Our story so far: It appears that local cats have been getting sick from bad cat food, “Power Cat”. With the help of some German Sheperds at the local distribution center, we have discovered that the food is being manufactured in Guangzhou, China. The labels on the shipping labels were written in Shar-Pei, so we are hoping to follow the trail through our German Sheperd contact in Livingston, Lexi. You can read it here.
Our reporter, Penelope Porcine, talked over the situation with Lexi. There was no point in them trying to go to China to investigate the situation further. Cheeseland’s Asian correspondent, mongoose Riki T. Tavi, wouldn’t be able to help since it would take several weeks to permission to enter the country as a correspondent. He would also need a translator who spoke Shar-Pei. Lexi spoke Shar-Pei, but didn’t have Chinese contacts. They would have to see what she could do through the local Shar-Pei community.
As luck would have it, there was no local Shar-Pei with ties to China. However, Lexi did learn about an online Shar-Pei community that might be able to help. She explained the situation and asked for help. The first thing she learned was that most Chinese Shar-Pei did not have Internet access. After several days of waiting, Lexi received a message from a Shar-Pei in San Francisco. His extended family included a branch in Guangzhou. He was trying to reach them to see if they could help.
So Lexi waited again. Finally she received a message from Shar-Pei 2231. Shar-Pei 2231 said that he lived in Guanzhou and had several friends who worked at the cat food plant. He had talked to them and asked what they knew. Shar-Pei 3367 actually worked with the humans. She agreed to help Lexi. (None of the Chinese dogs would speak on the record.)
Shar-Pei 3367 said that the secret ingredient in “Cat Power” was earthworms. The worms had a lot of protein and would make the cats stronger. Each factory had a garden attached where they grew the worms. Humans harvested the worms. As far as she knew, everything they brought in was processed. The worms were turned into a paste and added to the rest of the food mixture.
Lexi asked about the sanitation procedures at the plant. The worms were rinsed in a vat of water before they were put into the machines. The machines were rinsed daily and sanitized twice a week. She wasn’t sure about inspections for health or safety. Once in a while, humans came in, looked around, and talked to the workers. She wasn’t sure who they were.
Lexi thanked Shar-Pei 3367 for all her help. She and Penelope knew that the problem wasn’t the worms; it was the way they were processed into the food. The ground could be contaminated and the machines were almost certainly full of bacteria. It was time to get the humans involved.
George, one of our editors, spoke with his original human contact. He told her that we had discovered that the problem with the cat food was almost certainly contamination at the plant in China. He recommended that she ask the government to launch a formal inquiry. She agreed that would be the only solution. In the meantime, she posted messages on every social media site she could think of, telling people not to buy the food. The resulting boycott caused the cat food company to pressure the government into action.
We are happy to report that “Cat Power” is back in the stores. The worms are now grown in sterilized soil in a lab. Strict sanitation procedures have been put in place, and health inspectors send reports to the company every six months.
(We have also hired Lexi as a translator.)