the Horror

On Friday afternoon I discovered the cats had fleas. That morning I’d gotten up and noticed black dirt like stuff where Loki had been sleeping at the end of the bed. I thought it was strange and made a mental note to check her over later to see if she’d gotten into anything.

It wasn’t until the husband told me Odin was shaking his head a lot before asking if we still had the medicated ear drops from the last time he got an ear infection that we discovered it wasn’t dirt. While applying the ear drops, we noticed black specks in his fur. At that point, suspicion dawned. A quick search on the internet led me to our culprit. Fleas. And that black “dirt” was flea dust. AKA flea poop.

We commenced de-fleaing procedures immediately. I ran to a store to buy flea shampoo and other things including a flea comb which confirmed our fears. The husband helped me bathe the cats and put on what we realized later was flea medication that expired two years ago. While this won’t hurt the cats, it does affect the efficacy of the ingredients. But neither the vet nor the maker can tell me by how much. So now we don’t even know if the medication is working.

As a result of the flea incident, I got nothing of what I’d hoped to accomplish done this weekend. Instead, I did all of the laundry. Sooo many loads. And vacuumed. The entire house. Twice.

I bought a flea trap and caught a couple fleas. That led to us to vacuuming and re-spraying the flea killing stuff on our furniture and carpet yet again.

We also started combing the cats for fleas. Of course, Loki turned into a hell cat because of the bath. The sounds she made were the type of thing that would make me quail in terror if heard out in the wild. This despite the fact that she normally loves being brushed. Odin just sat there and took it, making distressed sounds every so often.

Poor Odin had it worse because he also had to go to the vet because it had been over a year since his last visit and the vet couldn’t prescribe new flea medication until she saw him. It was quite traumatizing for him. He peed in his crate at one point which got on his fur. To top things off, I got a call yesterday saying his blood test was mislabeled and I needed to bring him in again on Friday.

Things are finally getting better though. Loki is enjoying her brush time. I’m no longer pulling off live fleas. Both cats have stopped scratching. However, this is a protracted battle that will last two to three months as the fleas move through their lifecycle.

Please wish me luck. This is quite honestly my worst nightmare. Only I thought it would be bedbugs that would get us. Not fleas on my indoor only cats.


Responses to “the Horror”

  1. Mary Cruickshank Peed Avatar
    Mary Cruickshank Peed

    Oh man. BTDT. 3 cats and 2 dogs. I’d rather bathe an entire preschool of toddlers. And good luck getting rid of the fleas. Hang in there.

  2. Linda Avatar

    One winter had a dog that slept around the floor vent, the warm air soothing to his own bones. I was a kid. He was an outside beastie that my dad let in due to freezing temps. All was well until the wall behind him came alive. Ticks, gazzillions marched up the wall.

  3. Val Wood Avatar
    Val Wood

    I know exactly how you feel. Currently going through this just now with my 2, all because my family couldn’t resist letting the neighbors cat in to play (wee cutie) First 2 attempts didn’t work so hopefully, throwing out 2 deep pile rugs and another top to bottom clean of the house has sorted it out. 😭

  4. Diane Avatar

    Trying being a teacher in an elementary classroom where you kneel close to students and end up with head lice! Still gives me nightmares!

  5. Monica Avatar

    Oh I feel your pain. They have been terrible here this year. The dog brought them in twice which isn’t usually a problem. She’s treated but we added an abandoned kitten to the family.
    First time found them on her at 7wks old, and had to wait to treated at 8wks. That was a long week. She’s a spicy kitten so bathing/combing/holding was fun. She’s now happy & healthy at 4 months. Still spicy.

  6. Ness Avatar

    We had a similar situation recently with our poor pup. You might already know all the following, but we always did liquid and collar preventatives previously, and I hadn’t realized there are oral medications now, so I wanted to share our recent experience in case helpful to you. We talked through options with the vet, and got a monthly oral medication for flea/tick (Credelio as a trial, then we just went with Bravecto one-month for now on a friend’s recommendation, though other friends have recommended Simparica; seems like there are several for dogs that are well respected). The downside is that the oral medication doesn’t prevent the fleas & ticks from bothering the dog (but the previous preventative she had wasn’t actually preventing anyway…), but once they bite her they die before they can reproduce. The vet also mentioned that Capstar is another oral that starts killing fleas very quickly for an active infestation. I went a little crazy in the house vacuuming and shaking diatomaceous earth (food grade, purchased at local health foods store, though I think it’s available at feed stores too, and online, of course) everywhere, including rubbing into the dog’s fur as an extra preventative (she wasn’t bothered by it, and it’s safe, just avoid you or the animal breathing in the fine particulates). The microscopic sharp edges cut into the fleas (and other pests), and I think even their eggs/larva. With a very thorough bath, the oral medication, and the craziness with the vacuum and the diatomaceous earth, we’ve not had any house flea sightings since discovery, just a couple sightings of dying fleas that bit the poor pup outside and hadn’t completed died before I snatched them (dying, so way slower, but no less icky) off our thin-furred white pup on sight. I know you’re talking cats, not dogs, but I think they make similar meds for cats, so I wanted to pass that along, and how effective we found diatomaceous earth. Good luck!!

  7. kelly wilson Avatar
    kelly wilson

    If you used a expired topical, you can put on a flea collar as secondary treatment;different methods of release.Good luck and patience in your battle of the fleas .I also fear bedbugs they are harder to get rid of then fleas.

  8. Madeleine Avatar

    Oh man, commiserations!!! I have a cat that LOATHES going to the vet so I can only imagine. She’s so bad my vet gave me a bottle of pills that I give her before a visit to calm her down. Otherwise the vets can’t even touch her. Maybe ask your vet for something similar?

    Gah! There should be some kind of certificate of survival or medal for pet parents that survive the dreaded tick or flea battle.

  9. Alanna Avatar

    Not the same, but I had poison ivy two summers ago, so I absolutely relate to the washing, laundering, and glaring at anything and everything in home for the potential at being contaminated. Also, fun note, you can be allergic to an allergic reaction. (Who knew?!)
    Since it is a delayed reaction, it could be anywhere.
    It sucked. Fleas suck.
    I wish you the best of recoveries, and the cats doubly! Also, if you get bites, jewelweed salve is a lifesaver.
    You have this!

  10. ElizabethN Avatar

    We went through this a couple if years ago with all of our indoor only cats. Not a happy time for the cats or us. And expensive but zoetis revolution rewards helped with part of the cost.

  11. Cheryl Avatar

    Fleas ugh, so gross! I live in Florida, inside animals manage to get fleas a lot. This product works great as long as you follow the directions. Use this, you put it down like once a year, and vacuum it up. It’s the best. Cheweys has it- Fleabusters RX for Fleas Plus Powder,

  12. Elisabeth Avatar

    We used to constantly battle fleas on our 3 dogs, years of constant fleas no matter what we tried. When we moved to a different state we got a new vet and brought it up to them, since on of our dogs has a bald back caused by him chewing so much, and they started the dogs on a medicated flea chew. We’ve been flea free for a year now, so I suggest asking a vet about oral flea preventatives.

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