You ease the vigilance a bit, forget the dates, then delay the inevitable and… (drumroll, squeaky child’s voice:) they’re here !!
Everybody whose house has been graced with the presence of feline overlords dreads them. Those of us who allow our house-tigers to prowl outside certainly are more familiar with them than we should like to be. Ctenocephalides felis, the Cat’s Flea, is a pest which can infest your home in no time and regularly spends only 1 % of its time on your cat. The rest of its time it spends in your house, on the places where your feline friend usually dwells, preferably dark and cozy. So if you want to find the culprit, look no further than your cat’s favourite napping place. And your bed.
Reading this, you can rightly suspect that the House of Chaos has been invaded again. Indeed, despite a recent fumigation in March and a regular judicious application of Frontline drop-ons our feline friends are teeming with the pesky jumpers and especially the Attic of Chaos, where Bouncing Psycho dwells, is groaning under the weight of their irritating presence. Fumigating is the only solution and the necessary canisters have been purchased. Now it is a matter of keeping track of the time and performing the regularly repetitions until all fleas and their larvae have sufficiently been dealt with, right ?
Wrong. The canisters we are wont to use don’t seem to do the trick anymore. We have emptied several of them in the past week and still the pesky jumpers are frolicking at ease on and around our cats. Not to mention the occasional flea-fiesta on the simians. Even poor Bouncing Psycho has the marks that tell all he’s become a regular feeding ground. I’m afraid stronger ammo is needed here and an emergency raid to the Apothecary has provided us with untried-before stuff. Hopefully this will work.
Zorro is allergic to flea-bites and hence requires extra care in the pestilence department. Last Spring the Man In White has prescribed a different pesticide for him since even Frontline wouldn’t help him anymore. Now he takes Promeris, which is new and seems to work better. I preferred to continue with Frontline on the other felines because Promeris doesn’t attack ticks but I’m afraid I will have to switch wholesale after all. Even with a good strong dose of Frontline Loup-Garou, Bean Sidhe and Hrimnir are heavily infested. Poor little Hrimnir even has them crawling and playing merry havoc all over his tiny furry face ! It may be possible the fleas have become immune to Frontline. The Promeris has been ordered and may be in the Apothecary by tomorrow.
People might by now think: “ew !” But you should understand that our houses literally teem with all kinds of little bugs that eat and live on and from us. It is a fact you have to live with, like dust-mites (of which both Grumpy Man and the Mistress are allergic by the way) and spiders. You can try to keep their numbers in check but they will never totally disappear. And some of them carry disease… The Cat’s Flea can infect your pets with the tapeworm if you’re unlucky, and we all know who carried the Black Plague into Europe several centuries ago. Mosquitoes are notorious for inflicting Malaria, the Nile Virus and the Yellow Fever, and ticks can give you the Lyme Disease. Even flies can be nasty that way. Keeping their numbers to an absolute minimum is thus prudent. Totally, completely and utterly eradicating them is -alas- a fancy dream.
Now, what can one do ? Apart from already knowing some stuff I searched the ‘net and found several interesting possibilities. Treatments (other than on your cats) might be best repeated every 7 to 10 days in order to get the next generations too. First, a warning though: I am not responsible however for whatever happens when you try this. I’m not a Woman In White and do not claim any expertise in the pest department. I just try to use Common Sense…
– I mentioned the fumigation. Some of that stuff is hideous, causing you to evacuate the house for hours. The canisters I bought advise you to leave the room for at least 30 minutes and afterwards opening all windows possible. The solution our Apothecary discussed was a kind of “bomb” that you set off after taping your house shut. Then you wait 4 hours outside, go inside and open all windows and doors, wait another 2 hours… but you can be absolutely and totally sure no pest has survived that onslaught – sez the manual.
– Your cats can be treated with a spray, a spot-on solution, a flea-collar, or a shampoo. The spot-on is the most friendly one, since you can apply it on your beloved feline without him even noticing. If you like spending a bit of quality time with your furry friend you might try to do some grooming with a flea-comb: you can comb them pesky critters out and try to flick them into a bowl of water immediately (put some cleaning agent in the water first – it breaks the surface tension).
– An interesting bit of anti-flea-lore I chanced upon on Wikipedia was this: ” (…) to burn a floating candle in a plate of water with some cleaning agent. Fleas will be attracted to the light and will drown. This trick also works when putting the cleaning agent water under a lamp.” It seems this works best at night when no other light is on. Do this for at least a month.
– Lavender is known for keeping fleas at bay. Putting a bag of crushed dried lavender in your cat’s sleeping basket might be a good idea. He’ll smell nice too. Fresh leafy branches from either a Eucalyptus (could be poisonous for your pet though) or a Black Walnut tree under the furniture, Mint could work as well and Rosemary sprigs under the curtains are told to be effective too. In any case,
your house will smell nice.
– Wash your bed linens more often. Don’t keep carpets in your bedrooms. (Since Grumpy Man and the Mistress are allergic to dust-mites this is done anyway, we also have no cloth curtains but plastic window-shades.)
– You can rent an industrial carpet-cleaner and fill it with 1 measure of white vinegar against 5 measures of hot water. The same solution applies to cleaning wood or linoleum floors. If you don’t want to mess around with water another way is Boric acid which can be sprinkled on the carped and vacuumed 24 hours later.
– Diatomacious Earth is also sprinkled and later on vacuumed. It dries out the exoskeleton of the critters and kills them. The dust should not be inhaled though since it is abrasive and so fine it can damage your lungs.
– People who think they are terrific flea-magnets should eat garlic often. Not lots and lots of it, just very often. Garlic, however, is dangerous for cats to eat. Keeping your feline friend healthy, well-fed and in good shape is at the end the best flea-repellent Mother Nature has to offer.
And don’t panic. Under normal circumstances fleas won’t kill your cats. They’re just a pest and can be controlled. All you need is a bit of discipline when cleaning house and applying the pesticides. At the end of the day, when you have a flea-free kitty blissfully snoring on your lap, you can be proud of another job well done.
*sigh* Another spot for me to fumigate. Thanks Bannikins !
You’ll need boots if you are to board the Friday Ark though, or you’ll get wet paws and don’t we all know how you hate that…