The question was innocent enough, “Babe, I found these two bugs on Emmit, what do you think they are?” I knew the answer before I even saw the offending creatures, encased between two pieces of scotch tape.
FLEAS!! Blech! Barf! Itch! Skeeve!
It was 10 o’clock at night, and my five-month pregnant self was all snuggled up in bed. The sane, logical part of my brain said that I wouldn’t freak out and that I would deal with the issue in the morning. Unfortunately, the sane, logical part of my brain fell asleep shortly after making such declarations and the obsessive, out of control part of my brain came screeching into my bedroom in a hazmat suit.
I spent the better part of the night experiencing night terrors and breaking out into a cold sweat. At a reasonable 4am, I dashed out of bed and began my crusade against creepy crawlies.
Being pregnant, I did not feel that covering my house in murderous chemicals was the way to go. My first step, and subsequently my biggest mistake, was to seek the counsel of Google. Whereas I expected to find some practical advice for the natural remediation of fleas, what I found was quite the contrary:
For those unfortunate souls trying to use home remedies to treat fleas….
DON’T DO IT!! YOUR HOUSE WILL BE OVERRUN IN A MATTER OF MINUTES
BY STORM TROOPER FLEAS WHO WILL ERECT TINY CIRCUS TENTS TO
HOST THEIR FLEA CIRCUS, AND CHARGE YOU THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
NOT TO GO. CALL IN THE BIG GUNS OR PREPARE FOR FLEAPOCOLYPSE!!!!
My rapidly beating heart brought me back to reality and I did my best to find any useful information that would not incite panic. According to the experts on the interwebs, I needed Borax, apple cider vinegar, endless vacuum cleaner bags and a strong will. As luck would have it, I was entirely prepared for this disgusting juncture in my life.
I wasted no time getting to work. I moved every piece of furniture, dusted the entire house in Borax, vacuumed, washed floors, washed anything that could fit in the washing machine and steam-cleaned whatever couldn’t. Then repeated multiple times. Bathed the cats three times, much to their dismay. Combed the cats every 15 minutes with a flea comb, which they rather liked. And then sprayed them down with apple cider vinegar, which they most certainly did not like.
And it’s a good thing I took these drastic measures, because I found NINE, yes NINE fleas in total, both live and dead. So maybe Flea Gate 2012 wasn’t the major catastrophe I thought it was, but it was still pretty traumatizing. The Obsessive Compulsive in me felt that once everything was thoroughly deloused and cleared for at least a month, I would finally be able to rest easy. Well, it’s been 9 months and I’ve seen no signs of infestation. So while I’m no longer in hyper overdrive when it comes to flea diligence, I do still inspect every speck of everything and flea comb the cats on the regular. (And still sprinkle Borax under the couch cushions for good measure).
Moral of this story? You don’t always need to turn to heavy-duty toxins; sometimes a good dose of cleaning and unadulterated fear is all you need. And don’t use Google. Ever.
Disclaimer: No felines and only 9 fleas were harmed in the making of this terrifying, if not educational, story. And before you think that I brought this horror upon myself, my cats always have been and always will be treated with Frontline. And for you know-it-alls, Yes, I do use Frontline Plus.