Veterinarians strongly suspect the cause of the illnesses is
a diet of the gourmet Canadian-made petfood called Orijen.
"I'd have to say that the circumstantial link is extremely high because we've got nearly 50 cats affected to date out of a population of probably only 500 or so cats [in Sydney, Australia] that might have been fed the diet," said veterinary neurologist Georgina Childs. "We've seen no cats with this particular problem that have not been fed the diet."
Champion Petfoods voluntarily recalled its Orijen petfood from Australia.
While the company exports its cat food to more than a dozen countries, it said only Australia has experienced the disease outbreak and blames Australia's irradiation (heat treatment) for the problem by causing fresh ingredients to go bad.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.