Dog, Cat, Fleas–the saga continues…

It seems like we’re getting the flea issue under control.  I definitely think it helps to have hardwood and tile floors instead of carpet–there’s less place for fleas and larva and eggs to hide.

Two days ago, I went down to Campbell’s and purchased Biospot and Zodiac treatments for both animals (realizing my order for these products through the mail, while much cheaper in price, would also take awhile to get here).

I hate using these chemical treatments, but I also hate having the animals crawling with bugs and scratching/biting themselves to bits.  I also bought a flea comb and combed both animals (dipping the comb in a mild detergent solution to kill the fleas that were coming out) before applying the treatments.

Actually, the comb didn’t work so well on the very long haired cat, so I had to switch over to her brush.  It’s super-hard to get the tines of any comb or brush down to her skin level where the fleas like to hang out because her coat is so darn thick.

At least she likes being brushed–so I’m doing it pretty much every day now, which is some small comfort to her now that I won’t allow her in my bedroom or on my bed for our nightly petting sessions.  Most of the rest of the time she hangs out on the basement stairs or in the kitchen when she’s not trying to sneak in my room.

Yesterday, I dusted down the baseboards and corners of my bedroom with borax (of the 20 Mule Team variety), then swept it across the floor to cover all the cracks between the floorboards.  I let that sit for an hour or two, then vacuumed thoroughly.

The most effective flea control solution advised throughout the ‘nets is to simply vacuum everyday.  And then toss the bag–preferably wrapped in plastic to prevent live flea escape or flea egg hatching and re-infestation.

Since my “regular” vacuum is my little 8-gallon Shop Vac, and the bags for it are pretty darned expensive, this has resulted in lengthy and pet anxiety-provoking vacuuming sprees throughout the house as I try to both reduce fleas and get the most “bang” out of my vacuum bag purchasing buck.

And then the dog’s blanket has been getting washed every two days or so–which is anxiety-producing as well.  She sighs and waits in the kitchen and looks expectantly at me every time I emerge from the basement, waiting for her “blankie” to come back.

But today she got a special treat that made the absence of her blanket no longer an issue–along with the flea treatment, I finally ordered her a bed–something I’ve been planning to do for, oh, maybe two or three years now.  It is washable and filled with a combination of poly stuffing and cedar for its flea repellent properties.

Does this dog look anxious to you?

It didn’t take her long to get used to the additional comfort and support–she’s currently snoring luxuriously on top of it.  Now she’ll have support for her bad hip, and I won’t have to pick up the fuzzy bits from her blanket that get scattered across the living room every day.

The next big project is to deal with the carpets in the basement.  I seem to remember a commenter saying I wasn’t being very nice to force the kitty to remain upstairs after the initial basement access trial period–now I’m wishing I had never allowed her down there at all.

She found and hung out in every corner and carpeted area in every room down there, and I’m now going to have to move every box out of the bunker, every piece of furniture and stored item from the main room, and put it…where?  And sprinkle every inch with borax and vacuum all of it.

But I suppose it is getting to be time to clear out and recycle the cardboard box build-up and rearrange the main area for seed starting and figure out how I’m ever going to get my kayak down there (which is now sitting in the yard covered with snow and may have to stay that way).

The key, I suppose, is to see this massive cleaning and re-cleaning endeavor in a positive and progressive light–all this vacuuming and wiping down and laundering might not get done (at least to the extent it’s getting done) otherwise. In that frame of mind, I feel a bit more charitable toward the furry little carrier of this infestation.

Really, it’s good that, in the midst of final grading for my online classes and preparing presentations for various small farm and local food-related conferences, classes, and workshops, I’m also getting the physical exercise involved with all this cleaning that’s probably a lot better for me than just sitting here at the screen all day.

Well, back to the grading, I guess.  But, I haven’t washed the living room curtains yet…


3 responses to this post.

  1. I’m a bit behind on my blog reading and am reading in reverse chronological order, so I have not been following the saga. That said, I wondered if you have tried sprinkling with diamtomaceous earth? I’ve heard that’s helpful with fleas. Perhaps a two-pronged attack (chemicals and organic) might be in order?

  2. ok, i read on….disregard comment above 😉

  3. Posted by flyingtomato on December 19, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m doing at this point. And I told H he needs to make an appt to get the cat shaved and flea-dipped. Her fur is so thick, I can’t get to the fleas. But I know they’re in there–when I brush her all their crud comes out.

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