Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fleeing the fleaing

It just had to be done.

I didn't want to do it, believe me. But it just had to happen.

And my mistake was targeting the fat one first. Because as soon as the miniature one figured out what was going on, well, it got really ugly. With an open vial of flea and tick medicine, I had to hunt Anabelle down and deposit said stinky stuff on her fur.

And she was NOT happy. Trust me.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself...

You see, a few months ago, Tabbitha and Anabelle developed this teeny weeny little problem. Err, problems. With an "s". Plural. As in many of them.

Fleas. (whispered).

Yes, my cats - The House Monster and The Mini Monster - both had (monster) cases of fleas. Unbeknown to me before our move from Florida late last year, Southern California is know for its 1) eclectic yoga studios 2) vast array of succulents and 3) fleas.


Some things I have experienced - yoga, namely of the hot (as in 109 degree variety), I have tried. And yes, we've got a lovely collection of succulents (still) alive on our back patio.

But I never, not once in my life, expected that my cats would become host to tiny blood sucking bugs. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew! The thought makes my skin crawl and sends involuntary shivers down my spine. And those kitties curled up in my bed! Oh my god that is so wrong on so many levels!


But thankfully, after a trip to the vet and three months of diligent flea prevention, I'm happy to say that we are "flea free!" Thank goodness that, to all of our surprise, Tabbitha just loved being brushed with the flea brush. She (still) flops over whenever I bring it out to comb her fur, purring happily and kneading her paws.

Indeed, we were highly surprised at her unexpected delight.

Tabbitha's vet even commented on her much 'happier' state two visits ago. I can still hear him exclaim, "Why Tabbitha! You look like a new woman!"

For the record - Tabbitha and her 19.6 pound glorious self - was staring up at him, frothing slightly at the moth, and growling. Somehow, I didn't think the term 'new woman' was appropriate in this case. But I kept my mouth shut. One more snide remark from Dr. Singh and I knew that Tabbitha would lunge. But she behaved herself and he made some nice comments about her weight loss and lack of fleas.

So all was well that ends well.


Save the teeny weeny fact that each month, like clock-work, I administer to each kitty a small but potent dose of Feline Advantage. It smells highly toxic and quite truthfully - if it were me - I wouldn't want the stuff dumped, unwelcomed, on the back of my neck. Ah-ha! One of the many perks of being human and flea free. But I digress...

The first few times I gave the kitties their monthly anti-flea medication, things went relatively smoothly. Innocent (and ignorant), they turned their trusting eyes upon me as I petted their little heads, told them encouraging things like 'What good girls you are!' and 'Who wants to be flea free?', and then quick-as-a-flash, dumped the smelly stuff on the scruff of their necks.

Would you be surprised if I were to mention how much they DON'T like it? Smelly, cold liquid on their fur that causes their sinus cavities to quiver and eyes to water... So naturally being cats, they lick and lick and lick, trying to reach the offending source.

Well...honestly? In Tabbitha's case, she can't physically reach her fur to lick it off. Perhaps we should keep some of that weight on...? Dr. Singh?? Anabelle never fails to try - and can sometime succeed in reaching the leftover medication that remains on her fur.

And then she licks at it while staring me menacingly down.

Yes, she is so fierce.

This month was different. And I blame my (relative) inexperience.

In the past, I've always gotten Anabelle first. Being the little one, both in physical stature and mental state, she usually prances around the house, following me from room to room. She is easily distracted and doesn't always realize what's happening until after it happens. Which makes my job easy.

Go to kitchen, notice that Anabelle follows. Snip off top of Advantage. Greet Anabelle. Wiggle my fingers and she bounds my way. She bends unsuspectingly down and sniffs my fingers. Pronto! I dump medication on her back. She freezes, give me a bewildered and betrayed look. She shakes her head. She prances out of the room. She stares me down while trying to lick off medication. She forgets everything five minutes later.

End of story.


As for Tabbitha. I suppose the only benefit of having an overweight, errr, 'big boned' kitty is that she's a bit slow moving. Except when she attacks my friends and house guests...then all bets are off and she could break records...just wear sturdy shoes in my house, that's all I'm saying.

When it comes to giving her the monthly flea meds, it's pretty basic.

Go into kitchen. Snip off top of medicine tube. Call Tabbitha. Wait. Wait. W-a-i-t...Call Tabbitha again. Leave kitchen and see Tabbitha staring me down from living room. Realize that she knows (sort of) what is going to happen. Move faster than her while she deploys evasive maneuvers. Her maneuvers fail. Because she is 19.6 pounds. Dump flea medicine on her neck and RUN LIKE HELL while she tries to chase me down. Sigh with relief.

Usually I escape without a scratch, and both kitties are better off in the long run.

Tonight didn't go so well.

For some reason, I got Tabbitha's medication prepared before Anabelle's. And yes, there is a difference, as Tabbitha is twice the kitty that Anabelle is. For real. Anabelle's flea medication is made for cats that weigh less than 9 pounds. Tabbitha...her medication would work - I'm convinced - on a middle sized dog.

I figured it wouldn't make that much of a difference anyway. I was going to get both cats in the end, no biggie on switching the order.

Famous last words...

Tabbitha's dosage went without a hitch. I'm happy to announce there was no scratching, no growling, no chasing (of either of us by the other), and the medication was successfully administered. However, I ended up with one VERY unhappy House Monster.

And - for the FIRST time in her life - one even unhappier Mini Monster who knew EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING ON.

She was having NONE of it.

Anabelle took one look at me and ran like I have never seen her run. Gimpy legs and all, Tabbitha and I were left, bewildered in her wake with only a few dust bunnies scattered with her scampering paws.

Thirty minutes later, I was cursing our bed while trying to coax Anabelle out from under the damned thing. The stupid cat had wedged herself between the wall and headboard, exactly in the middle and was refusing to come out. Not for treats. Not for toys. And most definitely NOT for me.

So I did what any smart Marine Corps wife, versed in the language of covert operations and military strategy, would do. I got ready...set my trap...and waited...

Eventually Anabelle made her way cautiously out of the bedroom, poking her unsuspecting head around the corner and... WHAM! That's when I attacked!

But she's not known as the Mini Monster for nothing, and just before I could administer my final blow of flea medicine prevention, she was out of my reach - running quickly back into the bedroom. Realizing that the twerp was making a bee-line for another forray under the bed, I dashed in after and quickly cut off her escape route. The monster changed directions and hid under the chair and then, before I could respond, sprinted out of the room towards the living room, jumping OVER Tabbitha in the process.

Before she could take refuge under the couch, I managed to plant a hand firmly on her haunches while dumping what was left of the flea medicine on her fur. With a mini-sized growl that got even Tabbitha's attention, she swiped at me once and fled to her safe haven under the bed.

And thus, this month's flea medicine ordeal was over. And believe me when I say that I learned my lesson. Yeah.

Tabbitha is happily recovered. I know because she ate all of her treats. And then Anabelle's. It took Anabelle three hours before she actually made her presence known and curled up next to me. I think all was forgiven, although I did catch her shooting me sour looks a few times. Eventually she ate a treat, but I just know that she knows.

...until next month...



Pedergraham said...

Oh yay, a whole post about the kitty monsters. I have been missing these. So funny, because yesterday I gave Molly her flea and tick medicine, cleaned her ears, gave her heartworm, and burshed her teeth---and being the true Golden that she is, she acted as though I was just petting her the whole time. I did not need strategy. Glad to hear that the Tabbitha likes the flea brush. When I finally make it out to CA, I am going to show up with one and buy her love!!!!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Believe me when I tell you that if/when your kid ever comes home from school with a letter saying someone in their class has lice, you WILL consider using advantage on their head. Hey if it's safe for an 8lb kitty...it should be safe for a kid, right?

Molly said...

And this is where dogs are soooo different. "Hey guys, want a cookie?" is about all it takes for them to walk in, stand there while I apply flea stuff, and walk out crunching on their treat and wondering how they got so lucky.

Kim said...

Ahhh.. poor little kitties! You did a good job though so I'm glad they are getting back to their wonderful kitty life. I loved the description of you putting their medicine on! Fits their personalities so well!!

D said...

Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. Race report!!!

Maria said...

wow, you make having cats look fun! i usually think cats are so boring, but that is obviously not the case in your house!

Alili said...

What is it about fleas recently?? We had to treat our dog and cat too - they never had fleas in MI, move to GA and tada unwelcome bloodsuckers. Gross.

Now, uh - where's the rest of that race report? :)

Beth said...

Lesson learned! :) Roxy doesn't seem to mind the flea/tick medicine - I think it's because she is mostly focued on the treat that Oscar holds out for her. That mini-monster is a tricky one! :)

Runner Leana said...

When I first got Finlay I used the liquid Advantage stuff and I think it bothered me a whole lot more than it bothered him. Since he's a white doggie it just made his coat look icky. We switched over to the pill flea stuff with no issues. Sure, he wasn't a fan of the pill but I'd pretend it was a treat, shove it down his throat and make sure he didn't spit it up. Hmm, he may not have been a fan of that. Now we live in a place with no heartworm of flea issues so everyone is happy all around!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I just found a kitten by the river and of course it had fleas on it. When I found it I totally thought about your blog about when you found Annabelle. Our vet prescribed Revolution which smells like rubbing alcohol. I think keeping him quarantined is harder since we have another cat. :) Katie T.

Trigirlpink said...

Do I really have to say how much I enjoyed this little tale? Of course I don't.

Trigirlpink said...

Do I really have to say how much I enjoyed this little tale? Of course I don't.

Anonymous said...

where are the pics????

this story reminds me of Charlie/Kitty the blue/grey cat I shared with CB. When he had a skin fungus, we had to dump him in this nasty sulfur dip and then put a CONE on him so he didn't lick himself. He hated it but he was too docile to put up any real fight - poor kitty!

Mama Simmons said...

My cat had fleas too after we moved here and I completely freaked out!! Washed everything in my house repeatedly and combed her all the time. Those monthly treatments work!

Marni said...

Campy hates his flee medicine. He runs around our place afterwards..must be the smell. Hope the kitties can survive until next month :)