VERMONTVILLE — A Maine coon cat narrowly escaped death after eating tainted food, and now its family has received an extra bonus."The company went good," said Richard Gonyea of Vermontville.He'd called Iams, the company that made the pouched salmon and tuna foods that his year-and-a-half-old cat, Kaluha, ate. And, after Adirondack Park Pet Hospital faxed test results substantiating the diagnosis of kidney failure, Iam's parent company, Proctor & Gamble, sent the Gonyeas a check for $474.86, covering all their vet bills."It was nice," Gonyea said.Kaluha fell ill in February, a month before Menu Foods announced its recall of multiple varieties of cat food, including those Iams pouches that the cat just loved.She'd taken to hiding, Gonyea said."That's not normally her."And Kaluha stopped jumping up on his recliner to curl up on him. She lost energy, and her expression lost its spark.The vet told Gonyea and his wife, Joy, to bring in a urine sample, which they captured by emptying the cat box of litter and watching for their opportunity.Tests showed renal failure, and, almost immediately, the family faced a tough decision. Their pet was near death, and the choices were to have her euthanized or adopt a rigorous treatment of intravenous fluids and antibiotics that offered no promises of recovery.The couple's children, Brandon, 9, and Danielle, 5, are much attached to their kitty."I was a baby," admitted Mr. Gonyea. "I cried."She's a good cat."His wife pushed for the treatment."She said at least we could say we did all we could," he recalled. "And it worked!"Mr. Gonyea did a double take when he learned of the pet-food recalls, and he called his vet right away.Kaluha's vet didn't know if she'd recover completely from the damage done to her kidneys, Mr. Gonyea said. And, at first, she ate a food prescribed especially for her condition that cost $40 for just one case.But blood tests March 16 showed completely normal function, he said, crediting the excellent care the car received with the happy results."She bounced back."So the feline is off the expensive stuff and, while she still eats Iams dry food, which wasn't tainted, the Gonyeas are staying away from the company's wet food."I would go back with Iams," Mr. Gonyea said. "I feel they're a good company, and they're kind of showing it" by reimbursing the vet bills."But for now, I'm feeding her Friskies."
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