Photo from Microscopy-UK
If you read my earlier post about Grand Old Man, Feline King of the Daisy Household, you know he went in for a body shave and flea bath last week. Danelle informed me there were "a few fleas"--which is always surprising since my cats don't go outside. I don't think I've had a flea problem since first acquiring them--and since they were throwaways, they DID have fleas when I rescued them. But, oh, that's all in the past, dear reader, all in the in the past, as I have told myself countless times. No fleas in here! Nosirree Bob!
But there he was, the redoubtable Grand Old Man (herein referred to as GOM), on top of the dryer (where he enjoys sitting, since it's warm and cozy)... and I saw... what is -that?-... on his newly-shaven skin. It's---MOVING! OH MY GOD!!!! A MOVING BLACK SPOT!!!! AIYEEEEEEE! (((shrieks)))
And yes, I picked it off, and it wiggled and jumped away.
I hate them, with every fiber of my being. As a vegetarian, I have guilt over hating any species of God's creatures; hence, I do what every good Christian has historically done: I have consigned rats, cockroaches, fleas and flies to THE DEVIL. That's probably not fair, and yeah, I know the Hindus like the rats and maintain they are really holy (apparently, they are a lot better-behaved over there?) and primarily for this reason, I try to hold off on the rats. But FLEAS!?! NOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOH! I can NOT abide the evil parasites, bringer of plagues, NASTY THINGS!
Some background is in order.
My initial war with the fleas commenced at age 19, when I dealt with my first overwhelming infestation in my first apartment. For some reason, they ate me alive. Not sure why; they don't seem too interested in biting me now, thank heavens. (Body chemistry changes? Science geeks, please explain!) But there was horrible, pathological itching and swelling from nearly every bite (there were dozens), and every wee tickle I experienced made me even more insane. I would hurriedly look to see if it was a FLEA creating the tickle, and about half the time, it surely was--just often enough to drive me paranoid-raving-batshit. I started keeping a 24-hour flea-vigil. I classified certain areas in my apartment Where The Fleas Are. I went a little berserk, constantly checking myself for those telltale evil black dots that would be there, and then (unlike dirt and lint) hop away, leaving a swollen red itchy welt in their wake.
I went to the library and studied the fleas. They can jump all over the place! They could jump halfway around the fucking world! Not to worry, dammit, I was DEDICATED! In my youthful exuberance and fired-up-flea-frenzy, I was gonna drive them out. I became obsessed, like Peter Weller became obsessed with the rat in OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN. I was gonna GET RID OF THEM if it was the LAST THING I DID!!! Being a good hippie, I started off with politically-correct cloves and lavender from the co-op where I then worked. Ha! They are laughing at you and your pissant cloves! They are eating cloves for breakfast! YUM YUM, say the fleas! CLOVES!
I also dutifully ingested the substances that supposedly make the fleas take a bite of you and then say -ptui!- and spit you out and never come back. Nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, B-12, blah blah blah. The fleas loved it all, and came back for seconds and thirds. (They particularly liked the brewer's yeast, causing my grandmother to wonder aloud if they were Irish fleas. :P)
Thus, I upped the ante and bombed my apartment with what I now know was a panoply of carcinogenic substances, without even waiting for the prescribed period of time to pass before trying again. Like the cloves, the fleas lapped up the chemicals, growing ever larger and more bold. Just as anti-bacterial soaps and antibiotics are now breeding superbugs, I was breeding them, too.
I even risked my life by giving all four of my cats (count 'em, four) flea baths, which was exactly like when Porky tried to give Sylvester a bath, if you saw that famous episode. The claws sunk deep, deep, into my skin, and I still have a scar from one of them. One of them seemed to be trying to climb up my skull.
Cats, you may have heard, do not like baths.
At some point, I entered what I call flea-psychosis and started attributing characteristics to them, which is possibly a side effect of too much LSD (nobody's perfect). I began to think of them as having personalities, like Socrates and Ben in WILLARD: We will wait until she is peaking on acid and then bite her, and she won't know if she actually saw us or not, since we are little black dots that jump away with lightening speed! (Yes, they really said this; I heard them!)
And so, for years, I engaged in FLEA WARS.
Finally, some years ago, I decided to keep all my cats inside, and that seemed to handle the problem, at long last. As animal rights people have increasingly counseled folks to keep cats inside to conserve the dwindling bird populations (particularly in growing suburbs), I also got the bonus of feeling morally righteous, which is always a big plus. (Also, it was so nice not to worry about my babies getting hit by cars.) But of course, you know the real reason! Totally selfish!
And now, I see MOVING DOTS ON MY GOM! (((shrieks)))
I hightailed it to the vet and got more chemicals, which I had discontinued on my cats some years ago, thinking it was safe to do so because they were flea-free. Ha! I should have known that Ben and Socrates would be back.
And so that's what I've been doing lately. How about yourselves?
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Photo from Microscopy-UK