Towards the end of August, I always wish my cat, Acey May, a Happy Birthday! I don’t know her exact birthday since she was dropped off as a kitten, probably in the field across from my parents house. So, every day in August feels like her birthday to me!
I remember B and I coming home from my high school Powder Puff game, and my mom greeted us outside saying, “There’s a cat stuck under your Dad’s van.” Without thinking, I was under my Dad’s van searching for this cat. I heard the little cries and grabbed for it somewhere around the guts of the van.
I pulled out an oil slicked, gray fuzz-ball, covered in fleas. We took her inside and cleaned her up. I knew I couldn’t get attached because we already had two other cats that wouldn’t care for the new addition. My mom made me promise to try to find her a new home. For about 2 weeks we kept her on the front porch, so she wouldn’t bother my other cats. I found myself out there for hours playing with the adorable baby. I was so tempted to bring her in, but I didn’t want the cat to get too comfortable either, if I was just going to have to give her to someone else.
Needless to say, my begging to my mom worked and I was able to keep her. The minute she was allowed in the house, she made herself at home. She slept in my bed, and followed me everywhere, even in between the shower curtains, on the bathtub ledge, while I took a shower. She was, and still is my best friend.
I did notice, however, that there were these dark dirt-like specks in my bed all the time. I didn’t think too much of it. I would just wash my blankets frequently. Then, I actually saw a tiny brown bug, making it’s way across and in my baby’s nose. I was so grossed out, I immediately gave her a bath and we got her a flea collar and a good flea brush.
She has been the most clean and pristine cat…. until she turned 10!!!!
I was noticing that she had been scratching around her neck, way too much for me to be comfortable with. I grabbed her flea brush and gave her a swipe. Sure enough, FLEAS!!! I was appalled. My perfect, clean cat had fleas for the first time since we had gotten rid of them 10 years ago. I couldn’t understand, until I realized that there had been a couple of new cats that have visited us, from our neighbors.
I knew I had to get down to business to eradicate them.
Here are some flea facts: They need a warm blooded host, such as your pet, because there are lots of warm, furry places to hide and they live off of their blood. Their life cycle is about 20 days from laying eggs, hatching and then dying. They can jump 100x their own height.
I love my cat, I don’t want to put toxic pesticides on her, that she’s just going to lick away. Those products, meant to control fleas on your pet, can do long-term damage, such as liver and kidney damage. No thanks! I have found that the natural approach is the best approach.
The things you need are: a good flea comb, raw organic apple cider vinegar , tea tree oil shampoo, and red cedar oil.
-First, you must comb your pet every day. Get in all the nooks and crannies. This is really the best method of getting rid of them. I do it outside and then squish the flea right away so it can’t jump back on my cat.
-Give them a bath but do not get their head wet. Fleas hate water, and will search for higher, drier ground. Create a sort of soap collar out of some herbal (natural or organic) shampoo. I like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. When your pet is all wet, the fleas should jump into the soapy collar and get caught and then you’re able to wash them down the drain. I follow up with TJ’s Tea Tree Tingle conditioner mixed with raw, organic, apple cider vinegar (about 3:1). Fleas hate the smell of this stuff so it’s a great defense tool. After they’re out of the water (and their misery!) get a cotton swab soaked in apple cider vinegar and apply it to their ears, repeat with their rear-end, with a new cotton swab (fleas love these warm places).
-Vacuum every day if possible. If any are living in your carpet, you’ll need to suck them and their eggs up. Like I said before, they need a warm host, so if there’s a pet in the house, they are most likely not going to bother with the carpet. You can make an essential oil spray by adding a few drops of red cedar oil to some water, enough to make a pleasant smell. Spray your carpet.
-Brush, Brush, Brush! Everyday, outside. This is the only way to ensure your getting rid of them and their eggs and their poop.
These steps should bring your pet back to scratch-free happiness.
Part of having a wholesome home, is treating your pets with equally wholesome practices. For most people, our pets are our loyal, loving best friends. They are always here for us, so why would you want to surround their small bodies with toxins.