Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This is my kitty.  You all have seen her before.  She's been scratching a lot lately, and everywhere she lays for any length of time there is a black dandruff when she gets up.  I thought it looked ominously like flea dirt, but just knew that couldn't be right.  She's an indoor cat 24/7, 365.  She's been outside a few times.  In a cat carrier on her way to the car.  B and I walked her on a leash when we were making the trek to Texas so she could stretch her legs and have the opportunity to go potty, if the mood struck her.  She's never had fleas before.  N-E-V-E-R!  So I just knew my baby didn't have fleas.

Well, she does.

Apparently they have come in from outside just to find her.  The strangest part of it is, B and I haven't been bit or seen them.  I am irrefutable proof that vampires do not exist, because anything and everything that sucks blood loves me.  I can be sitting in the midst of a group of people, none of whom are getting bitten by anything, and I'll have a swarm of blood sucking creatures flocking around me like a Thanksgiving Day buffet.  I've had what I thought were a few bug bites, but just a few.  B hasn't had any.  This is most unusual since he has the same problem of being tasty to blood-suckers as I do.  But because of the scratching and the appearance of what I was certain just could not be flea dirt no matter how much it looked like flea dirt, I decided that L'il Bit must have a bath.

She is *such* a good girl.  I've said that on here before, and I will say it over and over.  She doesn't like baths very much, but she tolerates them, and no matter how much she probably wants to scratch, she barely lays the tips of those wickedly sharp talons against my skin.  She doesn't even leave marks.  She just cries and tries halfheartedly to get out of the water.  She props her forefeet up on the edge of the tub or my arm and just tugs a little.  I've bathed many animals over the years and quite a few cats. She is far and away the best behaved cat in a bath I've ever had.

When I got her out of the tub and cuddled her in a towel to dry, I rolled her onto her back to check her white belly.  She isn't crawling with a massive infestation, but there they were.  Great big ole nasty fleas chewing on my baby.  I didn't wash her with anything special today, because I didn't know for sure she had fleas, but today begins the regimen.  I'm going to try to get her to eat a little garlic every day.  I'll probably sprinkle some in her food bowl since I don't currently have any tablets.  It changes the make up of the oils in their skin, and supposedly makes them less tasty.  I honestly have no documented proof that it works, but I've used garlic in combination with other home remedies for deterring fleas, and until now she's never had any, so I believe that speaks for something.

Citrus oil is supposed to be good for getting rid of all kinds of adult insects, because it's a gentle acid that won't harm pets, furniture, floors, or children, but it's persistent.  It destroys the shell on insects, causing them to die.  So, I peeled the last three oranges, cut the peels into small bits and simmered it for about 30 minutes to get as much of the oil out as I could. The resulting citrus oil solution got sprayed over every exposed inch of hard flooring in the house.  This is unfortunate, because I *just* mopped yesterday, and now my floors are all sticky-ish.  It's not a bad sticky, but it's sticky.  *sigh*  I am also out of oranges, and pack rat that I usually am, I didn't save the peels from all the oranges I've cooked with lately.  Grrrr... this is why I generally never throw potentially useful stuff away!

I've sprinkled Borax over all the rugs.  I don't know precisely why this is supposed to be helpful, but it was recommended on multiple sites.  It was recommended as a deterrent, and to kill adult fleas.
Now my biggest worry is the quilts.  I can wash my store bought comforter in the washer with hot water.  If it messes it up or makes the colors bleed, c'est la vie.  But I don't want to ruin my quilts.  I think that maybe one of the reasons we haven't been getting bitten more is because of the quilts, actually.  I've stored them in cedar for years.  The bedroom smells faintly of cedar whenever I change the bedding out.  Or it did... until recently.  See we have a linen closet here, so I didn't see any need to store the bedding downstairs in the cedar chest (which I currently use as an entry bench).  But now I am thinking that I may have to supersede convenience with practicality.  Cedar is supposed to be really repellent to bugs.  I haven't got a clue why, but I am certain it works, because I've lived places where moths ate highways through the stuff in my closets, but nothing ever bothered the stuff in the cedar chest.  So... I reckon I'm going to have to rethink my storage.

B saved the cedar sawdust from building our desks, too.  It's damp, because someone left it out when they got something out of the storage shed and it rained, but I think I can spread it out in the sun to dry.  Once it's dry, I'm going to spread cedar shavings between the mattresses and under the foam topper.  Maybe that'll help keep them from nesting in our bed and bedding.  Katie is mailing me some flea drops, too.  She said they worked well for her cats, and she had a couple doses left over.  L'il Bit is sensitive to that sort of stuff.  I put some flea medicine on my cats once after a move as a preventative measure, because the people who lived in the house before us had an indoor/outdoor dog.  L'il Bit and her mom both got violently ill.  It scared me pretty bad.  My other cats didn't seem bothered by it, other than not liking the damp spot between their shoulder blades, but I haven't ever used chemical flea treatments since.  But I'm going to try this stuff and see if it works without making her ill.  If it does, I may convert back to chemical treatments periodically since the house isn't sealed well enough to keep the fleas from coming after her.

I just absolutely DESPISE fleas....


  1. we had just a horrible bout of fleas summer of 2010. We used Advantix on our dog, bathed him often in flea products, sprayed the yard and the house, fed him garlic, vacuumed 1 or 2 times every day, put a flea collar on him - you name it, I tried it.
    I finally took him back to the vet and they gave us a pill that kills all fleas within 1 hour, then he starting taking Comfortis every month with his heart worm medicine.
    The Comfortis is expensive but it works. I do not know if it is safe for cats.

    Whatever you do, I hope you find a solution. Fleas are such a nuisance. They spread disease too.

  2. So far so good. Between this post and the drops arrived in the mail, I haven't seen a single flea. Not one! It seems citrus oil, dawn, and borax can work miracles. She still scratches a bit, but so far I haven't seen any more fleas on her. There's been no more flea dirt, either. :-D *happy dance*


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