In April, 2010, my husband and I adopted Ila, a six month old kitten, from a local animal shelter. Although she is an indoor cat, we allow her to romp around the screened in patio. In mid-September, we noticed that she had picked up fleas. On 9/16/10, we bought a package of Hartz Ultraguard Pro flea treatment containing three doses; each dose to be administered no less than 30 days from the previous one. Late in the evening, we applied the first dose to the nape of her neck according to package instructions. It was heavily perfumed and greasy.
The following morning, Ila was shuddering and jerking as she greeted us. In the middle of her usual antics that day, she would stop dead and stretch out a leg as it went into spasms. Several times that day, her head convulsed up and down. Nothing had changed in this healthy, energy packed cat, other than a dose of Hartz flea treatment. I considered wiping the treatment from her neck, however, it was no longer really visible. She had spent some time the previous evening rolling around on a bedspread, leaving a big greasy stain on it. During a 2-3 day period, the spasms continued intermittently. Ila vomited her food into her water bowl twice during that time. Also, instead of characteristically trying to encourage us to chase her around the house, Ila waited for us to sit down so that she could curl up in someones lap and be touched. That was not her style. Although now almost a year old, she still tears around like a bullet.
After the third day, I logged onto the internet, unsure of what I was looking for. In a quick search under Hartz, we learned through Hartzvictims.com that there have been numerous severe reactions to Hartz products for animals.
We quickly bathed Ila in a utility sink with warm water and baby shampoo. For a cat that we believe had never had a bath before, she was remarkably calm, as if she knew it was necessary. We washed her bed and all of the bedding through the house where she naps. We scrubbed the greasy spots off of the floors throughout the house and scrubbed the tile floor in the laundry room where we keep her litter pan, bed, and food dishes.
After the bath, the spasms continued to occur for another 3 or 4 days, however, they were far less frequent and much less severe. Today, approximately two weeks later, her energy seems to have returned and she is no longer shuddering and convulsing. Thank you Hartzvictims.com. I have no explanation for the suffering of our defenseless cat other than the Hartz product. How can this be stopped?