Stomach is in knots…

Right now, I am too terrified to do anything but read this blog and watch my cats with tears in my eyes and a sinking feeling in my stomach. Midna and Sheik are 5-year-old, robust, happy-go-lucky cats I adopted as kittens. They are strictly indoor cats, and always have been; I’ve never had occasion to use tick or flea products until recently.

My husband and I moved to a new home with a screened porch in February. In the past few weeks, I’ve started letting the cats out on the porch, and they love it. When I noticed two small, flat, shiny bugs under Sheik’s fur, I guessed that they might be fleas, and an Internet search confirmed my suspicions. On my next trip to the grocery store (because, as an indoor cat person, I’d never discussed fleas with my vet to even know that better products exist), I picked up Hartz UltraGuard Plus for cats weighing five pounds or more, as both of mine weigh about 12.

Last night, at about 11:30 p.m., I put one container of the drops onto the skin on the neck of each cat, per the directions. At work today, I decided to look up the product and see how long I could expect to wait before the fleas died. I found this site and, utterly devastated at what I’d done to my best friends, drove straight home.

Neither cat greeted me at the door, which was odd, and I soon found Midna walking around, looking dazed and shaking her back feet behind her like they were wet. Horrified, I grabbed her first and bathed her the best I could – these cats do NOT do baths, and are very strong and agile for one person to try to bathe.  I scrubbed as much of her as I could with Dawn and lukewarm water. I called the vet, who advised me to bathe them if I hadn’t already and bring them in if either one developed more serious symptoms. Both were eating and talking fairly normally.

Hours later, both cats are extremely lethargic.Midna is lying next to me with her inner eyelids half shut and the tip of her tongue sticking out between her teeth. Sheik doesn’t seem more ruffled than she would be on any other day she was given a bath and a pill (they got Capstar). Midna is scaring the daylights out of me, though. She ate treats about an hour ago, but at about a quarter her normal speed, and they kept falling out of her mouth. She licked her lips for about five minutes straight afterward.  I set her on the ground, and she meowed pitifully and then jumped even more pitifully back onto the couch before promptly going back to sleep. The tremors aren’t happening now – only when she walks, which she hasn’t done in several hours.

Of course now the vet is closed, and the nearest emergency vet is an hour and a half away. A car ride nearly kills Midna on a good day… I’m honestly not sure she could handle it right now.  Fortunately, cost is not really a problem, but I just want to do the right thing for her. What’s the tipping point where I put an extremely car averse cat who’s already unwell in the car for a long ride? 🙁  How long until we’re out of the woods as far as new symptoms appearing or current ones worsening?

5 thoughts on “Stomach is in knots…”

  1. I did this o time. Please at least call a vet and ask a suggestion. I was told to wash my cats in warm water and dawn to get it all off of them . Alot of vets will work with you and if it turns out to be from the meds hartz will pay the vet bills .

  2. UPDATE: This post was written Thursday night. This morning, Friday morning, I woke up to find Midna lethargic and limp, though conscious. Large puddles were in front of where she was sitting on the couch – when I looked at her, I realized these were tears. The fur on her face was soaking wet and her eyes were watering profusely. I offered three or four of her favorite foods; after I placed her next to each one, she would sniff it weakly and then lie down next to it and stare into space. Each paw was shaking when she lifted them to walk.

    That did it – off she went to the vet, as soon as they opened. Five hours later, they’ve sedated her, bathed her again, given fluids, and have been monitoring her closely – they think she’s coming out of it. The vet said she definitely had a neurologic reaction to the Hartz product, and that she doesn’t know how it’s still on store shelves. I so hope that the vet is right and Midna is through the worst of this – I’ve missed a day of work, four meals, and two nights of sleep because I’m so consumed with guilt from poisoning someone who trusts me so much. What a disgusting product – everyone involved in its continuing availability should be ashamed.

  3. Even though your vet is closed, isn’t there an answering service or an on-call vet? I’d at least call them and explain what you’re seeing. Or, call the emergency vet that is an hour and a half away. Tell them what’s going on, and ask what they suggest. Good luck! I said a prayer for you and your kitties.

  4. In the event you should ever have to deal with poisoning with your pets ever again–I pray not!–make sure you have homeopathic Arsenicum Album 30c on hand. Crush one pellet and rub directly onto your cat’s gums. Do 1 pellet every 5 mins for a half hour, then 1 every hour after that until you begin to see improvement, then stop. This has been a literal lifesaving remedy in my house!

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