Friday, October 16, 2009

From now on, my houseguests will be wearing Frontline collars while they enjoy my cheese and cracker spread

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.


Buggys said...

I'm with you on burning the house down! I have had crickets in my house for 2 months (the only reason to be glad it's getting cold) I even found one jumping across my bed!
I say bomb the joint!

tootertotz said...

Good luck with the flea-busting! I feel your pain. We count down to the minute each month that we can douse the dogs in their frontline medicine.

We had an extraordinarily hot summer and here that equals ticks on our dogs. I am a tick killing maniac! I see even one on the dogs and I am a machine. Hunting the house night and day for any trace of a tick on floors, carpets, floorboards, walls, people. We do 'tick checks' multiple times a day on our little Bug.

In fact, just yesterday... I called the home builders who are responsible for the empty lot next to our house. I ranted into their voicemail about the importance of mowing the damn lot more often in order to keep tick infestation to a minimum and no longer provide a place where small children can go missing in the weeds.

Needless to say, haven't heard a mower out there yet.

mannequin said...

A little prayer for you.
I'm sorry sweetie but nothin beats MY flea incident.
The little stray kitten was bathed and never went outside. She slept on my son's pillow each night, and never once sucked the life out of him.
BUT, when I took my son to get his haircut, the stylist came running out and said (in her biggest hairdo voice) "honey, your boy's got fleas."

I had a freakin meltdown in the car, just like you're having now.
I can tell you from experience though; prayer does not kill fleas.

Stacie said...

K, here's what you do.

1 - Get some Advantage for your cats (that stuff works wonders).


2 - Use a bug bomb for the house as it will spiders, bugs, fleas, etc.

Stacie said...

"kill". I forgot the word in my comment.

Elle said...

OMG! I feel your flea pain. It can happen to anyone that has pets. Here's what you do, go to the store and buy a box of powdered Borax, it's in the laundry section. Before you go to bed sprinkle this on your carpets and leave it overnight. Then in the morning before Junior gets up, vac it all up really well. This is supposed to dry out the fleas and their eggs so they die and it's not as toxic as a flea bomb. You might need to do this a couple times depending on how bad it is. I did this a few years ago when our lovely pets had fleas and it worked.

Suzi said...

Just wait til Junior brings home lice. It is way worse than fleas. WAY WORSE!

♥Trina♥ said...

We've had flea problems this year with our dogs. We've never had problems before, but let us go one stinking day beyond their dosing, and BAM! Bama starts flopping on his back rolling around on the carpet scratching. FORTUNATELY, we haven't had any bites, and we haven't had a major problem with them all over the house. I think we're getting to them quickly enough that they are dying before they have time to do the horizontal flea mombo.

Anne said...

Oh my gosh, fleas! How horrifying. Although I think I would be concerned that I might have invited someone into my house who had fleas. That's what happens when you start to feel to comfortable in Mulletville :).

Joanie M said...

I just bought something that I can spray on my carpets, and furniture to get rid of fleas. I thought I'd have to fog the house, but this might work. I also got flea stuff for the cats.

Mad Woman said...

oh we went through the flea thing, I wanted to torch the place too!

Good luck!

Shana said...

We didn't know our dog had fleas until we had to give him to my dad because he killed the neighbors chickens...oops. Then we started getting covered by them. I guess they were looking for their host. But we have been battling them like crazy. Powders in the carpet, spray on the upholstery, took the area rug outside and soaked it with spray. We are getting one here or there but not like we were and we just keep vacuuming and spraying. Good luck.

Pricilla said...

I was infested once and that was enough....

The Mother said...

The last time I had a flea infestation, I solved it by--MOVING.

After six months of fighting it.

Luckily, we were moving anyway. EVERYTHING got washed in hot water at the old house before it was moved. The furniture got sprayed down with chemicals. The pets went to the vet for a dip.

The exterminators sprayed my whole house with insect growth hormone regulator before a single piece of furniture arrived; repeat every three months.

And every pet gets that goopy flea preventative the vet sells once a month.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

My parents had the same problem! They couldn't get rid of them all summer. Finally they bombed the house and did a REALLY thorough cleaning and they are now gone.

Good luck, fleas SUCK!

Thyra G said...

When my daughter was about 5 months old, I was changing her diaper on my bed. As I finished, I looked and there was a flea running right across her cheek AND AT THE SAME TIME I looked and saw a tick taking a leisurely stroll across my comforter as well. My cat almost became a muff at that point.

Angheiz said...

We had a problem with fleas last summer. Quinn had nasty sores all over her legs. Once her pediatrician smacked me in the face for wasting his time with my google diagnosis of leprosy, we discovered the fleas. I thought the hubs had treated the dogs. The hubs got distracted by a penlight laser. Much like a cat. It took three treatments from Orkin, 14 days of two vacuums a day (with baking soda in the vacuum bag to kill them), and a quick boot in the ass to the dogs.

Keely said...

Seems like another fantastic reason NOT to have a cat, to me.

blueviolet said...

After we got married, we moved into an apartment with hardwood floors and no pets and we had fleas!

Gina said...

Oh man, do I feel your pain. I have been through fleas, pantry moths, fruit flies and...GASP...lice. Only one of those was worse than fleas. You can probably guess which one.

FoN said...

I feel your pain. I had a lice problem (stupid daycare) this time last year and after a week of cleaning, freezing everything we own and head shaving, I was still itchy. I'll pray for you.

Frogs in my formula said...

Thanks for all the sympathy/empathy, everyone. I'm so grossed out I want to puke.

Julia said...

I have one word. Advantage! Get it! Use it! After it is on your cats any fleas that bit the furry beasts will die and that will be the end of the problem.

But I love cats... Sorry yours aren't quite working out for you. Heh heh.

Dto3 said...

Have I mentioned just how happy I am that Mulletville is far, far away from Texas?

Sara said...

Fleas are no fun.

I'd make it a multi-prong attack. Give the cats Capstar (this is a pill that is like a sonic boom for fleas. It kills all the fleas on the cat pretty much immediately) Second, apply Frontline (as you know it works when the flea bites the cat.) Flea powder (toss some in your vacuum to kill the fleas you vacuum up.) I've had five cats, two dogs and two rabbits in the house at once and never had an infestation. My one kitty is allergic to fleas, so if one is so much anywhere, his skin reacts. Frontline really works well.

kyooty said...

on the plus side you don't have silver fish or earwigs

Lindy said...

Wrinkled and gray at 48?!?! I'm screwed.

Good luck with the bugs. :)

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Okay, once you get over the initial shock, it will get easier. Really, fleas are not that big of a deal. It's not like you run a drug den with a dozen pit bulls and rottweilers and feed them month-old hot dogs.

You don't, do you? Please say no.

You'd be surprised how easy it is to get all these common things. My kids have never had lice, but it happened to me as a kid and it happens to everyone. And, this summer I was CONVINCED I had bed bugs (turned out I didn't) but you can get them from any hotel, not just sleazy ones.

You can do the bomb thing, but really if you just get Frontline for your cats, the fleas will take care of themselves in about a week. They'll bite your cats then naturally die off and sterilize themselves. Bombs are kinda a pain. (My cat in college got fleas the same way yours did).

Not that you want to publicize it to all your friends, but I bet the more people you talk to, you'll find more people who have had fleas in their house, or roaches, or ants, or lice, or whatever. We can't escape it!!!! Insects outnumber us like a thousand to one!!!!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

My head started to itch reading this post...I hate fleas! Our dogs didn't have them all summer - until after one particularly hot day when the damn neighbor dog was in our yard and his flea buddies jumped to cushier territory. Frontline works the best to get rid of them off the pets.

When I was still in my crib, my earliest childhood memory was waking up and screaming because there were little black things crawling/hopping around on me and in my crib. Turns out my parents had some friends who brought a flea-infested sheep dog over to our house, and naturally the fleas thought it was great place to move to. They banned all outside pets from our house after that freakish incident.


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