Monday, July 5, 2010

Help!! Vampires are Eating My Cats!!

Independence Day Kitteh

After I brush Quint's teeth each evening, I then brush his fur. That's what I was doing last week when I noticed a whole lot of little black spots on his face. I wondered what he had gotten into and proceeded to brush his face to remove them. That's when one of them moved. Yikes!! He had fleas on his face. He's an indoor cat, how did that happen?

After I considered this quandary for a moment I figured that the fleas must have arrived with Ebony. The person who had been taking care of Ebony before he arrived at our house apparently hadn't been dealing with his fleas. When Hedge and Quint first arrived, I immediately had the vet give them all their immunization shots and dose them with a flea killer that also handled ear mites and intestinal worms. Since both of them had come to us from being wild outdoor cats, I suspected that they might be infested with any number of parasites. Ebony, on the other hand, had come from a household, and I wrongly assumed that any potential flea problem would have been taken care at his previous home.

For some reason, fleas don't bite me, but they do bite Carol. She had complained, a few days before my discovery, that she was getting bitten by something and suspected it might be fleas. This is California and there are fleas everywhere so I thought that her bites had, perhaps, come from fleas in the grass out in our yard. I just couldn't imagine that my indoor cats would be infested with bugs. They were.

This called for drastic action. I needed to get some flea killer immediately. The next morning I was scheduled to meet with a hair stylist who was working on fitting me with a wig for a TV role for which I had been hired. Since I had to drive to the San Fernando Valley to do the wig fitting, I also had planned to visit the final resting place of Room 8. I added a trip to the veterinary hospital to my schedule for that day, and picked up the flea killer before I drove back home. As soon as I walked in the door and put down my camera bag, I went looking for cats. I quickly found and dosed each one.

By the next morning, I saw a complete change in all three cat's behavior. I hadn't really noticed it before, but all the cats had been increasingly restless and rather frantic over the past few days. Now they were more relaxed. They were quite relieved to be rid of the vicious, six-legged vampires that had been feeding on them for the past couple of weeks. Quint and Hedge resumed their normal pattern, playing chase all morning, napping all afternoon. Ebony seemed a bit more relaxed, though still grouchy toward the other cats and very demanding of Carol and I. I gathered up all the towels and pillow cases that we use to cover the furniture to keep the cat hair at a minimum and ran them through the washing machine.

We're still seeing a few little jumping vampires around, but, as time goes by and they don't have any host to feed upon, they will die off. Next time we adopt a cat, I will not fail to make sure that any flea problems are handled right from the first day. Lesson learned.

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