I just figured out that our 5 month old kitten Hubble
has fleas. Or, at least, I think she has fleas. Please help me curb my inner stress ball, because I am having a real hard time dealing with this.
posted by lydhre to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hubble has recently discovered the magic of sinks and water and, while getting soaking wet, had started leaving tiny blood stains on the porcelain. These corresponded to her paw prints, mostly, and I incorrectly assumed that she had some issue with the pads of her paws or similar. Took her to the vet to have her claws trimmed last week, mentioned the tiny blood flecks to the vet, and he reassured me by telling me she looked perfectly healthy and her paws were fine. Red specks on sinks persisted.
She is an indoor cat, so fleas had (wrongly!) never crossed my mind. Hubbsy has, since we got her in July, shed little black bits which look like dandruff. They are most obvious when she's napping on a white surface, like our sheets. You really have to go looking for one to see any on her coat. I'd never had a Russian Blue before, and my partner had never had a cat before, so we incorrectly assumed (sense a pattern?) that this was normal. This afternoon, I finally googled "black cat dandruff" and found out this was most likely flea dust. One way to check for flea dust is to apparently wet it and see if it looks like... little specks of blood. Oh.
So I called our vet, in a bit of a state, and the vet tech confirmed that it was probably fleas and told me to dose her with some Frontline Plus, which I picked up at the vet's office right away. She also told me to clean and vacuum and not to worry because fleas don't really like to snack on humans. I applied the Frontline to her scruff, but she was having none of it and wriggled while I was doing it so it mostly ended up on her fur rather than her skin. I called the vet again, asked if this was okay or if I should wipe down her fur and reapply and the tech said it would just "trickle down" and be fine. Everything I read online tells me that it's really not nearly as effective if it's applied to the fur rather than the skin.
Now, I don't normally panic. I had a moment of madness in which I considered not telling my (neat freak, almost OCD cleaner) partner that the cat had fleas because I didn't want him to freak out. Turns out, he's perfectly reasonable and reassuring and I'm the one who is freaking out. This is devolving entirely into paranoia and my partner is working late all week, so he won't be much help in dealing with cleaning and laundry and calming me down as he normally would be.
I'm itching all over, it's obviously psychosomatic, but I can't help it. The cat sleeps with us, mostly on top of me, and it's causing me almost physical stress to think about it. I've washed the duvet, I'm washing the duvet cover and sheets, and I'm about to vacuum the mattress (which has an anti allergen cover) and our bedroom. All the clothes she could have gotten on will be washed. Our house gets cleaned and vacuumed once a week, but I've gone over the rugs and the couches, though I can't wash either. All the stuffed animals in the house will take a spin in the washer too.
Tell me it'll be fine. I haven't seen fleas anywhere, except a glimpse of what could have been, in hindsight, one on the cat's haunch last week. There are no fleas jumping around that I can see. She doesn't scratch or groom herself excessively. She seems perfectly happy and as boisterous as ever. I'm going to ask the vet to check her for tapeworms next month when she goes in for her spaying, so she should be covered. She'll receive monthly doses of flea stuff from now on, if the vet okays it. I don't think I have fleas either, necessarily.
What can I do to feel like this will be okay? That we'll get rid of the fleas and we won't have parasites crawling all over us OMG? Should I ask my doctor to check me for tapeworms? Should I be calling the exterminators? Would that help just my sanity rather than the actual situation? What am I missing? Is this really just a "relax and wait it out, it's not that bad" situation? Vet tech almost laughed at me for being concerned. It's just fleas, after all. Help me regain a similar perspective.
I want to be okay and not so freaked out when Hubble will inevitably crawl into bed with me tonight and I'm going to want to do nothing but cuddle her and have her sleep in the crook of my arm but oh. jesus. little. nasty. bugs. potentially. everywhere! /shudder