An open letter to the Hartz pet care products company.

Dear Sir or Madame,
I recently discovered that my cats have a mild flea infestation and set about rectifying that this morning. To that end, I purchased your “Hartz® UltraGuard® Flea & Tick Spray for Cats.”

I would first like to say that I am EXTREMELY impressed by the efficacy and efficiency of your flea spray. It appears that the adult fleas that were on my cats are all, now, dead.

However, I would like to take a moment and give just a tad bit of feedback because while using your product it has become painfully (I mean that in a very literal sense) obvious to me that no one on your staff has ever had a cat, been near a cat nor, I believe has actually seen a cat in person.

The instructions on the bottle read –
1. Hold bottle upright 6 inches from pet. Direct spray towards pet and spray entire coat, pressing dispenser with quick short strokes. Move bottle to get even coverage of coat until tips of hair are moist.

2. Apply lightly and rub into animal’s coat. For longhaired cats, ruffle hair for spray to reach skin.

3. Recommended dosage: Spray 15-25 strokes for a small cat. Spray 25-35 strokes for a large cat. More spray may be needed for longhaired cats.

4. Ticks are tough – spray directly.

5. After 10 minutes, dry cat with towel.

6. Comb and brush coat.

7. Repeat once a week. Use on bedding and other areas as needed.

If your staff has had any experience with cats, I would like to posit an alternate hypothesis you are all (to the last woman, man and child) sadists of the highest order.

Let’s start with the obvious: Spray bottles make a hissing noise. This scares the cat. Cats take hisses as a sign of hostility. This makes them try to run. One spray and my cat tried to run. I was forced to drop the bottle and grab the cat and restrain her.

Which brings me to the next issue. I do not know what is in Hartz® UltraGuard® Flea & Tick Spray for Cats, but I can only assume that it is a magic substance… because my fluffy white and black tuxedo cat went from soft and cuddly to being covered in what I can only describe as a sheen of liquid teflon. So, I am now restraining a cat that has been lubricated for someone’s pleasure, and attempting to spray her with the product.

Then I learn something else about Hartz® UltraGuard® Flea & Tick Spray for Cats. It makes me slick. It makes the bottle slick. It makes the floor underneath the cat slick. I can only assume that this product underwent lab testing for it’s effectiveness as a chemical, that is how things get approved after all. I cannot, however, believe that it underwent any form of consumer testing because of the next fact.

Hartz® UltraGuard® Flea & Tick Spray for Cats comes in a bottle that is shaped, for all intents and purposes, like a bullet. Bullets are shaped like they are because that shape allows them to pass through the air with a minimum of turbulence. It also turns out that this shape allows them to pass through my hands with almost no resistance do to the fact that I am now covered in slick, lubricated poison. The bottle of course goes shooting out of my hand.

My cat and I exchange a glance and she stares at me just urging me to go for the bottle so she could get away. I managed to get the bottle back over to me and not lose the cat, but there is a further problem… The hissing sound the bottle makes now has her laying on one side. I have to now take an angry, wet, teflon coated cat and roll her over to get to the other side of her.

This would not be an issue, really, if it were not for the aforementioned lubrication. This took 10 minutes. Then, when we’d finished that side, my poor moist, slick kitty looked at me piteously as if to ask, “are we done, yet?” That was when it hit me… I still had to do her belly. Another round of squirming and crying (both mine and the cat’s) and I managed to get it done. THEN I had to rub it into her fur.

The whole process took me 35 minutes thanks to the lubricating properties of the spray. Honestly, I think this should be marketed to NASA or fire departments that routinely rescue people and appendages from tight spaces.

That, however was the first of three. The first one, I might add, was the smallest and most acquiescent of the three animals.

When all was said and done, It took me 2 hours to complete the process. I have the spray all over my hands and pants, the floor, the cats, my television, and managed to mace myself in the process. (Oh! Law enforcement could use this to great effect!!!)

To that end, as a consumer who has enjoyed your products through the years, I would like to make a suggestion. Take this chemical and impregnate wet wipes with it. This would eliminate the hissing sound of the bottle and allow the cat’s owner to pet the cat reassuringly. I PROMISE you that this would be an effective product and would please a great many of your customers.

But, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t make that package bullet shaped as well.

Kriss Hoffman

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