I had a kitty girl named Mary who was 14 years old. I took good care of her and loved her for 12 years. She was my best friend and I loved her with all of my heart.
The first week of October, 2003 I purchased Hartz flea drops to rid her of her fleas. I put the drops on her, following the directions, but stupidly ignoring the warning about elderly cats – I used Advantage all the time and it was fine for her. I wish I knew about the “real” issues in using it. Here, on the net, were all these warnings that I never knew about.
She started to act “under the weather” but being 14 sometimes she did get blue. We were preparing for a week long trip away from home, so being busy was a big mistake on my part, as I didn’t think that there was anything serious going on. No convulsions or anything to determine she as really ill.
I had a neighbor looking in on and feeding her twice a day while we were gone, like dozens of times before.
Upon our arrival home, Mary was weak and lethargic and had lost a lot of weight. I took her to the vet the next morning (we got in at midnight) and they examined her. I brought the Hartz package with me and she said, “oh, that’s bad news to use on cats” but that was all she told me. She didn’t say it was possibly fatal. They kept Mary all day and when I picked her up, Dr. Z told me she had a low temp and they warmed her up and gave her fluids. She was also constipated really bad, so they fixed that too. I had just learned from my neighbor that she hadn’t eaten all week. (why she didn’t get taken in by them is beyond me and another story) But we figured since she was so blocked up, that’s why she didn’t eat much.
The vet never said anything about pesticide poisoning. I wonder now if she was trying to spare my feelings and concerns about what I possibly had done to my girl.
Her blood tests came back normal: her kidneys were okay for her age and her liver enzymes slightly elevated, inconslusive for the time being, we’d check again in a week. Her blood test did not indicate severe damage caused by pesticides.
We chalked it up to her being upset that we’d left, had a digestion problem, but should be alright in a couple days.
So we headed home and she was okay for a few days but over the weekend, she lost interest in all food, could barely walk, couldn’t drink water and basically was withering away. I thought she had a virus that she was trying to kick, but she kept getting worse.
On Monday morning, October 20, 2003 I took my baby, who was barely alive into the doctor’s office for the last time. I sent Mary to heaven with the help of her doctor.
After reading the testimonials from other pet-lovers, I’m not convinced that Mary died of natural causes. Although her symptoms were far less severe from that of others, I believe the poison slowly killed her over the course of 2 weeks, rather than so suddenly as others. She felt sick while we were gone, did not receive immediate attention from a vet, her digestive system was compromised and ultimately she could not shake it.
As my mom saw it, her system was trying to work the poison out of her, but she wasn’t as strong as the poison was. She almost made it. I of course regret all that I unknowingly did to cause her death.
This was all recently brought to my attention when I told my mom about the Hartz. (it’s been 2 months since Mary went to heaven and I can’t get over it) She asked me if my vet knew and I said yes. She suspects that Dr. Z was trying to ease my fears and in the end tried to spare my feelings of guilt and despair by not telling me I had a hand in her illness and death. I’ll be talking to the vet to make sure that what I suspect is true about the product. I need to know if it was a coincidence that she got so ill after the use of Hartz, that it was something of a different nature, or if I did in fact kill my Mary by using an over the counter poison on her.