EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Supply chain issues have been wreaking havoc at stores for some time now, and cat owners are the latest to feel their impact.

There’s currently a nationwide shortage of cans of wet cat food, according to Dr. Farbod Farhadi, an associate professor of business at Roger Williams University.

“This time, it’s not completely COVID-19’s fault,” Farhadi said.

He said the United States is one of the biggest importers of aluminum from China, where a manufacturing plant had to shut down late last year.

“There was an accident in one of the — like a major accident — in one of the aluminum production manufacturing factories in China,” Farhadi explained.

That accident combined with an increase in pet ownership and a shift by some businesses (like breweries) to using aluminum cans has greatly increased demand and caused the shortage.

“People are using more and there’s less production, and then there was that accident in China, so all together caused this shortage,” Farhadi said.

Stop & Shop spokesperson Caroline Medeiros confirmed to 12 News that the supermarket chain is seeing a shortage.

“Like other retailers, Stop & Shop is seeing supply challenges with pet food, specifically wet cat food,” she wrote in an email. “The challenges are caused by a surge in demand over the last 18 months, as well as raw material shortages, including aluminum, which is used to make the cans.”

It’s unclear at this time how long the shortage will last, according to Farhadi. If you’re having a problem finding wet cat food, he suggested talking to your veterinarian about possible alternatives.