Well, I don’t know about you, but if there’s one thing we cats take a dim view of, it’s unwanted, freeloading “guests” taking up house room and helping themselves. Unless it’s a feline doing it, naturally, and the very worst kind seem to be the flea!
Fleas first arose in the early Cretaceous nearly 145 million years ago. Which is an awful lot of scratching time when you consider it, and how typical, when a giant rock from the sky wipes out the big Dinosaurs, these horrid little blighters survive. It’s just not fair, mind you, thinking about it. It’s probably easier to deal with a flea infestation than a T-Rex one!
Did you know there are around 2500 species of fleas? Brrrr – it makes ones fur crawl – literally – to imagine so many types!
Anyway these little rotters are about 3mm long and flat bodied so they can move through fur easily. Our ‘type’ are a dark reddish brown colour.
One thing they are very good at, is jumping – vertically 7in (18cm) and horizontally up to 13in (33cm). So they can be quite capable of getting pretty much anywhere.
An adult usually lives 2-3 months only (good) though in ideal conditions it can be up to 18 months. (Aaarrgh- Bad. Very bad!)
Now, remember that adult fleas only make up about 5% of a population, pupae 10%, larval stage 35% and eggs about 50%. So there’s a good chance of nailing them before they get to the hoppy, jumpy, yucky stage, by having your Human follow some simple things for you:
Get your bedding washed regularly in the hottest water (it kills ’em if its nice and hot) with a mild pet friendly detergent. Also make sure your Human vacuums carpets, furniture and any areas where you like to take your rest regularly, that’s where most of the eggs and early life stages lurk. And most importantly, please dispose of the vacuum bag, or if its a bagless type, wash out the dirt collection bin and use a household flea treatment in it.
If they don’t do this then they are just providing an ideal ‘Hotel Du Fleas’ – if you get my drift.
Of course, even though your human is doing the hoovering mainly for your benefit, do make sure you give them the standard ‘disdainful look’ at all the noise and disturbance they are putting you through – it’s only right and proper.
And to make sure those critters are good and ‘deaded’ they can dry all clothing and bedding on a medium to hot tumble dry program (fleas can’t take heat) – and just as importantly provide us with entertainment as we watch it all go round and round in the dryer.
Now for a little tip: if your Human decides to use the ‘spot on’ type of flea treatment (that’s applied to the back of one’s neck) it’s much preferred if they break open the applicator out of our sight, as the distinctive ‘click’ is likely to have us disappearing quicker than a lasagne in Garfield’s house!
And please, make sure they only use products suitable for cats, as dog ones are hazardous to us.
Whilst I won’t be so vulgar as to endorse any treatment product, I wouldn’t advise using a ‘flea collar’ – the chemicals in them can lead to localised hair damage or loss and irritated or reactive skin problems, so please, no to those.
Also, bathing us with a suitable shampoo can reduce the personal problem greatly, if, of course, your Human is feeling particularly brave.
Now, at some stage even the cleanest cats will nearly always get or bring in the odd flea – but don’t panic! – its perfectly natural as a result of socialising, etc. If you have your Human staff, oops “owner”, follow the above advice, then between us we can keep those little nasties under control.
Happy Purring ’til next time,