basing what I wrote on personal communication with Weruva’s owner, David Forman and one member of his extremely small staff. I was in touch with David Forman throughout the weekend and into this week and his despair and frustration were about being kept in the dark himself.

He was originally told nothing concrete, then told that two cats had gotten sick. But he was not given access to their medical records. The symptoms did not appear to be alike — from the little he could find out. He was told that the vet couldn’t even draw blood on one of the cats it was “too hard to handle,” so there was extremely little factual information he could base any response on to cat owners. Vets and owners were not disclosing any tests or symptoms — they cited confidentiality, but obviously could have done so if they blocked out names & addresses — without that medical information, there was little that could be done long distance with veterinary consultants in the U.S..

Now that I hear how cat owners of afflicted cats in Australia feel (apparently there are hundreds?) I will do anything I can so that you feel heard and cared. I will do whatever I can to facilitate communication. I promise you from personal experience of the highest ethical standards of the Weruva family (and it’s literally a small family business — a handful of employees who all care deeply about the pets who eat their food). Two members of his company went to Australia from the East Coast of the U.S. but nobody would give them more information and there was apparently nothing they could do to help.

I had not known of this communication problem between Weruva and cat owners — only of the problems Weruva was having getting any information. That is something that needs to be addressed, for sure, and I will do my utmost on behalf of cat owners everywhere to get you everything you need and deserve. My heart is with you and the kitties who are sick.

—Tracie Hotchner
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