Last night we wrestled our four cats through extensive – EXTENSIVE – cat baths. By the time they were finished, they looked as if they’d been drowned.
This was necessitated by our recent flea infestation, which has gone on too long. This is the fourth time we’ve bathed these cats. we’ve been furiously vacuuming, washing clothes and blankets, and spraying to try to stem the tide.
I’ve never seen anything like this. Despite all our efforts, they keep coming back.
The bathwater comes off the cats RED. The cats aren’t visibly red themselves. This seems to be due to our washing off flea droppings (which consist largely of dried blood, and I think function to nourish larvae). Midnight, our oldest cat, is even becoming anemic. Clarence, the sole male, is sorely afflicted. Pepper Mill washed him off at least four times last night, recovering him with flea shampoo and scrubbing and scraping to dislodge the many tenacious fleas.
No cats were harmed in the process. Or people. When Pepper bathed the cats last week a couple of them got their claws into her. But this week I held them down, and there were no injuries.
Afterwards, the cats dry off with surprising speed (and are anointed with flea medication), and they very learly stop scratching. For a while, dead fleas drop from them, and we throw them out and wash what they were laying on. Incredibly, considering how long and thoroughly they were washed, a few live (but stunned) fleas drop off, and are promptly dispatched.
Midnight, our oldest, has taken this remarkably well, but she’s fading fast. The fleas aren’t making things better, but they’re not the cause. She has kidney failure (we all – the vet included – expected her to die a year ago. But she’s rallied, and is even more active now than before), and now has a heart murmur as well. Her tail has a large and scary-looking opwn sore, which she seems to be picking at. She’s lost weight. Abnd the fleas are no help. But she’s remarkably good-tempered – more than she used to be, and nuzzles up to us as if she’s expecting the end.
But she’s flea-free. For now.