Need for Cat and Kitten Food is Urgent

By: Brent Honcharenko

Ruff Start Rescue is in desperate need of kitten food and the organization is asking the public for help. There are currently 200+ kittens in the Ruff Start Rescue system that need daily feeding and the food supply is critically low.

Azure Davis, Founder & Executive Director at Ruff Start Rescue, said it takes roughly 16 cases of food per day to feed all of the cats and kittens that are being cared for throughout the organization. The cats are fostered by Ruff Start Rescue volunteers until they’re adopted.

“We go through about 400 cans per day right now and with stores not having a lot leftover to donate, we’re in a tough spot,” Azure Davis said.

Ruff Start Rescue depends on donations of food and supplies for the pets that are in foster care waiting to be adopted. When those donations run short, the funds to provide those necessities come out of the organization’s budget. But this shortage goes above and beyond expectations.

“This is an additional expense we didn’t expect,” Davis added.

This local shortage that Ruff Start Rescue and other shelters and rescue organizations are experiencing can be attributed to a larger pet food supply shortage, which can be traced to an aluminum material shortage. The nation-wide aluminum shortage is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath and a decrease of aluminum imports from China and Russia.

According to an article posted by Industrial Metal Service, like so many other things since the pandemic, the issue now is simply supply vs. demand. Manufacturers in America are still dealing with post-pandemic factory production labor shortages and material supply chain issues. Additionally, materials from foreign countries are harder to obtain with trade frictions occurring between power countries and higher imposed tariffs on imports.

According to Dana Brooks, president and CEO of the Pet Food Institute, who was quoted in The Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA) in January of this year, there has been a shortage of cat food, predominately wet (canned) food, since the pandemic in 2020.

Brooks said pet food makers are working their way out of a major backlog and attributes the shortage mostly to an inadequate supply of packaging materials, particularly aluminum.

While pet supply stores and grocery stores are experiencing a shortage in all canned pet foods, cat and kitten food seems to be taking the biggest hit. According to The Times-Tribune article, aluminum suppliers are giving higher priority to human food manufacturers than to pet food manufacturers.

Compounding the supply challenge, the meat and fish used in pet food has also been harder to obtain due to labor shortages, cost increases and restricted imports, particularly for fish and salmon.

The bottom line is, pet food is just not as plentiful as it was three years ago and pet owners and organizations like Ruff Start Rescue are feeling it. There are inconsistent peaks and valleys in the current supply chain and it’s going to take pet food companies some time to catch back up and then produce consistently.

In the meantime, any kitten food the public can find and willingly donate is appreciated more than you know. Please consider donating directly to RSR through their Amazon or Chewy wishlists, monetary donations can be made on their website, or contact for more information about donating.

Thank you for your consideration and contribution.