Tuesday, February 7, 2012

how do you get rid of fleas?

We had been seeing tiny red dots on the bathroom sink for almost two weeks.  I looked at Niko’s paws on Friday afternoon for about the fifth time in as many days trying to find some sign of injury.  He loves to lay in the cool sink and on the counter so I suspected he had something to do with the red dots. 

big Niko
As I was examining the soft pads on his paws, something on the top of his paw caught my eye.  A tiny brown fleck wiggled and writhed its way back inside Niko’s fur as quickly as he flashed himself to me.  I dug around in the fluffy white fur for a moment before giving up and going to the other front paw.  A similar scene.  A skinny, shiny brown bug quickly wiggling its way back into the massive amounts of white fur.  I tried to grab it with my fingertips but the damn thing was just too small and speedy.

I texted R at work, saying “I think Niko has fleas,” and explained what had just happened.  Moments later, I was hard at work googling everything I could about “tiny red dots on sink” and “fleas on cats.”  Within moments, I knew that my poor boy had fleas.

This came as a pretty devastating and confusing revelation, considering that Niko has never even been outside since he has lived with us (about 3.5 years now).  We’ve had Sylvie even longer, closer to 7.5 years.  No fleas. 

So we went by the vet’s office early Saturday to pick up some medication, as everyone online said that the kind sold by the vet was better than supermarket types.  As soon as R mentioned the tiny red dots on the counter, the vet confirmed once again that it was due to fleas and said that they are exceptionally problematic right now.  I'd say.

Wanna hear something disgusting?  Sure you do.

Fleas eat blood.  Because they eat blood, their poop consists mostly of… you guessed it, blood.  It is black and flaky looking, until it gets wet.  At that point, it turns bright red…like?  Blood.  So that’s why we had only been noticing the dots around the sink. About that time, I also noticed a few of them on the washing machine, another one of Niko’s favorite resting spots. 

little Sylvie

We asked the vet if we should treat Sylvie too, and he said most definitely we should. We got home and I grabbed the grooming comb and started running it through Sylvie’s fur.  Um. Sick.  With every stroke, more and more black flakes of flea poo accumulated on the comb.  Oh, and the occasional flea, jumping up and down like he was having a party right there on the comb.  Double sick.  I flicked them into the sink and ran the water to drown them.  A few minutes later when I walked by the sink, I’d see 3 or 4 hopping around.  They just climbed right back up the pipes and were trying to find their gracious hosts again. 

The jerks are hard to kill apparently. 

I combed Niko next and it was more of the same.  Black dots and jumpy jerks.  We got the kids down for a nap and got the cats bathed in their lovely flea dip.  Not a luxurious bath experience.  I’m surprised they didn’t wake up Theo, with his bedroom on the opposite side of the wall from the bathtub.  I figured while we were bathing the cats, we’d see a bazillion fleas climbing out of their fur to dry safety, but I really only saw a couple.  We got the cats dried off and later gave them their first Revolution treatments. I guess once you start treatments you can never stop. 

This is the first time we’ve had to deal with anything like this.  It’s really disturbing to me.  I know for every flea we’ve seen, there are many more that we haven’t and many more eggs hiding out.  We are in the process of cleaning everything in the house, but there are so many surfaces where these microscopic eggs could be waiting for the right time to hatch.  How do you ever really get rid of them?

Maybe I am overreacting.  Maybe it will be fine.  Right now it feels extremely overwhelming and disheartening.  I feel like we will never get rid of the pests and that our house will be taken over.  I have pictured foreclosing on our home as the fleas set up their own bedrooms and master closet.  I have started naming some of the fleas.  I have probably watched one too many episodes of Infested on Animal Planet

Have you seen this show? Ew. 

Whenever I think I'd prefer to be pet-free, I'm reminded of this.

I’m new at this flea thing and the mere thought of it sends me into a panic.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s freaking my freak right now.  I’ve been itching from head to toe since about 3 seconds after I realized we had fleas. Have you had to deal with fleas?  If so, how did you successfully get rid of them and how long did it take?  Please.  Do tell.

itchy in Indiana,

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