I usually write upbeat game or comic pieces on this blog but I’m penning this post to name and shame the pet product company Bob Martin, whose flea prevention product made our kitten Rigby very sick this week.
Before I dive in, just know there is a whole Facebook group dedicated to the exposure and calling-out of this firm, which sells flea collars and solutions that irritate, burn and in some cases kill pets, despite being marketed as a great way of keeping animals healthy.
This Facebook group and many more like it are filled with stories of cats having been physically burned or killed as a result of this supposedly miracle flea cure. There are images of flea collar wounds that have stripped the hair off some cat’s necks, leaving their bare skin irritated and raw.
The images are there for all to see, as upsetting as they are, but the truth of the matter is that these products should not be sold on store shelves. Why big chains like ASDA and Tesco continue to stock Bob Martin solutions – despite the countless complaints out there, is beyond me.
Now granted, we should have done our homework on this matter, and I won’t go into the fine details as to what happened – but in truth, using Bob Martin was a mistake. I admit that. Our cat seems to be well again now, and we have learned a harsh lesson. We won’t be going near this company’s products ever again.
But what about others out there? What if a cat owner were to see this product on the shelves, with all its promises and seemingly harmless message of flea protection. They buy it, take it home and apply it before checking out reviews online. Hey, it’s on the shelf of a big supermarket chain, it must be fine, right?
Well no, it’s not all right. Here is the online text for this product, taken from the company’s website:
“Bob Martin FleaClear Spot On Solution 50mg for cats is for killing fleas on your cat. It is applied at the back of the cat’s neck and between the shoulders. Each treatment provides protection against fleas for up to 5 weeks.
Bob Martin FleaClear Spot On can be used on cats over 2 months old and is suitable for use in homes with both cats and dogs.
Regular treatment of all cats and dogs in the home with effective flea killing products together with regular vacuuming of your pet’s bedding and resting areas is needed to protect your pet and home from fleas. If there is an existing and heavy infestation in the home it may also be necessary to treat the home with an approved home flea product.”
Sounds good doesn’t it?
Here is the only words of caution on that page:
“Do not allow cats to lick each other after treatment.”
Which is exactly what our cat did. The problem though, is that trying to get a cat to stop licking themselves is nigh on impossible, like asking a young child to not get excited on Christmas Eve.
It is an inevitability, yet similar products by Bob Martin’s competitors can be licked without these undesirable side-effects.
It bears repeating: this product should not be sold in stores. Period.
What did my vet have to say, after I rushed Rigby into his surgery following a day of violent retching, violent vomiting and being unable to keep both food and water down?
He told me that the product is toxic to animals. One spot is considered toxic and a cause for real concern. Two is potentially lethal, and in some of his customer’s cases, they had lost pets to this product.
Read that again and ponder: Pets have DIED because of this product.
It costs us almost £50 to get Rigby treated – a cost we have no qualms about paying to ensure he is well and stays alive. But what about those cat owners who were not so lucky? What is the true cost of trusting this seemingly harmless product?
I have tweeted and emailed Bob Martin all day with no reply. If you can stomach it, please do check out the Facebook group above and consider some of the tragic stories and shocking images posted within.
This cannot be allowed to continue, and I urge you to tell everyone you know – be it a new pet owner or someone looking to switch brands to avoid Bob Martin like the plague. It may well save their cat’s life.
I have contacted the BBC’s Watchdog programme and the Advertising Standards Authority to complain formally about Bob Martin’s products. I doubt I will get very far, but by raising further awareness, we can make sure no more pets have to suffer.
We got lucky this time, but there are others out there who were not.
Thanks for reading this to the end.