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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Flea-Infested Flophouse

Well, so much for la rentrée.  The Flophouse has fleas (les puces).

How the hell did that happen?

We think that when we went on vacation in August our two cats, Tatou and Minoche, went wandering in search of low company (which they clearly found).  Took us a couple of weeks to figure it out and so the entire house has been infested.

Which presents some challenges.  Last time I had to deal with fleas, I was a teenager living in Olympia, Washington 30 odd years ago.  What do people do about this today?  Surely flea fighting technology has evolved, right?  

It also presents a linguistic puzzle.  How do you say "flea collar" in French?  (Where is that damn dictionary?)  Hey, I never had any reason to know that up to now;  the Alliance française did not impart to me the vocabulary of pest control.

And I'm not the only one who is struggling here.  My French spouse didn't know either.  He went off late last week to purchase a product for our furry little friends and he blew it.  He picked up wimpy flea repellent, not flea killer which means our first pass at it did no good whatsoever.  So much for our fancy French and American educations.  Book smart, life stupid.  Yep, we have been humbled.

So he fired up an Internet search engine and I called the church ladies.  Between the two sources, we figured out what we needed and ordered it.  Everything arrives today.  I will be unleashing flea Armageddon this afternoon so the Flophouse is definitely closed to visitors.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

well, poison is good but vacuuming everything including using the famous deep crack implement and immediately disposing of the contents outside the house works to control the little stinkers. Hate fleas and they are nature's survivors - long after humans are gone the fleas and cockroaches will inherit the earth. Persistence pays off, boring, isn't it just always the boring way that works.

LarryC said...

I have five cats, and I control fleas using Advantage. Be aware - if you apply a topical flea tratment ("Advantage" or such ) and the cats' fur falls out and leaves a bald spot, then the cats are allergic to the topical.

I concur - vacuuming will remove active fleas and the eggs - which hatch when disturbed.

"Flea bombs" have small utility, and cover everything with a chemical film.

Sauve said...

As you may remember, we just moved to Mousseaux sur seine in Feb. We had no idea that this summer will end up being The Year of the Battle of Tiny Critters. We have 2 dogs and a cat. Our animals have never had fleas or ticks until this summer and that's because I used Advantage on the first of every month from May until October. Now I used it in St. Etienne and in Vierville-sur-Mer with outstanding results but I may just as well been using water here. I went to the vet for the answer. He said that Advantage is too weak to be effective. So he gave me a Shampoo, one for the dogs and one for the cats. That was to rid them immediately. Then I just go back to the usual shampoo. For the dogs it is Stronghold but that comes by the weight. For the cat it is also Stronghold 45mg and Effipro spot-on 50mg Solution pour Chats.

I took up all the rugs which wasn't difficult since they are doorway carpets, bagged, and took them to the dump. I was forced to change the bedding of the dogs too. They spend the night in their kennels. The cat has been trained to sleep on red throws but we still got fleas in the bed and in the sofa. I ran a steamer/vacuum over both and that solved that problem. At a garden store I purchased some Francodex Insecticide De L'Habitat so I could spray the drapes. Be careful not to get it on furniture that has a finish. I will now have to repair the damage that was done to a near by table that apparently caught some droplets. I also use the steamer/vacuum to care for the floors. I sprayed the parameter of the yard and the exterior foundation of the house with some insecticide made for that. I don't put collars on cats because my cats have always lost them within a few days. This solved our problem with puces et tiques. But that was not the end. We humans somehow became the summer hosts to scabies. The doctor we went to twice was very nice and totally ineffective. We got them at the same time I found a tick on one dog and out cat began scratching so my husband is convinced that the animals gave them to us. We ended up going to a dermatologist in August and are now clearing up. I suspect we may have one the battle.

Sauve said...

Sorry for the terrible typing and abbreviated sentence formation. I am going to get my first cup of coffee now.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Thanks for the advice (and the sympathy), folks.

We used Advantage on the cats and a vacuum all over the house along with a spray for the places where the cats like to sleep.

Larry, we do have a flea bomb which we will try tomorrow. We already paid for it so might as well use it.

Sauve, what a story! Oh my, my problems look very small in comparison. I did hear something about Advantage not always working. We applied it yesterday and when I run a comb through the cats' hair it looks like it's working (nothing's moving :-)

Sauve said...

Good Luck, Victoria! Can you please tell me the name of the bomb y'all have purchased. I've been very slow to unpack the garage since it is where the things from our apartment in St. Etienne has gone. Stuff from 9 years ago. I left quite a bit there because I thought we would be back within 6 months. So now I have two of nearly everything in the kitchen. For large kitchen appliances I have 2 new stoves and 2 new dishwashers. Last year we didn't anticipate finding a house to buy that would include the kitchen so we purchased a wonderful stove and dishwasher thinking we would move them into the house. Now I would like to see them go to somebody who can appreciate them. If you know of someone, please share tell me.

Rowan said...

When we got our two cats, they had been outside cats, so they had fleas. The vet gave them a single dose of Capstar and all the fleas were dead in a hour, no shampooing needed. I was shocked at how effective it was, so yes, antiflea technology has progressed. (You still have to deal with your house but at least the cats aren't re-introducing fleas.) It's easily available online via 1800petmeds.com and amazon.com and here's some basic info:
http://www.drugs.com/pro/capstar.html

LarryC said...

Rowan - I'll mention Capstar to my vet. I believe I have used 1800petmeds before, to acquire mirtazipine, an appetite enhancer. I cannot obtain the 7.5mg pills in the US, only thru Canadian Rx.