Wilbur, who is shy and often reluctant to be held, seems to find it pure bliss to be
plopped on his back while I rake through his soft white belly fur in pursuit of fleas.
On Thursday I worked at the computer, pecking away at family history notes and slowly bcame aware
that Wilbur and Willow stopped their play several times--to SCRATCH!
I picked up Willow and looking her over, suspected that we had fleas.
J. had errands at Tractor Supply on Friday, so I went along to stock up on pet necessities, including some of those tiny tubes of flea treatment which are applied to the back of a cat's neck.
The day was full of things to be done and I didn't corner the kittens to daub on the flea stuff.
Gina arrived late on Saturday afternoon as I sat here sleepily reading. She made a dive for Wilbur who was reclining on the toilet tank--his favorite cool spot for a hot day.
She hastily dumped him back down and went "EEEEUUUW!
I looked where she was pointing and saw the telltale bloody spots and minute brown specks on the white porcelain.
I picked up Wilbur and then Willow, upending them and peering at their white undersides.
I brought out medicated pet shampoo, scrubbed as much of each kitten as I could get without actually submerging them in the sink. They were toweled off and held down while the tubes of "flea control" were applied to their little necks.
G. and I were in agreement that every bit of bedding needed to be stripped and laundered.
I began pulling off the heavy quilt, the sheets, the pillowcases, while the damp kittens huddled in the adjoining bathroom.
G. rushed home for an insecticidal 'bomb.'
We relocated the kittens to a cage in the basement, draped the desk with a sheet, stuffed newspaper in the seams around the closet door and set off the bomb.
I entered in the morning to throw open the windows and scrub the woodwork. G arrived with her 'power head' vac to clean the carpet.
The kittens passed inspection with only one or two very sluggish fleas each,
which I dispatched with the time-honored method of squishing them--not for the squeemish!
Finally they were returned to the very clean room.
We've not had a problem with fleas on animals in many years. They were non-existant during the Wyoming years, and none on our long-time resident felines since moving to Kentucky.
But then...where did the kittens come from..?
As G. says, "Imagine some half-starved scruffy mama cat having these kittens in a dirty forlorn place...and you have fleas."
All has seemed better--until I put Wilbur on my lap this evening and found more than a half dozen fleas roaming about on his belly.
It is too soon to reapply the material from the tubes--its meant to be 30 day intervals.
The mere idea of harboring BUGS sets me to scratching...imagining that I, too, have fleas!
I am reminded of my late mother-in-law who arrived for summers in Vermont bringing with her a small yappy, wooly dog who was perennially and liberally infested with huge southern fleas.
MIL didn't have much use for "chemicals" [as in flea spray] so daily mixed up noxious concoctions in my mop bucket and dunked the wretched beast, plunging it in and out like a yo-yo.
Lestoil and water; tea tree oil infusions; I forget what-all.
Mostly these ministrations caused the fleas to hop off the dog and bounce about on the floor.
When we complained about the fleas MIL indignantly stated that she was sure they couldn't possibly have ridden in with her from Georgia--must have been here all along!
Wilbur submitting to flea check.
At the moment the kittens are enjoying minimal furnishings--an ancient quilt on the bed.
Their naughty explorations dictate that books and genealogy materials be confined to boxes.
My desk with its piles of "stuff" is at risk.
Its a good thing the kittens are already well-loved!
Tomorrow the flea war will continue.