Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Warning for Cat Lovers

I am going to stray from my usual topics of Compassion International, homeschooling and parenting to tell you about the awful experience we had yesterday.  It is my hope that it can prevent someone else from going through the same ordeal or losing their beloved cat.

We have a dog and some cats and, like most people, we deal with fleas. Usually, we use a product like Revolution or Advantage for them, but because we’ve had some tight weeks recently, I bought Sentry brand spot-on flea treatment. Yesterday, I treated our dog with a vial of the Sentry and without really thinking, I used up what was left in the vial on two of our cats. My thinking was that using just a little on the cats would be fine.  How wrong I was.

We had a friend’s daughter over for the day, and after I applied the flea treatment we went to a homeschool history class then ran to town and came home around lunch time. After lunch, I walked to the mailbox and when I came back to our house, I just happened to notice a cat’s tail in an unusual spot under our porch. I also noticed a strange sound of labored breathing and when I knelt down to see what our cat was doing, I saw something that spun me into full-on panic. Our cat was writhing and convulsing on his side, his jaw was chattering and blood was coming out of his mouth. I couldn’t reach him, and panicked and didn’t know what was happening (I thought he was dying) or what to do in that moment.

Suddenly, it popped into my head that I had read something years ago about pets getting sick from flea meds. I ran in and Googled and sure enough, every hit on the first page was about the toxicity of certain flea meds in cats.  I remembered that I had also treated one other cat and ran outside and did a lap around our house.  As I rounded the back of the house, I saw the second cat writhing in the mud in front of our shed. I called a nearby homeschooling mom who is a vet and she told me she would be right over to give them Valium and help me wash them.

At that point, I really thought they were dying.  I grabbed the cats, and called my hubby at work.  I was a hysterical mess. During that call, another call beeped in and it was a friend.  I don’t even remember what I said to her, something like, “I just killed my cats!”

The vet arrived and we started working on the cats.  They were given injections and we washed them with dish soap to get the medication off of their skin. All the while, they were just convulsive and out of it. My friend showed up to whisk the kids away and what a blessing that was! The vet stayed here for an hour or so, checking on them, but after we washed them, it was just a matter of keeping them warm and comfortable and waiting.

To make a long story a bit shorter, today it looks as if the cats will survive. It is a miracle that I noticed the first cat and was able to find the second and bring them in and treat them.  Had I not, they likely would have died overnight as the temps were near freezing. They are up and walking/stumbling around, they’ve eaten and eliminated.

I am so thankful for our vet friend’s quick response and the thoughfulness of my other friend who took the girls and distracted them with a trip to the pizza shop while all heck was breaking loose.

My warning is this: do not EVER use any flea medications with Pyrethrin or Permethrin on your pets!!! It doesn’t work at killing fleas but it sure enough can kill your pets.

Please spread the word.  Hartz, Sentry or any other cheap over-the-counter flea meds with either of those chemicals can be fatal to your beloved animals. I learned the hard way, I don’t want anyone else to go through it!


Infinite Cosmos said...

oh wow! I think we have some of that stuff somewhere around the house. I will ditch it asap!! That is so scary. I'm so glad kitties will be ok. so sorry you had to go through that!

Christine said...

I am so sorry for you and for the cats! I can't imagine the stress. Blessing to have such good friends close by!

Sarah said...

Oh wow! Thanks for the tip!

And what a blessing to have a vet that makes house calls, and good friends to come watch the kids!

Glad your fur-babies should be okay!

Soul Writer said...

What a horrible situation, for you and the cats. I'm so glad you were able to get help from a vet ASAP. I am a cat lover, and it broke my heart to read about your cats writhing and hurting. I'm glad you found them when you did. How are they doing now?

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