Categories: flea treatments

Dangerous and Deadly Flea Products In Memory of Tiny Timmy

This is a very hard story to write because Tiny Timmy touched so many lives in so many ways. To condense his life into a few paragraphs doesn’t seem a fitting tribute, because he is deserving of so much more. Timmy saved many cats in his lifetime through consumer education, although the normal life he should have had was taken from him as a kitten from the use of Sergeant’s flea products.


Tiny Timmy had neurological damage from over-the-counter flea and tick products. In Timmy’s case it was Sergeant’s Flea and Tick Spray and Sergeant’s Gold Spot (a spot on treatment). He had good days and bad days. He suffered from tremors, seizures and GI issues caused by flea products that should have been safe and are still on the market today. On his Facebook: Tiny Timmy’s Healing Journey, Timmy describes his life

“I am a little wobbly when I walk, and some days fall over a lot. Sometimes I need help doin’ my ‘business’ and others I do it all by myself. It depends on how strong I feel at the time. My peeps rescued me from a very bad place. They weren’t looking for another more kitties, but couldn’t say no. Had they not rescued me, the bad people where I was at were going to dump me in the forest. It’s a very scary place there for a kitty who at the time could hardly hold my head up, suffering from toxic exposure to OTC flea and tick spray. My fur was caked with it and the vet didn’t give me 48 hours to live.”

This YouTube video shows Timmy when he was very young. Please check out the other video’s on his YouTube channel, especially Tiny Timmy Movie-Heal Me series (see sources below). Not only did Timmy entertain with YouTube, he was a feline educator on the danger of “supermarket” flea products. Timmy and his human servant Claudia refused to give up on their quest to make the public aware of the dangers of topical flea products. These are products the respective companies want the consumer to think are safe and improved when they’re not. They’re made by Sergeant’s, Hartz, Sentry, Farnam, Summit, Adams, Advantage, Zodiac and Bio Spot just to name a few and include sprays, spot-on treatments, shampoos, dips, flea bombs and flea collars.

Timmy travelled to Washington on several occasions to meet with the EPA and lawmakers, but these products are still out there. Thanks to Timmy’s fame, cat and dog owners have learned first-hand what these products can do to a healthy pet. When Timmy came into what would become his forever family in September 2009, his pet parents were told he had a muscle condition. Then they handed Claudia a bottle of the Sergeant’s Flea and Tick spray, bragging that it was only $2 at Wal-Mart.

On December 4th Timmy was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive case of LGL lymphoma. His prognosis was 17 days to live, with or without treatment. Timmy thrived with ups and downs for 67 days, but in the end the disease attacked the left side of his neurological system, traveling from his foot all the way to his face. The results of this was a very fast decline. It seemed especially cruel that it affected his hard won mobility as relentlessly as it did. Timmy was always so proud of the places he could go despite being told it was impossible. It was his time.

On February 9th, 2016 Timmy died. The beautiful story of his last day can be found here. Leslie A. Palleria named a star in the constellation of Leo after him. You will be able to see him in the sky most clearly in July through September, the month he was rescued. This isn’t the end for Timmy. His ashes are being placed in 1/4 dram bottles and will be sent to all parts of the world along with “Timmy stones.” How to apply can be found on the Timmy’s Ashes Project. Claudia writes:

“Timmy never just belonged to me. He belonged to everyone. I was just his nearest Sherpa. We had an incredibly deep and symbiotic, often intuitive, connection but he still never belonged to any one person. It’s only fitting he should be laid to rest all over the world. You have shared his ups and downs these past six years and made his healing possible in more ways than you will ever know.You are the Ripples. You are The Wave.”

Those who participate in the Timmy’s Ashes Project are asked to write an essay of what Timmy meant to them and to chronicle how each person spread his ashes. A book will be compiled from the essays and will be available for download.

Thousands of cats and dogs have died or suffered neurological damage or burns from these products. Please research each and every product you consider buying to use on your pet, including those made with natural ingredients. As it turns out, some of them can be as dangerous as the chemical ones.

I loved Timmy and kept up with his story over the years. Because of him I never purchased those cheap flea products. He may have saved a few of my cats because he taught me to research every product and every ingredient. Readers, remember that just because a product is being sold doesn’t make it a good product. I learned that lesson through Timmy and sympathize with Claudia and Timmy’s extended family as they adjust to life without him.

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Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • I give mine baths with dawn dish soup the one with the duck on it.then come them for a week or so .

  • Actions against the manufactures end up with them trying to insinuate that the animals [ your pets ] suffering the side affects, must have already had pre-existing health issues, so therefore their products cannot be held responsible for the outcome.

    • Thanks. Yes, the manufacturers would defend their position in anyway possible even if it includes downright lies.

  • Every cat we've adopted out we've warned the new pet parents not to use these "supermarket" flea meds. Most of them were unaware of the dangers.

    • Interesting, your comment confirms my fears and is the reason why the manufacturers get away with producing these poisonous products.

  • Thank you for writing this article about Timmy. He touched so many lives with the story of his triumph over neurological damage from flea & tick products, and countless pets have been spared health problems as a result of increased awareness of the dangers of these products. Timmy and his human, Claudia, have made a lot of progress in spreading awareness, and hopefully one day these products will be banned completely.

  • Advantage only.
    Never, never apply cheapies like Sergeants or Hartz. These are your beloveds, and you can't gamble with their lives.

    • Totally agree. It surprises me how careless some cat owners are with the health of their cat often to save a few bucks.

  • Considering all the flea and tick products out there causing deaths in the cats and dogs, has anyone filed a class action lawsuit against these companies (Sergeant's, Hartz, etc). This could be a way to get everyone together in force to get these products off the shelves.

    • Good idea, Kathryn. Something needs to be done. The cat is the innocent victim between the manufacturers and cat owners.

      • There are still a lot of people who don't know about these products - just looking at the stories on is enough to make one tear up. I don't know what it takes to file a class action lawsuit but would be willing to help out on one.

        • It takes someone to organise it to bring people together. A visit to a decent lawyer at the outset would be needed. Perhaps a crowd funding campaign would be the best starting point to get funds together to seek legal advice. It would also bring like minded people together.

  • You wonder which products caused the damage ?

    " Frontline" 3 times on my four Maine Coons
    and 4 times on all four with >Advantage

    These treatments cost more so in my mind I assumed they would be safe _
    Not At All. None of Them Are Safe.

    Eva Say's___

    One round with a cheap product called spot on.

    • And I've had no trouble with them. You just never know. I'm about to resort back to a bowl of Ivory dish detergent placed under a 7 watt bulb night light. Fleas love it and they drown when they jump in. Ivory is pretty much natural but the cats don't drink the Ivory water anyway. I had a dog eat a bar of Ivory soap when I was a kid and mama called the vet and he said the only thing it would do is make the dog throw up.

  • Dear readers and pet lovers_ I wish to include a serious and important note in addition to my statements about flea and tick products. If you have purchased ANY product that has poisons listed in the ingredients One under the name [ Permethrin] they are bug and rat killers etc...and have killed many beloved pets all across america. The companies who produce and sale them do not take responsibility for any liable. My cats are 10 and 11 years of age today; but I only treated them a few times each in their entire lives as youngsters. That's all it took to cause permanent damage. BEWARE & DO NOT APPLY DEADLY POISONS TO YOUR PETS.!!!!
    Eva Say's__

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