My boy is an indoor-only cat and had never been outside, so fleas were never really an issue. However, we had a temporary roommate whose cat would sneak outside and bring back unwanted friends from time to time. Since my boy is a black domestic short-hair, I didn’t notice the fleas at first, until he began itching and biting himself – and noticed the fleas traveling around in the other cat’s lighter fur as well. About this time, the roommate moved out and my cat still had fleas, so I purchased Hartz Flea Shampoo and a topical treatment for him. Since he hates baths, I never used the shampoo on him, but did apply the treatment to his coat.
Within a day, I noticed he wasn’t eating or drinking, moped around the house and was lethargic to the point of laying in the middle of the stairs and refusing to move. I became terrified that something was wrong, and took him to the vet that night. He was so weak he didn’t even protest being coddled or placed in his carrier. No crying, no meowing…I had to keep checking the carrier to make sure he was still even alive – that is how silent and weak he was.
When I arrived at the vet’s office, the asked for a general background of health problems (none) and what product I had used. As soon as I mentioned “Hartz,” the assistant immediately grabbed my cat out of the carrier and instructed another assistant to take him in the back. I began to worry that they were going to euthanize my poor boy, but the assistant explained to me they were simply going to give him a bath to wash the toxins from his fur. And that’s what these products are: toxins. She explained to me that the brand’s products are so concentrated that they just as likely to kill your cat and they are to kill the fleas. She also said had I used the shampoo instead of the topical treatment, I could very well have ended up at the clinic for a very different reason and be taking my boy home in a much smaller carrier.
Kittles very nearly died that night, but an intensive bath (or three) to remove all of the topical treatment from his fur, and an application of Frontline to kill the fleas saved his life. I am so thankful that my boy is still with me, but still feel guilty that I was the reason he became so I’ll in the first place. I will NEVER use any Hartz products again, and actually scowl at the products that nearly killed my boy when I pass them at the store. I honestly don’t know why these products are still on shelves, or why they don’t come with any sort of warnings or possible side effects to prepare unsuspecting pet owners who buy them, thinking they will be helping their fur babies.