updated 2/16/2011 1:18:44 PM ET 2011-02-16T18:18:44

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 16, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In this time of financial uncertainty, one in eight Americans takes advantage of food bank programs and many of those families have pets. Since cats outnumber any other animal found in shelters, The Nutro Company donated more than one million meals of NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® Cat Food to the PETCO Foundation Pet Food Bank Program via collection bins in PETCO stores nationwide in February. This donation will help further PETCO and the PETCO Foundation's ongoing efforts to help financially-stressed families feed their pets and avoid the heartache of relinquishing a pet.

"It's important to The Nutro Company to give back and support a healthy lifestyle for all pets, which starts with a well-balanced diet," says Kent Cunningham, vice president of Marketing for The Nutro Company. "Through our donation of NATURAL CHOICE® Cat Food to PETCO, we're ensuring cats in need are receiving a natural food that meets their unique nutritional needs one dish at a time."

The substantial donation of NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® Cat Food comes on the forefront of the new PETCO Certified Nutrition program which follows PETCO's philosophy that every pet deserves the best possible nutrition and a long, healthy, happy life. The program makes it easier for customers to choose the right food for their pet by grouping all dog and cat food brands into three easy-to-understand categories. In addition, all store associates are extensively trained to help pet parents make the right choice on the proper nutrition of their pet. 

In partnership with the PETCO Foundation, PETCO's nonprofit organization, the company has built a nationwide network of pet food banks by placing special collection bins in PETCO stores across the country. Customers can drop off food or cat litter donations brought from home or purchased during their shopping trip. Each PETCO store partners with an existing human food bank that has a pet food component, or with an animal welfare group that has set up its own pet food bank, to donate the food directly to economically-stressed pet parents in the local community. The program launched in February 2010, and in just over a year has collected 500,000 pounds of food and added 400 new charitable partners.

About PETCO

PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We operate more than 1,000 stores in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and information destination at www.petco.com . Our nonprofit organization, The PETCO Foundation, has raised nearly $70 million since its inception in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 6,500 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 200,000 adoptable animals every year.

About The Nutro Company 

The Nutro Company is a leading manufacturer of natural pet food products sold exclusively at pet specialty stores. The company has been making "The World's Best Pet Food" for more than 80 years and is dedicated to quality, excellence and innovation in dog and cat nutrition, offering healthful formulas for every pet's life stage, activity level and size. The Nutro Company's family of brands includes NUTRO® MAX®, NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® and NUTRO® ULTRA™ pet food brands in addition to the GREENIES® brands which include the U.S. leader in pet dental chews and GREENIES® PILL POCKETS®.  For more information, please visit  http://www.thenutrocompany.com and  http://www.greenies.com /

CONTACT:

Mia West

619.501.2756

mwest@west-pr.com  

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