Monday, July 11, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Cats + Apartment - Fleas 

Blitzkrieg!

Jim and I have long decided that the flea situation in our apartment had to be dealt with. You're probably wondering how we have a flea problem seeing as how both our cats are strictly indoor cats. We noticed the problem start last summer (it abated in the winter so it's not like we put up with fleas for a full year or anything) and surmise that it could have been started with one of two things:

1. Fort's vist to the vet to get neutered (presumably the other animals being held at the vet's awaiting surgery passed the fleas on to him)

2. The mattress on our free futon (the lady that we got it from had a veritable menagerie which included an assortment of guinea pigs and three cats)

Unfortunately, a flea problem is not something that can be dealt with during a commercial break. For the uninitiated, dealing with a flea problem involves washing everything that can be placed in a washing machine, vacuuming all surfaces that lend themselves to be vacuumed and broadcast spraying of something that will most probably cause foetal defects.

Ahh. But that's just for the apartment. What about the cats? Well, after the apartment has been dealt with, just prior to the broadcast application of flea spray we have to flea spray the cats. (With a different spray, of course)

The instructions on the label made it seem easy enough: Covering your cat's eyes, apply spray to body and head until fur is damp (not wet) and use hands to rub spray into fur. So I ushered the cats into the bathroom while Jim was to take care of the broadcast spray. 10 minutes, a lot of blood (mine), two very angry cats and only two shots of flea spray dispensed on target later I was yelling at the bathroom door that it was most certainly a two person job.

15 minutes later, Jim and I conceded that it was probably a job for an experienced SWAT team, but seeing as how we didn't really have access to that, we bravely soldiered on.

See, cats really don't like to get wet. In fact, an effective deterrent to unwanted cat behaviour is a spray bottle filled with water. For example, if your cat is constantly jumping up onto your food prep surfaces and you think it's unsanitary, all you have to do is give them a few squirts from a spray bottle everytime you catch them and they'll stop jumping up on those surfaces when you're in the room. They'll still do it if they don't think you're in the room, but you get the idea. Adding to this mess of a situation is that the flea spray isn't exactly water-based. It's alcohol based, which means that the cats who have been scratching their bites are in for some stinging. Wow. Stinging wet action from a spray bottle. Whoever designed this stuff was NOT thinking about cats.

Oh, did I mention also that the spray was sticky after the alcohol evaporated?

Jim and I took turns restraining each cat while the other sprayed and rubbed. We each got a good idea of how sting-y this spray was because the cats were making damn sure that we had some raw areas too. Gato actually gave in after a brief fight and sulked in a corner, leaving us to deal with Fort. Based on yesterday's experiences, I'm prepared to say that Fort might just be the strongest cat in the world.

He broke two of his nails just clinging onto corners of cabinets and countertops. He managed to wriggle out of Jim's grips and grasps (not through clever manuvering but through brute force, mind) and his paw swipe was enough to knock the spray bottle out of my hand. Twice. Yesterday was also the first time Gato ever got to hear Fort growl. It was a long, low growl, pretty much the scariest thing I've heard all year (political speeches notwithstanding). In fact, it was so uncharacteristic of big-floppy-toy Fort that instead of cowering in her sulk corner she looked around and then approached Fort with a "Hey! No shit! Floppy toy boy can growl! Good for you buddy. Viva la resistance!". Great. Support for the rebellion.

Eventually we got the cats sprayed. We were so exhausted that neither of us thought to whip out the camera, which is a shame because they both looked like 80 punk rockers. It was the funniest thing in the world. Poor Fort was so traumatized by the experience that he hid under various bits of furniture for hours refusing to take treats from either Jim or I (he took some from Brian when he came over for dinner a little later). It was worth it though. Fort didn't scratch/groom himself all night. This stuff is working. I just hope that I'll never have to do it again.


posted by Joie! at 10:15 AM

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