On the evening of October 27th, I purchased Hartz’s 3-in-1 feline flea collars from our local Walmart and put them on my cats when I arrived home. The cats seemed to go nuts from the start–but I figured it was because they’re not used to wearing collars (they’re indoor kitties, the fleas came from our new neighbor who likes to visit us with her dog). I noticed that our youngest, Chompers, seemed to be getting bumps on her head and neck–we assumed these were just flea bites. Buster, our oldest, was keeping us up at night with constant whaling. He was inconsolable! He kept scratching at his neck and he was acting like he wasn’t feeling well, so on November 8th I ran my finger along his neck under the collar and it felt wet and scabby. We took the collar off to find that the fur under the collar was GONE and the skin was pussy, scabby, and inflamed. There are clumps of bloody hair still stuck to the collar (which I have preserved in a ziplock bag to send to Hartz). His hair was coming out in chunks and his whole head was broken out under his remaining fur. We took him to the vet who confirmed that Buster had been poisoned by his Hartz flea collar. Like many of the other people on this website, we learned that this is a VERY COMMON reaction to Hartz’s products! The vets cleaned, shaved, and medicated Buster. He will be taking antibiotics for several weeks–and the risk of death is still present. Our vet said we were extremely lucky, she has seen many animals die from toxic Hartz products. I had no idea this was a risk, or I would NEVER have used their aweful poison. Once we returned home with Buster, Chompers had begun vomitting and couldn’t seem to stop. I immediately took her to the vet (we had removed all their collars after seeing Buster’s neck). She was missing some fur around her head and neck, though not to the extent that Buster was. After the vet bathed Chompers, she brushed back her coat to show me little red sores covering her entire head/back/neck. They were bright red and ALL over her, I can’t believe we let this happen. Chomps had to stay at the vet for awhile to be observed, but she is home now. The vet bill is over $160 (so far). I have a third cat who is missing some fur around the neck, too, and he has been scratching frantically at it this evening–so we will likely need to take him in tomorrow.
I called Hartz this afternoon and spoke to someone in customer service who was not the least bit shocked or concerned about our situation. She didn’t even ask if the animals were okay!! She told me to get documentation from the vet and send it in with my receipt, which would then be followed up by an “investigation”. No apology, no sympathy, no explanation. I was looking at Buster (who is slightly less aweful looking than the cat on your home page) and wondering how Hartz is getting away with this. They obviously don’t even care about animals at all. It’s all about the money.
I have emailed everyone I know, told coworkers, and posted via myspace.com my experience with Hartz’s flea collars. I will continue to do whatever I can to see that these products are removed from store shelves. I plan to contact my local media and beg for coverage. I encourage any of you who have similar Hartz experiences to do the same–people NEED to know! If I had known, I wouldn’t have used this product. I’m just glad that my kitties are still alive (so far). Keep your fingers crossed for them.