I’ve had it. I’m on the verge of setting everything I own on fire and moving into an Alaskan igloo so Chuck, Junior and I can ice fish, make snow angles and whittle icicles in safe obscurity. I don’t care if I have to shiver my ass off. I don’t care if snot freezes inside our noses.
At least we’ll be safe. Safe from…
Yes, I have been vacuuming my house and spritzing my furniture with vinegar—while wearing my lovely ankle air cast—because our indoor cats have somehow managed to get fleas.
Are you wondering, like I, how an indoor animal could have possibly acquired such a grotesque parasite? According to the vet, it’s rather easy. All a cat has to do is sit in an open windowsill and wait for a hungry flea to hop by. Voila. Flea infestation. Or, if you let a flea-carrying human into your home, that flea can hop off his or her pant leg and right onto your pet.
The worst part of this experience is the paranoia. If we hadn’t gone to the vet for the routine check-up, we wouldn’t have even known the cats had them. I never even saw one! So now I have to wonder, is this the calm before the storm? Are we fated to wake up tomorrow and find 10 zillion hatched beastlings? What if I missed one with the vacuum and it’s maniacally laughing at me from behind the couch, where its boffing every flea it can find for the mere pleasure of overpopulating my living room?
And my poor mother! She spent the night recently and slept on the couch—the cats’ favorite perch. There she was, lying in the den of flea sin, unknowingly offering her succulent flesh to the miniature monsters. Have you ever had to call your mother to tell her you might have given her fleas? All night she called me: “I can’t stop scratching. I can’t stop thinking about them jumping around on my head.”
“Try some vinegar. Try some Dove dish soap,” I offered feebly. “I’m sorry we gave you fleas.”
I’ve never felt so white trash in my life. I think there might even be a redneck song about it.
Oh God. We are SO Mulletville.
I can’t lie: I’m ready to take the cats for a ride and never look back. I can’t stand cats. The only reason I have them is because eons ago, my downstairs neighbor brought two little kittens up to my apartment and asked if I wanted them. Stupidly I said yes. I must have been in the middle of a drunken hook-up that I really wanted to get back to. I have no other explanation for why I would have agreed to own two cats.
And now we’ve had them for six years and I hear they could live for as long as 20! I’ll be 48 by the time they kick the bucket. Wrinkled and gray-haired and still a cat owner!
Shoot me now.
I suppose you could argue that the cats have brought some joy to my life and fine, I’ll concede that sometimes I like to pet them or let them rub up against my leg. But to be perfectly honest, the obligatory cleaning of litter and making sure they have water and food and are brushed and not shut in closets really annoys me. I have enough on my plate for fuck’s sake.
Enough is enough!
Please, I’m begging you: Pray for us. Pray that we caught it early enough to avoid a cataclysmic outbreak. Pray that Chuck, Junior and I remain bite free. But most of all, pray for my mother. Because if she calls me one more time and gushes, “Oh, that vinegar added such sparkle to my hair! I’m going to use it once a month”—like this flea thing is the best thing that’s happened to her—I’m not going to give her directions to my igloo.
About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.