Sunday, June 2, 2013

Run Away! Flea!

One of our house cats has been acting strangely lately... hanging out in parts of the house she usually doesn't, jumping up on things that she usually doesn't (like the entertainment center), getting under-foot uncharacteristically, sitting and staring on a cool tile floor in the middle of the kitchen or hall... being weird.   So this morning, Dr Desert Flower picked her up to see what's the matter with her, and to DDF's horror, found the cat's entire stomach crawling with fleas!   Pretty disgusting, yep.

Our cats never go outside, are always inside cats, and we've had very few visitors here in California.  But we do live on a corner, and everyone and their brother walks their dog on our block and around our corner, and the previous owners of the house used to have at least one (if not more) dogs...  so if the flea eggs were in the carpet, or on the sidewalk, they were now infesting our 16 year old cat.

Our morning was spent getting flea shampoo, expensive back-of-the-neck-applied Frontline flea medicine (we had a single dose of Oct2012 expired Revolution, that also kills heart worms, but DDF thought buying a new $50 pack of 3 month OTC Frontline was a good idea, and I don't disagree with her on biological issues), flea killer spray, vacuuming, washing blankets & sheets & rugs & comforters on the "sanitize" cycle, bathing cats, calming cats, gently blow drying cats (so they don't get pneumonia), bleach-wiping down all the dining room chair plastic covers where the cats have been sleeping lately, and trying to generally de-flea our home.  Neither DDF nor I have been bit by fleas here in California - when we lived in South Carolina back in the 90s our apartment became flea infested when the neighbor's dog had them and we shared a common entry way - I remember seeing the dern things jump from the carpet to my hairy legs in Greenville (ew!).

Flea (RHCP variety)
The washer is on it's third "sanitize" load now... with one more to go to complete the day (at 2 and a 1/2 hours per cycle).  The Frontline "plus" will continue for the rest of the spring and summer.  The nice Laguna Niguel pet store lady said that "in spring we see alot of people's inside pets getting fleas".  Same thing in South Carolina, where the winters were mild, there was grass and vegetation for the fleas to hide in, and lots of moisture.   In Arizona, it was far too dry, there was almost no grass (only rock) and most people didn't walk there dogs - keeping them penned up in their back yards or homes instead.

So when / if you come to visit us, don't worry.  You won't get fleas.  The Frontline Plus kills the fleas that bite the cats, and prevents the fleas from being able to lay eggs.  Eggs that hatch and try to feed on the cats will then die.  We'll have 95% of the infestation gone by tonight, and the remaining 5% will die out over the next week as the Frontline takes effect.  Then, at the beginning of July, we'll apply a 2nd dose to both cats, and a third at the beginning of August to get us through the summer with a three sigma confidence level of flea mortality.

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