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Friday, July 16, 2021

Freaky Friday

TBT:  No, not Flashback Friday this week,  "Freaky Friday".  Or maybe I should say "Flea-y Friday".  I am a bit distressed.

Yes, we ALL have fleas!  I even found one on ME.  I don't know quite how it happened.  I haven't found a flea on any of The Mews for 20 years.  Maybe it is perfect weather for fleas and the squirrels or possums brought them into the yard, shedding some all over.  I comb The Mews for fur mats regularly (Marley mostly; Ayla and Laz have thinner fur) but I look at the fur and hadn't seen any previously.

I DID notice Marley seemed to have more "grit" in his furs recently, and I dipped some of it in water.  Flea specks (feces) turn red when exposed to still water and they didn't. The water turned a pale brown, but I took that to mean it was fine-grained dirt and bark dust.  And it may have been.  

But I had also noticed that Ayla small little scabs at the base of her tail.  Laz had no grit or scabs...

If you don't have a flea comb, you should.  And I will mention mine has 2 sides with the teeth spaced a little farther apart on one side than the other.  I can't take a good picture of it or find one.

I use the wider-spaced side dematting Marley's fur (it pulls on him less so he tolerates it longer).  That may have been a mistake.

It started a week ago.  Marley was on my lap and I saw a tiny movement.  It hid before I could pick it off.  It confused me a bit.  Pictures of fleas show them as brown and this thing was black.  And smaller than I remembered a flea being.

Cat flea? - Ctenocephalides felis - BugGuide.Net

But I also found this one...

Difference Between Dog And Cat Fleas - toxoplasmosis

But I went through his furs and saw 2 more moving.  I went all through his furs with the closer-toothed side of the comb and caught 2.  Oh DAMN!

So I went straight to the internet and researched flea removal products.  Some seemed barely effectual, some had comments from owners about their cats running around crazy after an injection, powders seemed harmful when licked off (and The Mews are thorough groomers), and it is hard for one person to bathe a cat.  

The best bet seemed to be the newest generation of collars.  They got the fewest negative comments at 2 cat health sites (not obviously connected to a brand).  It's not like I would go to a company site and ask if the product was good, LOL!

So I ordered 3 Seresto Flea collars...  This is not an ad.  It's just what I decided on.  You may choose a different one for good reasons.

So I put them on Wednesday night.  I left them loose, as I wasn't sure how they would react to collars.  Marley arrived here wearing a standard (pressure-release) collar.  Ayla and Laz did not.  So I kept them all inside yesterday to make sure they would keep them on.  Well, it would be a lot easier to find a removed one in the house than outside.  And the flea collars cost $54 each and I sure didn't want them to  get lost after a day or two!

Fortunately, none of The Mews seem to be objecting to the collars.  I would like to keep them inside another day to be sure they will keep them on.  

Marley can stay in or go out usually, he doesn't much care either way these days.  Ayla has liked going out more the past few months, but only on the deck.  She is about as happy being on windowsills and looking out.  

Laz is going nuts though!  He loves to go outside.  He is talkative (even for a Siamese).   In fact, he is a bit of a whiner (sorry, Laz).  He did not stop complaining all day Thursday!  I swear, he was grumbling about it even while he ate.  It was like having a colicky baby.

Two things Laz DOES understand (among many, but I mean relevant to the "staying-in" part) is dark and rain.  He seems to understand that none of us go out in the dark and he doesn't WANT to go out in the rain (sensible mancat).

Oh what I would give for a rainy day tomorrow!  But apparently, it won't be one.  I may have to let him out.  I'm not sure I could stand another day of crying to go out, possible loss of collar or not.

But there is GOOD news!  Yesterday, Marley was on the newspaper I was TRYING to read (he LOVES getting in my line of sight) while I ate dinner, and 2 fleas just fell right OFF him.  Newspaper is good for seeing that.  The fleas are black, the paper is mostly white.  They wobbled around a bit, obviously unhappy and struggling.  I got a tweezer and crushed them (they are darn hard to kill).   

BTW, I've found 3 other good ways are using needlenose pliers, folded sandpaper rubbed together, and holding the tweezers to a bic lighter ( flick will do).  I don't feel a lot of sympathies for fleas.

I found 2 dead fleas on the platform where Marley and Laz nap.  Two were dead, one was moving in a circle (so I killed it).  I was running my fingers through Ayla's fur and found 2 dead fleas.  

I wasn't sure Laz had any.  No scratching, no bumps, nothing in the flea comb.  But he doesn't sit on my lap and he still doesn't like being handled.  But he does sometimes come up on the table.  I was scritching him over the newspaper and one fell off alive.  I tweezered it.  But it confirmed that he had some too.

So they are all being treated.  Later today, I start a daily vacuuming regimen.  Simple stick vacuum on all the wood floors, rugbeater cannister on the carpets and the cat trees (I found 2 there using a magnifying glass),  and I'll take out the old flea trap later today.  The flea trap is a low heat light set above sticky tape.  The fleas think it is a cat, jump, and get stuck.  Sort of like a roach motel for fleas.  I've never caught any with it before, but I bet I will now!

Not exactly like this, but the same idea...

Sticky Flea Trap Dome Flea Bed Bug Trap with 2 Glue Discs, Odorless Flea Killer Trap Pad, Flea Trap Light Children and Pets Friendly,


The stick vacuum is easy to empty (and I'll do it outside because some bits fall out as you empty the container).  The cannister vacuum takes more time and bags cost money, but I will buy standard old flea powder to sprinkle in a new bag.  The only place THAT bag will go in to the landfill and I compost and recycle so much that a small paper bag and one of used cat litter is almost a week's "trash" for me.  And I doubt any fleas will find anything to feed on in a landfill.  :)

Another thing to do is put everything in a closed clear plastic bag and set it outside in the sun for a day.  That will cook anything in it.

The flea *I* got was from the platform Marley had slept on.  I was examaning it and rubbing all the loose fur off and one fleas jumped on my wrist.  It was it's last jump.

I discovered some surprising facts about fleas.  First, I thought they were specific to individual species.  They are generalists.  I may have been thinking of lice.  Second, they can live away from animals for up to a year.  My older "understanding" was that they could only live a month.  Maybe that is way modern medications are designed to last up to 8 months of "slow release" lethality and repellent.

I basically dislike chemical treatments.  My yard is basically organic.  But as I WILL use an herbicide on poison ivy, I will accept the benefits of a flea-killing chemical that doesn't SEEM to harm mammals. And hopefully, this is a one time (though for months) requirement.

Comments about flea-control are welcome.  If you have a longer thoughts, I would like an email for the fullness of it.  I always want information and the experiences of others.

marksmews2118 AT verizon DOT net