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Monday, August 30, 2010

Blood-Sucking, High-Hopping Freaks

(Alternate Title = "Banished!")

No, this is not a post about True Blood, Twilight, or any other vampires...per se...

Somehow, my indoor cat ended up with fleas. It's probably my fault for letting her out on the balcony occasionally, but maybe I can still blame the downstairs neighbors' little rat-dog (who is actually pretty darned cute). Of course, since fleas jump 5-6 ft, and I actually do leave my house from time to time, I might have brought these pesky suckers (literally) home myself.

I didn't have a clue that the cat had fleas until the other day, when I was reading an article about the recent increase in bedbugs across the US. Looking at the photos of the bites shown online, I thought maybe that's what was wrong with my face, which I just thought had been breaking out semi-subtly. While checking the head of the bed (where my cat tends to sleep near/on or around my head and face) for signs of bed bug invasion, I noticed something I hadn't seen since my old cat Merlyn...disgusting flea dirt! I'm actually glad it wasn't bed bugs, because they seem near impossible to get rid of.

After stripping and washing the bed linens, followed with a nice hot spin in the dryer (for the linens, not me), I banished the cat from the bedroom for the time being. I picked up a flea & tick comb and gave Gracie a good once (or 15-time) over, and yes, did rid some actual fleas from her, as well as their leavings. Poor kitty! I was amazed that she actually let me do it. Usually she starts attacking any brushes/combs on the third or fourth stroke.

I went to vacuum and found that my 5yr old cleaner wasn't having it. It now sucks up most of the dirt/debris/cat litter off of the carpet, then redeposits it in a tidy little stripe of concentrated crap in it's wake. Instead of figuring out where to take it for repair, and how much it would cost me (the vacuum was a gift, so it was free) I decided to run out and buy a cheap, well-rated vacuum to use for the infestation, and if it doesn't last long, at least it was cheap!

I don't like using harsh chemicals in my house, and really don't want to use spot treatments, bug bombs or even a flea collar on Gracie. Considering the warnings online and even on all of the packaging, which simply makes me think of Happy Fun Ball (do not taunt the flea collar), I would prefer to fight these little suckers in the most natural way possible. I did buy a flea collar, because I read somewhere that if you put a piece of one in your vacuum bag, it will keep the eggs from hatching. I haven't used it yet though, since I don't know if it would just blow the chemical residue into the air.

Ugh. Any suggestions? I'm thinking about using food grade diatomaceous earth in the carpet and upholstery, but will probably have to buy it online. For now, I'm off to comb the vermin out of the cat's fur...


Fluffycat said...

My vet recommends something called "Revolution." Good to see Gracie is looking as cute as ever. I'm glad we haven't had a flea situation, though I have gotten weird bug bites on my arm.

Moriah said...

We use Revolution on Scarlett. Its a monthly medication that you put on in between the shoulder blades. It also works for ticks and heartworm.