I have to admit, it’s been kind of nice for the past few days to not feel pressured to post something just for the sake of posting, but at the same time, I find myself constantly thinking “gee, I should really write something.” I guess that’s the point of NaBloPoMo, to get yourself in the habit of writing on a regular basis, so you don’t end up posting once a year (hi, DaveM! I totally just called you out!).

Anyway, while Catie and I were in Mississippi, Dave mentioned that Teenie had some bald spots on her back. She tends to groom excessively when she’s stressed out; she actually has permanent hair loss on her belly because she licked herself bald every time I moved (which was once a year for a few years in my early 20’s). I figured that she was just upset because I was gone, poor kitty. I felt bad, but I didn’t worry about it too much beyond that.

When I got home, however, I realized that Dave was actually making light of the situation. She has two huge bald spots on her back. I started to freak, and Dave said, “yeah, it seems like something’s wrong with her skin too, we’re probably going to need to take her to the vet.” Now, it was 1 a.m. and we’d had a hellishly long day, but I still sat down on the floor and called her to me to try to check her out. And I realized that her skin wasn’t just bumpy, it was… moving. My cat is quite literally infested with fleas. Besides all the fleas crawling all over her, she was also covered with these tiny black grains of sand, which didn’t take me long to figure out were flea larvae. Oh my lord, I wanted to vomit.

Our cats never go outside, so I really don’t understand how they got fleas in the first place, except that we must’ve brought them in somehow. But Ive never seen anything like this before. I’ve seen cats that had a flea or two, but nowhere near this level. The poor thing must’ve been in absolute misery. It’s probable that Beaumont has them too, but his hair is so long and black, it’s impossible to tell. We’re treating him as if he has them too.

There wasn’t anything we could do about it in the middle of the night, but the next day we trooped off to PetSmart and stocked up on anti-flea stuff. We got both the spray to kill them now, plus the maintenance anti-flea stuff to use in the future.

Today I went to re-wash everything in the laundry room, since Teenie’s been sleeping in the laundry basket for the past several days. The basket and the floor surrounding it are also covered with black sand/flea larvae. So. Unbelievably. Gross. I would take pictures, but seriously? Y’all don’t want to see this. I’m about to go scrub the whole laundry room down with bleach, because that’s the only way I’ll actually believe that it’s clean.

Here’s a question: any of y’all know what we’re supposed to do next? I’m sure there must be other fleas in the house, and I have no idea how to get rid of them. Do I call an exterminator? I thought about getting one of those foggers, but both Dave and Catie have asthma, so I’m sure that even if we leave the house for hours, it would still mess with their lungs when they come back to those fumes. Surely there must be some sort of “natural” way to get rid of fleas? Anyone? Help?

7 thoughts on “fleeeeas!

  1. Yeah i was kind of horrified when we dug around and found the little black things swarming around.

    I didn’t freak out when i first saw the bald spots because I just figured she’d been chewing her hair due to stress because Cindy had been gone for a week. But Nooooo…

    My head is itching as I type…

  2. I hate to say this, but…Fleas are really hard to get rid of in the house. The fogger probably won’t help at all, but the best way to handle it is directly with the cat– a combination of flea shampoo, once-monthlyneurotoxin like Frontline, and something with a built-in flea birth-control (your vet can prescribe it) should do it. Washing EVERYTHING in super-hot water for the next 4 months will help too. The problem is that once you kill all the live ones, it is another few months of incubation cycles killing fleas that hatch from those indestructible eggs. But that’s why the flea birth control is so helpful. They will go away, and definintely without having to fog the house, but it’s going to be a pain in the butt.

  3. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with fleas, but I once had a cat that had them. I also lived in a basement apartment so it was nice and damp–another good way to attract fleas. I tried home remedies but gave up after a few weeks and bought the flea-killer medicine from the vet. At the time, flea killer medicine was fairly new and I think it is similar to what you can now buy at PetSmart. With the medicine it did not take long to get rid of them. it didn’t kill the fleas that were already there, but it stopped them from reproducing. I seem to remember the vet telling me it would take one “generation” of fleas for them to be gone. I don’t remember how long a generation was, but I do remember being surprised at how fast they were gone.

    On the other side of things, a friend of mine once had a flea infestation without having any pets. She tried bombs and all of that until she finally gave up and called an exterminator.

    Not sure if any of that was helpful, but there it is….

  4. I should add, when I had flee problems I was living in northern Illinois. While I lived in Mississippi, I checked the cats regularly for fleas. They weren’t outside cats, but I knew fleas would be more of an issue in the south than they were in the upper-midwest. I didn’t give my cats regular flea medicine, but I know people who did. I’m wondering if that is something you would have to do now that you are back in the south.

  5. Yeah, I hate to say it but… welcome back to Dixie! Fleas can live year-round in the grass down South, so you can get plenty of infestations without having the cats ever go outside, as my Florida folks have found out.

    So, what to do. Vacuum. Oh, Lordy, vacuum up all the nooks and crannies. That will help get rid of some of the larvae. Then you have to get rid of the vacuum waste *immediately* by sealing in another bag and tossing into the trash outside or burning or taking the bags to the dump (the fleas can escape).

    Don’t use a fogger. It’s not recommended. If you’re going to go the serious pest control route, then get an exterminator out to do a targeted spray of areas.

    This website should be helpful; it’s from the folks at UC Davis.

    Good luck. What a bummer. 🙁

  6. UGH. You don’t have to take a picture because we’ve been there. Our dog had the fleas, the black “sand,” all of it. It’s so gross. We used Advantage to get rid of her fleas, I washed her twice a day for a week, and I vacuumed and washed and shampooed EVERYTHING in our house. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

    It sucks, I’m sorry.

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