Olivers Mom | [email protected] |


In early April of 2009, I applied Sergeants Flea & Tick Powder to my 5 year old Tabby, Oliver. A couple days following, I noticed that he was having muscle spams. When I took him to the vet, I was asked if I had applied any topical powder to him and was then told that Permethrin– one of the active ingredients in Sergeant Flea and Tick Powder for Cats—is harmful to animals and was causing the “tremors.” Oliver was diagnosed with Permethrin poisoning.

In doing research about Permethrin Poisoning/Toxicity, I have come across hundreds of horrible, heartbreaking stories not only about the Sergeants product I used on my cat, but other Sergeants products that have caused skin burns, skin irritations, neurological problems, seizures, kidney problems & even death in cats AND dogs. Why Sergeants has products on the shelves that are harmful to the animals they are supposed to protect is beyond my scope of understanding, but I do know this: They need to be held accountable.

At the end of May, I took Oliver in to discuss treatment as the tremors have not ceased. My vet suggested that we may be looking at extensive neurological damage, and that he needs to stay on meds. Since he has been taking Diazepam (Valium®) for more than a month, a full blood work up on him was necessary to be sure the drugs weren’t harming his liver. As I waited for the results, I watched my once energetic, playful kitty tremor away feeling completely helpless and saddened that he may never be the same. All I want is for him to be well—and wished I could get back the day I dusted him with that poison. 15 minutes passed and my vet entered the room with a somber look on her face. Olivers blood work showed her was in the advanced stages of Kidney Failure.

We treated Oliver for two months until he let me know that he was tired and needed for us to let him go. Jeff Balion, a FOX9 investigative reporter, followed Olivers story. As of right now, it will air September 23 on the 9pm newscast. On August 10, 2009 we gave Oliver his wings. The FOX9 cameras were with him the remaining few hours of his life recording him doing what he loved– walking around the yard and watching the birds and butterflies. We were with him until he closed his eyes for the last time. Although it is difficult, we know he is at peace. Now he’s our Angel.

I have started a Facebook page in his name to serve as a petition. Adding Oliver as your friend ( means that you agree that the sale of over the counter products that hurt, permanently damage and kill our pets needs to be stopped. You will not receive any emails from me other than to remind you of the broadcast.

Additionally, I would like you to view the links below so that you may see what these products do to our pets.

Please send your questions and comments to: [email protected]

Thank you for reading.


This clip shows Olivers reaction to the Flea & Tick Powder 48 hours after I applied it to him:

This one shows the tremors two weeks later:

Two cats’ reaction to Hartz Flea & Tick Drops (VERY DISTURBING):


  1. I’m confused. The headline reads, “…it is my story about the Hartz product that killed my cat.”

    However, the story indicates that it was a Sergeant’s product that caused the problem.

    It’s a terrible tragedy and both companies have caused unacceptable damage and devastation. However, they are different companies and it’s important to report these incidents accurately.

    I’m very sorry you’ve lost Oliver.

  2. Hartz and Sergeants may be different companies but they both apply since both sell over the counter products to consumers for their pets and both use toxic ingredients with abandon, since it is cheaper for them to deal with a few thousand deaths a year than to cut into their profits over the millions they sell!

    Congress regulates the agencies that determine whether these products are to be allowed to be put on the shelves of markets and sold the the general public. These companies stack the deck when doing their ‘testing’ of these products in order to get approval to sell them. They underplay their roles and have placed warnings on their products that dont convince most pet owners that the products arent safe.

    Instead the warnings serve as a disclaimer to basically use at your own risk on the pets you own.

    The regulations arent strict enough. The general public assumes that if the product is for public sale that it must be safe to use. Even with the tiny worded labelling on back of these products, the main label shows a happy pet that is free of fleas because you choose to use their product.

    You as the pet owner, consumer, are not aware of how dangerous this stuff really is.You are not intentionally poisoning your pet, you are trying to get rid of the fleas on your pet!

    Unfortunately most pet owners dont know this product is going to do the horrible stuff it does UNTIL your own pet is affected. Once you have put it on the pet, or its bedding and the reaction begins, it is too late.

    Your pet goes into convulsions, seizures and dies. OR you get to the VET and it costs an average of $500-750 to save your pet and if you can not afford it, you either have to euthanize your pet or watch it die slowly. You might gamble and let it ride it out, and the pet survives, but has permanent neurological damage. Some recover, but most need VET care in order to save them.

    Some even with VET care die anyway. The emotional effects of knowing you put the product on the pet to initiate the process of their illness, leaves permanent guilt and pain to the owner as well. Still most victimized owners do blame themselves for not being aware that the very products they purchased that were designed to deal with the problems of flea infestations are in fact dangerous and should not be available for public sale in this this country or anywhere.

    Manufacturers are fully aware of the dangers of their products, but they dont care as long as they can get away with it.Their concern is any new regulations that might cut into their profit margins should Congress pay attention to pet owner complaints and change regulations on public sales of their toxic products.

    Due to their own corporate greed, they cleverly devise ways and disclaimers, that throw any blame for what they term ‘misuse of the product’ , back onto Joe Q Public Pet Owner and so far they have gotten away with it.

    They argue their case effectively and leave many pet owners in the wake of the destruction caused by them. for using the cheap lethal ingredients that they use in these products.

    Non pet owners along with lucky pet owners are not always sympathetic either, where you will hear things like, ‘well then you shouldnt own a pet, if you cant afford them’ and again the blame is placed back on the unwitting pet owner who bought the Hartz or the Sargents or the Bansect etc. and used their toxic products..

    Since they each use lethal neurotoxins to get rid of fleas in their products, they are equally guilty, but actually use each other to remain guilt free! They each put the blame back on the public – the pet owner for using their products which are more a ‘name your own poison’ thing since they are each dangerous.

    To use these trusted named pet care products, you would be just as ‘safe’ to use bug spray for hornets as you would be to use flea drops for cat / or dogs!!

    Its that dangerous, but many who have not witnessed first hand what this does when a pet is reacting and made ill or dies, are not interested or sympathetic and so these manufacturers are still getting away with it~!!

    Poisonous pet products must be banned and recalled, not resold to discount stores and still passed off as safe to the public where then even more pets are harmed by them.

    Manufacturers should be made to pay for all vet bills and in cases where pets have died as a result, should pay punitive damages to the pet owners. They should also be required to pay for any after care needed to animals who survived their poisons, since many suffer permanent damage as a result.

    Joe Q Public Pet Owners have suffered enough, just with knowing they were the ones who shot without knowing the gun was loaded…For pet owner victims it was an accident, but for the manufacturers it is deliberate which in some cases could be considered murder by some.

  3. CC: Letter sent to my Congressman, who is on the Agriculture Committee in Washington~

    It was sent via web contact form directly to his office. This can be copied and sent to your Congressman, in your state.
    The more people who make Congress aware, then there is a chance that legislation can be drawn up to stop the use of lethal toxins in over the counter pet care products~!


    Since you are part of Agriculture, I feel it is the closest topic that might relate to this problem, so ask you to consider looking into this further.
    Topic: Over the Counter Flea Pet Products
    Purpose:They are killing 1000’s of pets & causing high vet bills to treat poisoned pets.
    Goal:New Regulations to Ban lethal ingredients from Over the Counter Pet Care Products.

    Reference: 1000’s of Victims stories all over the Internet wanting something to be done.

    Manufacturers Responses: Pet Owners faults.They claim they label properly & only a small % of pets die from their products.In some cases they will reimburse Vet bills on some victims, but require proof of purchase, containters & cartons.In most cases, they take these proofs and never reply back or reimburse victims!

    Victims:John Q.Public Pet Owners:
    Misleading labels present over the counter products as safe to use, when in fact even when they are used exactly according to directions, cause animals to convulse, seize, suffer and die.Just that these are being sold over the counter represents them to be safe and effective, when in fact they cause toxic effects on pets from mild-severe and cost between $500-750 avg to detox a pet at the Vets and try to save the pet.Survivors often have permanent damage and ongoing medical needs as a result costing JohnQ,Public Pet Owners financial hardship, heartache, inconvenience and no recourse under current laws, since Manufacturers claim to be in compliance with current regulations governing their licensing to sell these products publicly in grocery stores, shopping centers and more, which imply their safety to the public.

    Recourse sought: New Laws concerning regulating these products, closer government monitoring, to make Manufacturers liable for their actions.We need Congress to protect John Q.Public PetOwners from these over the counter flea care products, compelling the manufacturers to not use potentially lethal ingrdients when safer ingredients are already available.We need these products banned.We need these Manufacturers to be held liable and to recall these products as well as to reimburse John Q.Public Pet Owners for their Vetinary Medical bills related to using their products and to compensate John Q.Public Pet Owners for their losses and restitution to those who have lost their beloved pets as a direct result of using Manufacturer’s flea pet products.

    Research: Ample to be supplied on request, many John Q.Public Pet Owners are willing to testify to the suffering their pets went through as a result of using these products and can present the Veterinary bills that substantiate their claims.

    Actions: Grass roots movement has already begun online with John Q.Public Pet Owners posting the details of their pets ordeals and the results they have suffered along with their pets because of these products which include Hartz, Sergeants, Bansect and other over the counter companies offering these lethally toxic ingredients in their Pet Care products which include: Flea Collars,Flea Drops, Flea Powder, Flea Bath & more

    Veterinary: Most Vets are already aware of these toxins and document the poisonings, while trying to save the pets.Many are already outspoken on the issue, but the need points back to Congress to help protect John Q Public Pet Owners, by investigating and implementing laws that will save pets and relieve John Q.Pet Owners who are daily being added to victims lists nationwide.

    I will start petitions online and collect victims names and stories to back up this growing epidemic of pet poisonings in our country.
    I have spoken with Sargeants who have informed me that due to outsourcing the production of these products, that certain ‘vats’ are sometimes improperly concentrated which adds to the problem, while they still were not willing to recall their own products~!
    Products that they do recall they resell to Dollar Stores, so more pets are killed slow agonizing deaths and pet owners are strapped financially when attempting to get Vet care to save their pets.

    Your response and help in this matter is anticipated and greatly appreciated.

    Ave Hurley
    [email protected]
    1901 Route 660
    Mansfield Pa 16933

  4. I can set up a separate website for the collection of petitioners names, who sign the petition and include links to their own stories of what happened to their pets.

    I have already received ample letters from victims who thanks to this website have been able to recognize the problem and get their pets to the vets in time to save them and from others who had the foresight to look online before applying any of these products, thus averting the poisoning of their own pets, thankfully.

    I know I appreciate that the owner of this site had the vision to create this site as a resource and comfort to all pet owners who have suffered along with their pets as a result of using these toxic over the counter pet care products.

    I am willing to work with any John Q.Public Pet Owners who have been victimized by any pet flea care products and think a petition named ” John Q.Public Pet Owners – Victims of Lethal Over the Counter Pet Care Product Manufacturers” would be a good title for a petition to go before Congress, that could help change the laws currently protecting Hartz, Sargeants and others from liability of what they are causing our pets.

    None of us can undertake this alone, so I am looking for the responses of other pet owner victims to join in with me as I am willing to start this petition and campaign to stop the use of lethal ingredients in pet care products.


  5. I stand by my earlier post. It’s critically important to have the facts right. It, indeed, does make a difference whether it’s Hartz, Sergeant’s, BioSpot, or any other manufacturer. Each has its own ingredients in different volumes. Each has a different historical record of safety. All have done reprehensible damage to pets and pet owners, but these manufacturers continue to point to consumers who confuse companies, use dog products on cats, use products on small animals meant only for large animals, etc. They continuously point to these examples as consumer ignorance, and, unfortunately, they have a point. The EPA and many state regulatory agencies have bought into the theory that many or most of these adverse incidents are caused by consumer carelessness, ignorance or other malfeasance.

    Please don’t say it doesn’t matter. It does. Read documentation from the EPA. Read quotes and watch interviews with senior EPA officials. It matters. They frequently reference consumer errors. The APSCA also exaggerates and promotes this nonesense. It’s a big problem, don’t minimize it.

    We all need to get our facts right. Take a little extra time and ensure what you have done and what you are saying and writing is accurate. If we don’t, we will not make any progress on this issue and will be playing into the hands of the manufacturers and the EPA, who is enabling these appalling products.

  6. Was both disappointed and thankful to stumble on this site. We gave our 2 cats Hartz UltraGuard Pro (For Cats) last night because we ran out of Frontline – seems like a pretty typical story on this site. We noticed today they were acting a bit “off,” just a little more lethargic, a little more snuggly and sleepy than usual (they are usually not lap-cats). So I found this site, read for a while, and we just gave them a good thorough washing around the entire neck region where we applied the stuff. It got on my wife’s hand and that stuff burns! So I can only imagine how it feels on a cat, in a much higher dosage, right on the skin. It’s also pretty oily, so it’s not like it just evaporates off the fur – it’ll sit there until you wash it off with soap.

    They’re walking around right now and seem alright – hard to tell if they’re sick or just angry about being washed. Hoping it’s the latter!

  7. My name is Wendy Hale-Adams and I am sharing the story of our family pet Mr. Mc Nalley.
    Our 7yr. Old cat was a wonderful part of our family and he was taken from us tragically by flea medicine. I thought I was doing something good for him and instead I unconsciously poisoned a family member. My guilt is unbearable, but what would be more unbearable would be if I stayed silent so more animals suffered a tragic horrendous death that is preventable. It is only preventable if people know!!!
    Our cat was given flea medicine and within an hour he was foaming at the mouth and having tremors. I rushed him to the emergency vet clinic and they quickly asked about flea medicine. At that point they rushed him to the back and began their work to save his life. The vet came and said to me and my 11 yr. old son that our cat had Pyrethrin Toxicity. They started IV fluids and gave him a bath, of course they had to sedate him in order to do this. My son and I sat in the room listening to our cat yowl in pain. They sent us home with instructions to come back in the morning and move him to his regular vet to be monitored for the day. This is what we did, and the outcome looked good. At this point he was responsive, and even wanted to be loved. I had him monitored at my vet and at the end of the day they said I could bring him home, although he was having small seizures, which I understood would eventually go away. I had his seizure meds and brought him home to be more comfortable. I put him in a small area with food/water and cat box as to monitor him. I watched him all night having small seizure every hour. I talked and soothed him through this. When it was time for his meds I gave them to him. Our Mc Nalley was eating/drinking and using the cat box. The next morning I thought he was getting better as he sat and cleaned himself, but then he started seizing again and acting crazy, almost fighting with himself. I rushed him to the vet even though they weren’t open yet, confident that someone would be there. 5 minutes later I am pounding on the window of the vet sobbing, they all run out and our cat is seizing so badly you can’t even hold the cat carrier. Our Mc Nalley never made it back from that seizure, he was comatosed. We tried everything but his fever had gone so high, then he needed water pulled from his brain, his glucose level dropped, then he needed plasma. By the next day he was in renal failure.
    3 days is how long I let it go on. My son kept saying “he’s so strong, he has never been sick, please mom just one more day”. You see I had explain to my son about a choice to let him go if I thought he was in pain and agony! I should of let him go after the last horrible seizure, but I still thought there might be hope! I was wrong! I sat with our family cat while the vet administered the final dose of medicine. I told him how sorry I was and that I gave him that flea medicine, I told him I would do everything I could to share our story, I told him we loved him and to be at peace. He looked at me with the one eye that would open, his body immobile, praying he could hear me.
    We grieve, it has been 4 days and my son has bad dreams, our 14 yr. old German Shepherd is sad without her baby. She adopted him when he was a kitten, so cute. And I write this letter in hopes that I can get the word out to not use over the counter flea meds on your beloved family pets. I watch the news, I read the paper, in my 40+ yrs. I never heard anything about this poisoning. In fact this toxic drug is not even listed on the packaging for ingredients. How can this be? The EPA has said there is an increase in reports about this toxic drug. Our economy is down so people are penny pinching. When it comes to your pets, the cost is much higher in the end!
    Please help get the word out!
    You can reach me through [email protected]

  8. Dear Aundria,

    I’m so sorry that you lost your beloved Oliver. I have a small dog that I love like a member of my family, so my heart was heavy when I read about your loss.

    I checked into your case with our Consumer Affairs division, and it appeared you did not contact us directly. We learned of your case and then contacted you so that we could start an investigation, which is done any time a consumer has any issues with one of our products. To date, we have not received the requested information or any veterinarian records from you.

    There are several issues I would like to address from your posts here and on other blogs. First, our company did talk with the reporter you cited and supplied him with all the facts and data he requested. We never suggested that you were fraudulent. What we did explain, however, was that Sergeant’s Flea and Tick Powder for Cats does not contain Permethrin and never has. Because your veterinarian determined that Oliver’s death was caused by Permethrin poisoning, it is not possible that this Sergeant’s cat powder product caused the death. If you applied a powder for dogs, which often contain Permethrin, this could have caused a reaction. Most package labels indicate that dog products are toxic to cats.

    In most of your posts, you interchangeably use two company names – Sergeant’s and Hartz or Hartz Mountain. You have stated that Hartz manufactures products for Sergeant’s, or that somehow these companies are one in the same. In fact, we are separate companies who serve the same market. We produce very different products with different formulas and active ingredients. If you used a Hartz product, we would in no way be connected to your claim. To date, we have not received any product packaging, so it is impossible to determine what product you used. If your pet died from Permethrin poisoning, there is no way that Sergeant’s Flea and Tick Powder for Cats caused or contributed to your pet’s death, as it does not contain Permethrin as stated above.

    You stated that you used a cat powder in April, and Oliver was euthanized in August as a result of Permethrin poisoning. It is unlikely that a flea and tick cat powder applied in April would cause a death more than four months later. Is it possible that your cat came into contact with Permethrin in another way as well, perhaps closer to the onset of his illness? Many household pesticides, even those used commercially, also contain Permethrin. Cats that come into contact with household pesticides can also present reactions. Your youtube video of Oliver shortly after application of the flea and tick powder you used, from the opinion of veterinarians who reviewed it, does not show that the cat is having tremors or other unusual reactions at that time. The only movement the veterinarians cited was a tail flicker from time to time, which they felt indicated that Oliver was angry or annoyed, possibly at the video production itself.

    I highlight these facts because it is extremely important for all cat owners to use flea and tick control products carefully. There are many stories of dog products being applied to cats, of small pets receiving doses for large pets, of elderly or sick pets being treated with pesticides, of pet parents using multiple pesticidal products at once, and so on that cause avoidable reactions. These stories are very heartbreaking and always inspire me to increase my efforts to get the word out and educate pet parents about these issues. To learn more about this, visit

    We share the same goal – to protect pets and prevent them from having any level of reaction. Flea and tick products are designed to protect pets and humans from the very real dangers these pests bring with them. But they must be used with great care.

    Sergeant’s Pet Care, Inc.

  9. I have used a flea collar on my INSIDE cat brand unknown and he had the tremors, like little head shakes with his eyes dialating and then return to normal, and my cat is not a lap cat, but was acting very needy that day, following me everywhere. I hurridley took the flea collar off and bathed my cat with warm soapy water, rinsing several times with clean water. It took 8 hours for him to stop tremoring! I called my vet and he had never heard of a cat having this reaction before to a flea product, and that the collars are useless. So after about 2 weeks I bought Sargents flea body spray for my cat and with in 20 minutes of using it he started to tremor again! Once again I had to bathe my cat, call the vet and now he determined that my cat is allergic to those types of flea products and is toxic to him. So now what? My cat has fleas, husband is crabbing about it and I don’t know what to do! So next step is Sargents Gold Products like the flea shampoo with the statement KILLS FLEAS & THEIR EGGS UP TO 30 DAYS! Well that is a joke! I have bathed my cat 2 times in 2 weeks with this and no bad reactions but the very next day he had them again. I have tried over the counter 1 a month flea spot treatments and vet perscription frontline and have done so for the past 3 months and sprayed the crap out of everything, washed everything, vacummed everything & I still have fleas! I even called the 800 number for Frontline to see if their spot treatment is one size fits all, being my cat is 23 lbs and was told yes. Boy! If anyone has any idea on how to get rid of them on a cat using natural things besides what I have used I sure would like to hear from you! My poor cat cringes every time he hears water running and I start walking to him! He knows I’m going to come haul him to the sink for a de fleaing bath!

  10. Bathe your cats and dogs in Dawn for dishes.If you have used one of these flea products and your animal is in trouble the bath in Dawn gets the poison off the skin so it cannot penetrate further into the bloodstream. Blue Dawn. And you can use FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous earth on your animals just a little in the fur keeps the fleas and tics away !!! You know common sense dictates if these flea products can kill a flea by poisoning the nervous system , guess what it does to your beloved pet when it gets in the bloodstream !! Don’t use the products when you can find a safer way.

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