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Cat food in short supply, high demand

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 9:04 PM MST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Major delays in the global supply chain make it practically impossible to predict when the products you need will be in stock. Some days it’s bananas, orange juice and cream cheese, others it’s electronics, toilet paper and lumber. Now, many shelves for canned cat food are empty.

“She’s fussy just like her cat food because it’s fussycat,” said Mike of St. Albans.

He drove down to the Pet Food Warehouse in Shelburne Sunday morning to buy his cat her favorite brand of food.

Some brands of wet cat food are plentiful and others have been snatched up.

Mike says he can’t find the brand he wants anywhere in St. Albans, a challenge he’s faced for the past two to three months.

“Anything fish we can’t get. We’ve been stuck for two of the same kind for months,” said Mike.

“I just got a kitten and she has a sensitive stomach,” said Michelle Fuller of Starksboro.

Fuller says she can’t find the type of food that meets her feline’s needs anywhere.

Guy’s Farm and Yard in Williston was the third store on her statewide hunt Sunday. But, no luck there either.

“I’m going to look for an alternative that’s easier to get,” said Fuller.

However, Guy’s Farm and Yard is actually quite stocked, especially compared to the Shaw’s, Hannaford and Walmart in the Burlington area on Sunday.

“Some things, unfortunately, do get back-ordered, but we do our best to try to get everything in here at least once a week,” said Holly Peet, an employee of Guy’s Farm and Yard.

Peet says wet cat food is always a hot item.

“They’re more popular because they’re more beneficial to the diet of a cat than the dry food,” said Peet.

She says the shop has seen a lot more people buy cat food since the pandemic started due to an increase in pet adoptions, another factor contributing to the shortage.

“That’s not something manufacturers could forecast. They had to increase labor to meet the demand, but the coronavirus has impacted labor, as well, so in turn, they can’t keep up with the demand,” said Erin Sigrist, the executive director of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association.

Sigrist adds that an aluminum shortage and difficulty shipping ingredients are also causing problems.

“It really depends on the store and how creative they’ve been in working with new distributors,” said Sigrist.

Sigrist says it’s important to not hoard cat food. If you go to the grocery store, maybe get enough for two weeks and come back.

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