Pet Mommy

Sunday, 12 June 2011

I had a taste of what it must sort-of feel like to be a mother this morning. I'm sure it doesn't really compare to being the mother of a child but bear with me...

Friday night, I noticed Lily scratching and grooming more than usual. I Googled "fleas" and read that cats that go outdoors get fleas (duh). Lily and Violet now go outdoors with me when I'm gardening or doing yard work but since they've always been indoor cats, I don't treat them for fleas.

Apparently one of the clues that shows that fleas are in the mix are tiny black droppings at the base of the fur. I found such droppings on Lily and freaked out. Quickly, I logged on and ordered a three month supply of Frontline for both cats. Satisfied, I got ready for work the next day and went to bed.

Saturday night both cats were scratching like crazy and Violet has been pulling her fur out more than usual (she does that, I don't know why). I laid down on the living room floor with them and was close to tears. Why didn't I go to the vet on Saturday? Why didn't I get something for the girls that would fight the fleas right away? It could be that I am a horrible mother.

So, consulting Google again, I searched "home remedies for fleas." One writer suggested a spray bottle with white vinegar and water and then a mist of the mixture on the cats. I didn't have a spray bottle so I mixed the liquids and dipped a paper towel in and used it to wipe their fur. Of course they both began licking themselves like crazy, furious that I would even DARE to touch them with anything foreign. Lily seemed to stop scratching as much over the next hour but she was grooming like crazy. I also got up around that time and washed all the bedding and towels in hot water and vacuumed. This was at one o'clock in the morning but I was grossed out thinking about fleas.

This morning, I was awakened by the worst sound. Lily was wheezing/hacking, likely trying to loosen a hair ball but I froze in terror. Was she having a seizure? Was she able to breathe? Was she having a bad allergic reaction to the vinegar/water flea remedy? Violet was actually sitting next to her on the bed staring at her and sniffing in her direction, also visibly alarmed. The hacking went on for a good three minutes and she did it twice more over the next hour while I watched helplessly. She was hunched over, looking so miserable.

I have to go to work but I'd much rather stay home and keep an eye on Lily. She has been clingy today but I raced out to get flea collars and both cats seem to be much more comfortable now that they've had them on for a couple of hours. Lily has not been gagging anymore. Thank goodness.

Being a parent is hard work. Note: that statement was tongue-in-cheek because I know I have it coming 10 fold with actual children... 

1 comment

Crystal Young said...

I don't know why I managed to have two of the most sensitive dogs in the world but both of my dogs had reactions to the drop on flea treatments. Every brand-even the environmentally friendly ones. It caused large whelps on their backs exactly where I put the drops. And they never got rid of the fleas. I was distraught. I had bites up to my knees from them being on the floor and I'd had enough.

With Munch I eventually found out there is a pill that does both heart worm medicine and flea treatment. (I think it is available for cats too.) It's a once a month treatment. It gives him a tender tummy the day he gets the medicine but he has been flea free for two years.

Once they get in your house and if you start noticing bites on your ankles that really, really itch then you should call an exterminator. I have tried every remedy on every website I can find but there was only one treatment that worked and I had to call someone to come do it. It was miserable. The vaccuum cleaner entices the eggs to hatch, as does walking on the floor.

In the mean time, give them a bath with dish soap. If you want to see how bad the problem is inside the house set a small bowl with water and a little dish soap on the floor. Put a desk lamp directly over it. They jump for the light and fall in the water. The dish soap keeps them there. Then you'll have some idea of how bad they are in the house.

The eggs can hold off on hatching for up to 7 months if there are no vibrations suggesting a meal, which means they were probably in your house when you bought it. A flea problem isn't something they have to tell you about when they sell you the house.

They usually don't have huge flea problems in the north because the winter lasts longer than 7 months but in the south where winter only lasts 2-4 months at best, you can't count on that helping.

And if your neighbors don't keep up their yards it can be a nightmare trying to stay rid of them. I don't say this to scare the bejesus out of you but fleas are the worst thing I have had to deal with - and I've been barfed on . . . twice.