Tiny Timmy came into the life of Claudia Tietze in 2009 as a damaged kitten; flea riddled, poisoned by chemicals, and with neurological problems. Claudia devotes herself to Timmy’s care and rehabilitation, while waging a campaign against the flea products she blames for his neurological disorder.
This week, Claudia and Timmy are in the spotlight over her backing of the principals in a lawsuit over harmful products and the damage they cause.
Timmy’s early story, from The Journey of Tiny Timmy:
“I was rescued from death. When the peeps came to pick me up, they were told I had a “muscle disorder” and would never get better. The bad people thought this was funny. They would try to push me around like a broken Tonka Truck to get me to run so they could laugh… It wasn’t funny…
The peeps noticed straight away that my body was coated with something. It felt like dried old hairspray to them. They started not feeling so good, then figured out it was Sergeants Flea & Tick spray. It’s marked for cats, but it has pyrethrins and permethrin in it. Both of those are toxic to kitties. The bad people gave a bottle of it to my peeps. The smiled and said, “Only $2 at Walmart”
I was so very sick. And the spray they used on me didn’t even work. All the fleas just clung closer to my skin. The peeps gave me a flea comb and a warm bath. I was too sick to care, so I just hung there in their arms. They flea combed me after too. There were about 60 fleas in the tub, about 40 they pulled off of me with the first combing… After the bath, there were even more on my little body. Over 350 fleas came off of me. I felt so much better without my hitchhikers, but I was still too sick to care much…
I could not walk and could hardly stand. I mostly just laid around. The peeps brought me a pet bed in my special room where I stayed for a while until I was strong enough to be around the other kitties. I couldn’t get into or out of the pet bed myself. I had severe tremors and muscle spasms. The peeps watched me all day and night to be sure I didn’t have a seizure.
I was so weak I could hardly keep my head up by myself. If I tried, it would lull from side to side and I would just close my eyes cuz it made me dizzy. The peeps held me a lot and took me to see a vet who knew a lot about kitties like me.
This is the first place I was fed kitty food. Before I got beer, cheetos, pizza, hot pockets and ice cream.
The vet said my nerves were very damaged but that since I was so little, I might recover some. Nerves grow back at a really slow rate, but kitties grow up really fast. Some days are really hard for me because I grew faster than my nerves grew back. The vet said we should know how much damage I will have after about two years. That’s a long time for a kitty like me.
I love noms… all kinds of food really. I used to peck at it like a chicken because I would tremor when I ate. I’ve gotten much better about that. I would wear a lot of noms on my face because of the pecking. It wasn’t all bad, though! It meant I got to have noms long after the bowl was empty!
See how I am trying to balance myself? My front legs are way far back. I was still pecking at my foodies. It was like I knew what to do, but I just couldn’t make my body do it.
When I was in the bad place, they had a huge box I could not get into unless someone put me ontop of a high bed and I fell into it. Then I couldn’t get back out of it again. So potty time was always stressful for me. I would poop standing up, then go totally rigid as a board and fall backwards. It hurt my back, so the peeps made this for me! Sometimes I would be so weak I could only lay down to go, but that happens really rarely now because I try so hard to be like all other kitties.”
Tiny Timmy’s personal journey continues from there, to include neurologists, acupuncture, improvements, setbacks and ordinary days. Timmy tries to be a normal cat and is given lots of love and diligent care.
Timmy is also a spokescat for his petmom’s crusade to inform petlovers of the dangers of OTC (over the counter) flea and tick products. Claudia and a few of her colleagues have gone to Washington DC twice in the last two years to be heard by the EPA.
The news video below features Claudia and Timmy, along with her message, and includes the most frequently used responses from the companies selling the products in question.