When “Meaning Well” Backfires

My poor cat. Poor, poor Kuno.

I bought a topical flea treatment from Hartz, thinking “maybe this will clear up the troubles she’s been having and I can solve everything without taking her to the vet!” I read the directions, I applied it as intended, and I moved on with my day. A few minutes later, she started dancing around our house, trying to rub it off of her neck and generally being distressed. I talked to her, tried petting her back, thinking it was just annoyance at something new. She wouldn’t calm down. She liked being near me, but just kept doing those same things.

So I tried to wash it off with a wet rag, since it was clearly disturbing her. No dice. I got some off, but there was so much there, and her neck still smelled like the chemicals.

Soapy wet rag? More of it came off, but not much. Plus, now I’m making her a little mad.

I tried to rinse her neck in the sink to get rid of the soap and she freaked out and clawed and leapt away. But I got most of the soap first (which I don’t want her eating), so I was satisfied.

So I thought to myself ‘the box mentioned digestive troubles and other signs of discomfort; I wonder what everyone else is experiencing…’ Enter Google. Cue the website full of 1 star ratings written by people whose cats started freaking out and “almost died.” Vets. Baths. Cats pulling out their own fur. Spasms. Neurological damage. Weird pupils.

Naturally, I freak out. Which makes two of us. I chase down my dancing cat after drawing a sink full of dish soap water which is warm (not cold enough to chill or hot enough to burn). Fetch Kuno. Dunk. Fight. Scrub the neck fur with soap after compromising and letting her stand on the beach towel on the counter instead of in the sink. 

She settles down. Breathing slows. Hissing stops. I think I’ve finally got it off her skin. Try to draw rinse water? Goodbye kitty.

I should pause and explain that I was half sobbing this whole time because the whole situation is my fault. I did this to her and I am the one causing her stress as I try to fix things.

*** Sorry. I stopped writing so I could wash and bandage my cat scratches. My train of thought may be broken here.***

I filled a pitcher with warm water, scooped her up with my free arm, put her in the bathtub, and rinsed her off. A sopping wet Kuno slipped away from me, but again, I got most of the soap off first, so I didn’t mind. Followed her with the beach towel. Dried her off a bit. Let her escape to the other side of the house. Cleaned up the water trail in the bathroom. Cleaned up the soapy mess in the kitchen sink. Came to check on her.


She’s not happy. She eventually came out of the box a bit and sat near me to dry herself further. I brought some treats as an apology, and she ate them. She’s well enough to sort out her favorite brand from the mixed treats in my container, so that’s something. I keep looking at her, and she seems annoyed (probably the bath), but it’s not like she was at first. No more frantic running and jumping. No leaping up onto counters, sprinting their length, and tumbling down. Not winding in circles around the furniture, laying down for 10 seconds, then getting up to pace some more.

She just sits in one of the empty boxes and stares back. Not quite trusting me not to try to bathe her again, but letting me get close enough to sniff her neck. (I got most of that medicine off during this fiasco and she doesn’t smell like soap either.)


I hope she’ll be ok. I really do. 

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