De-fleed

My sweet kit-kat has formed an allergy to fleas.  This is not fun.

We have had a horrendous time with fleas this summer.  We keep Frontline on all the pets.  I even wash the dog before each new application and let her fully dry before we treat her.  But we continue to battle.

We have hardwood floors throughout the house but we have two room sized rugs that may have become infested. I’m not sure where the root of the problem lies, but I know that Smudge has been struggling.

I’ve taken him to the vet three times in the past nine months.  He began to chew the hair off his back.  Joy made an observation that we shouldn’t let him outside without a collar lest someone call Animal Control and have him hauled off as a stray!! He looked like a cat with the mange.  He was a sight!

Flea treatment didn’t seem to help so, off we went.  Each visit brought us home with a new bag of tricks that didn’t seem to help.

The last trip to the vet was spurred on by his need to scratch his neck.  His raw little neck looked absolutely horrible.  The vet shaved it and gave him an antibiotic shot for infection that was beginning to set in.  She checked him for mites, ringworm and even scabies.  All tests had negative results.

She said that a flea allergy only requires one flea to set off the body. As the itching begins, the animal will itch all over and scratch where they can.  Like other cats and dogs, his hind leg scratches best at his neck, so was tearing himself up.

After this last visit to the doctor, he found some relief and healing. We were given a  soothing spray to put directly on the open wounds. We tried a new topical flea medicine (Revolution)  and he was given antibiotic shot.  The vet suggested that we bathe him twice a week until he was healed. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to bathe him.  It seemed like spanking a cat for being sick.  We kept him inside and he began to mend and heal beautifully, though he was quite surly from being quarantined from the outdoors. But, I have to admit: I didn’t follow doctors orders.  I chose not to bathe him …. just yet.

Well,  about a week ago, he began to scratch again. I know this is a terrible, yukky image, but this is how his neck looks from the scratching. Poor little fella.

I knew what we had to do.  We had to dunk him. He needed immersion. He needed to be bathed in a bad way. We had to get rid of those nasty bugs before he looked like a stray again. I was afraid it would come to this!!

I had been  talking to James about it for about three days.  Putting  a feline into a tub full of water and  then lathering him up with soap just didn’t sound appealing – to any of the three of us. But, it certainly seemed necessary.

This afternoon, I got up the gumption and got ready.

I filled the tub with luke warm water (so he didn’t have to LISTEN to the sound of running water).  We trimmed his claws for our own safety.  I gathered towels and flea soap. And we did it.

And ya know what?  It wasn’t so bad.  He probably hasn’t had a bath since he was less than 10 weeks old which is probably about eight years. But he didn’t mind it.  In fact, he rather enjoyed the drying off and snuggling and attention.  I could certainly tell that he felt better afterward.

As James and I stood there and discussed how well Smudger took the bath,
I realized: only ONE flea was floating in the water.
one.

All that fretting over a bath….
All that dreading putting him through it….
All that worry about him being covered in fleas…..
All that new scratching….
chewing off of hair….
and obvious itchiness….

and he only had
one
single
solitary
flea.

Looks like he really MAY have a flea allergy.

I’m wondering if there is such a thing as allergy shots for cats?

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