Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wilbur and Willow Have..FLEAS!

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.


  1. We nearly lost Lucky last year after giving her a dose of Frontline. It shouldn't be used in elderly cats apparently - we found out the hard way. Sounds like your new kits have Super Fleas if they survive the Spot-on or whatever you used.

    A once-friend in Alaska swore by Colloidal Silver brushed into the coat I think? I looked into it, but was dubious about using it because of it getting into my lungs (even if I used a mask). Probable over-reaction . . .

  2. Oh dear, occupational hazard isn't it? I must say they do look adorable laid there showing their tummies.

    ps my word was "spediet" a timely hint I think ha ha

  3. Oh dear! I hope you win the battle soon.

    No fleas so far here, this year at least, although we have had trouble in the past. The Drop On anti -flea treatments seem to be working. When we have had flea outbreaks, I began a daily groom with a fine toothed flea comb, drowning anything I caught in a bowl of soapy water. That seemed to do the trick until the chemical treatments had worked.

    Sheep ticks have been our main problem this year, mostly on the Border Collies. Not nice when you tread on a full one on the kitchen floor!

  4. Fleas can be such a nuisance. I did a Google search on natural ways of dealing with these menacing critters, and for the past 5 years the remedy I chose has been working.

    When I mix up their food in the morning, about 2 c. dry with about 1/3 of a can of wet, I add about 1 tsp. of Brewer's yeast (debittered) and mix it all together. I buy the Brewer's yeast in a 1 lb. cannister and it lasts about 3-4 months, and costs around $12. We have three girls that live in the barn, and one that is our indoor/outdoor girl (the other three wouldn't accept the newcomer into their midst). I wish we had known about this when we had our old hound dog and our old girl tabby many, many years ago. But alas.

    Anyway, you might want to read up on it for yourself. Fleas do not like the yeast odor, or whatever that comes out of the cats skin, so they don't hang around the cats.

    I sometimes empty a fish oil capsule into the mix, for their fur. Of course they love that as it is very fishy smelling.

    I think Willow and Wilbur are adorable.


  5. I'm feeling itchy just reading this. Hope the kittens are soon rid of non-paying passengers>

  6. So sorry about the fleas! Here in
    Alabama they are a year round problem due to the humidity and rain. We have found that the vet is the best source for the drop-on medicine. It is expensive but works very well for a month. If you are interested I can give you the company we order from in Canada that is cheaper. Also, it does take time for the med to work. I know how upset you are but sometimes things like this are a fact of life in rural areas. We decided long ago that we would do whatever it took to kill the fleas as we can't part with our cats. Also Sevin dust is good and will not harm the animals. We use that in the garage.

  7. Fleas are strange creatures ... cat ones will bite humans if desperate but not live on them.We see little of them since we have been up here and have stopped any real problem in it tracks. We use the 'back of neck stuff' but it takes a while for them all to die. I believe they cant reproduce so the cycle is terminated. I also get a can of spray from the vet and attack the carpet and rugs if I'm worried and thats the end of them ... I have had to do it once every 2 years ish where as when we lived in England we had problems every 3-6 months.Willow is highly allergic to English fleas ...only needed 1 bite ...was almost bald when we moved ...a naked tail with a pom pom at the end ...nasty for a long haired (LOL) but within 6 months of living here she had a thick coat again.She is the only one we dared to wash as they really need to be submerged....and ours have sharpe claws!!!
    I hope your visitors all disappear soon. xx

  8. This has been a horrible year for fleas in Georgia, our bug man who sprays us 4x a year for regular pests has had to make a couple of extra visits to deal with fleas. We treat the cat but we still have problems, I'll be glad when fall comes.

  9. fact of life isnt it? if you have pets at one time or another this will happen. Being thorough in your response normally shifts them.

    In the Uk- I gave up using frontline as it just doesnt work on the cats. Instead I use Advantage. However, Merlin and Finn react to that one so they have Advocat. it all very complicated- but necessary.

    Leanne x

    lol... my verification word is masses

  10. That would be hard to come from a place like this where you don't have to worry about fleas and then finding some. I was itching as I was reading this! Good luck getting rid of them. How nice of G to help you :)
    By the way....the peonies in my last post.....were fake! Mine have been gone for 2 months now :(

  11. I'm itching here too! ;-) Glad you're on the trail of those little beasts! Fleas and flies could have been two creatures that Noah did without! When we purchased our two little farm cats as 8 week olds a few weeka ago, they had been given Frontline and, so far, thankfully I haven't see a single flea on them. Thanks, FlowerLady, for the tips - I'll have to try that.

  12. Hey MM...I have bought every flea product out there for my Maltese and it seems nothing works, now I think maybe it's not the products but just a flea plague! XO