A Formidable Opponent

For the last 2 months, I have been battling an ever-increasing flea population in my apartment, due to Wednesday the Cat’s tendency to try to run out of the apartment every time I open the door, even though she’s an indoor cat. Over this period of time, I have come to the conclusion that fleas are terrible house guests. These tiny critters have been harassing and snacking on me and my furry friend, fornicating on my bathroom floor, laying their eggs on my furniture (including my bed), and hatching into gross-looking larvae who will grow up to repeat the process. Something had to be done.

The first flea I saw was in my bathroom, leaping around on the rug, probably confused about why it was furry but contained no blood. Never fear – my cat was sitting close by to provide a nutritious flea breakfast. After I saw this first intruder, I applied a tube of flea repellent to Wednesday’s back. I saw no evidence of flea activity for a couple of weeks, but then I started seeing little black and white specks on some of the furniture. I was uncertain as to what it was, but I had my suspicions, so I Googled “flea eggs.” Sure enough, they were described as black and white specks that resembled salt and pepper – the eggs were white and the black stuff was dried blood for the larvae to feed on when they hatched (lovely). “Time for more drastic measures,” I thought to myself. I went to Walmart and bought a can of carpet powder. You sprinkle it on the floor, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then vacuum it up. I managed to make that one can stretch for my whole apartment, except for half of the living room. I waited a few days, and continued to see fleas and their eggs. Now I was frustrated. I went back to Wally World, bought 2 cans of the carpet powder, a can of spray for the furniture, and powder to go on Wednesday. I used both cans of carpet powder, sprayed the furniture, and powdered the cat. The fleas continued to thrive, and now I was mad.

The thing about fleas is that they are remarkably well-adapted to irritate you. They are tiny and hard to see, so they can crawl up into the cracks in your floor, underneath your furniture, and just about anywhere else so that you cannot get to them to snuff them out. Females can lay between 8,000 and 20,000 eggs in her lifetime (I know these are wildly different numbers, but that’s what you get when searching the interwebs for information), which means that there will always be thousands more of them than there are of you. Also, if you kill 4 or 5, there will be 6384758034593 more to take their place. They can jump 6 feet into the air, which means they can end up on surfaces in your home that they otherwise would not visit. They are thin and flat, which makes them “furrodynamic” – if you watch them move around on your pet, it looks like they are “swimming” through their fur. It is truly disgusting and frightening to watch. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about fleas is that they are hard to squish. If you see an ant crawling on you, or a mosquito taking a drink from your coronary rivers, you can just smack them and it kills them. But no – not the flea. The flea, like the tick, has a hard exoskeleton, so slapping it will not kill it. You have to physically tear it in half or squish/cut it with your nails. The only way they could possibly me more frustrating is if they could swim. Fortunately, they cannot, so you can drown them if you pull them off your pet or yourself.

Armed with this information, I decided that I could not defeat these monsters alone, so I called in the cavalry. The exterminator came out today to spray my home. I gave Wednesday a Capstar pill this morning, which kills all the fleas on the animal within 4-6 hours. It lasts only for 24 hours, so I took her to the vet to board her for the night (so she doesn’t have to breathe the chemicals here) and I asked them to put her on Advantage. Hopefully, my home will be flea-free again in about a week. Good riddance.


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