NOTE: To those of you too horrified by this subject to read further...
REST ASSURED THE KITTY IS SAFE, HAPPY, WELL CARED FOR, AND SPOILED ROTTEN.
Nobody is going to be put to sleep in this household for having fleas... except for the fleas themselves for BEING fleas.
My wife is not a monster. She is the kindest woman I have ever known, and is very nice to this cat. It was her medical background speaking, as well as her instincts as a mother.
Thanks to all of you for your helpful suggestions on keeping the local insects under control.
Here is the status:
1) There is not a tick problem, as there do not seem to be ticks here for some reason. (Fire ants killing them perhaps?)
2) Mosquitos were absolutely HORRIBLE last year, but are gone for now due to freezing weather. For now.
3) Fleas were a big problem last year here, much worse than I have ever seen them. Normal control methods like Frontline were just overwhelmed by the large population in the surrounding environment.
4) The cat unwittingly provides transportation for a few fleas, but I can't blame him for that. That is a FLEA problem, not a CAT problem. We don't sink ships because they have rats on them, do we?
SO FEEL FREE TO READ THE REST OF THE THREAD, THERE IS NO SAD ENDING.
Thank you for being horrified, and my kitty thanks you as well. (Purrr... Purrrr...)
................ Original post ................
A little paranoia about all the possible ways Lyme and co-infections can be spread is good IMO... but how much is too much?
The family kitty cat, a middle aged couch potato, is trained to go outside to take care of his business. The rest of the time he either sleeps in the house or sits on the front porch and watches the world go by.
The trouble is, there are fleas out there. It has been a horrible year for insects of all kinds, with torrential rains all summer following a mild winter. The 'perfect bug storm'. Swarms of hungry mosquitos, biting flies I had never seen here before. Fleas and more fleas. (Oddly I have never seen a tick here at my house... possibly the fire ants ARE good for something.)
On a small city lot one could just nuke everything with chemicals, and get some relief...
But this is acreage out in the country. It is old farm land. On it live horses, donkeys, cattle, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, silver foxes, oppossums, owls, hawks, buzzards, squirrels, various mice, 2 species of rabbits, dogs, cats, birds of all kinds, not to mention snakes, lizzards, frogs and toads.
You can't just sterilize natural habitats, not on that scale.
Try as we do to keep them off of him, the fleas bother the cat, and sometimes one of us gets bit... presumably by a flea that the *CAT* brought in. (As if he likes having fleas himself.)
Yesterday, our daughter was over for dinner, and got bit on the ankle by something.
Everybody is so freaked out that every single insect is carrying multiple deadly diseases... that she ended up going home with some Doxycycline... Just in case.
My wife, who is normally very reasonable, wants to have the cat put to sleep... also just in case he might carry in a flea that was on a mouse that had lyme. (He is not very fast, so his contact with mice is 'infrequent')
How much lyme paranoia is too much?
[This message has been edited by James H (edited 07 January 2005).]
My kids bring in ticks .........they play outside! frontline plus works great. I would NEVER think of doing that (getting rid of my pets) Pattiecake
Posts: 687 | From PA | Registered: Oct 2004
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quote:Originally posted by James H: How much lyme paranoia is too much?
Um, I think that that's crossed the line. It's like people who are freaked out by "germs" - ever handle money? Do you have any idea what is ON money? Sheesh!
There's healthy paranoia and then there's unhealthy paranoia...and btw, removing the cat won't remove the fleas in the house/outdoor area - they'll feed on you, your family, the wildlife and anything else they can...I know people who have fleas without ANY pets - sand fleas will happily eat you alive even if you aren't a furry critter.
Google on "Fleabusters" - I've heard very good things about it.
If the cat is going to become the object of suspicion and unloved, consider a good no-kill rescue where he'll get a second chance.
I choose not to have pets for that reason (fleas and ticks risk).
But, as you have one already, it might be a bit radical to put it down due to fleas. How about not putting it down, but making it an indoor cat (after it's been deloused/de-ticked)?? It's better than the alternative(s).
.......or my kids for that matter! (sorry just had to add that to my last post) Pattiecake OH and I have 2 indoor cats that dont have any fleas NADA and 2 barn cats that dont get fleas or ticks as long as I keep religious with tha frontline plus. It has worked well for us on the farm.
Posts: 687 | From PA | Registered: Oct 2004
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That is an option. Litterboxes are kind of unsanitary things themselves, so I will try a few other things first.
We just had a couple of hard freezes, so I am hoping the outdoor bug population took a hit. (We didn't get a freeze last year.)
The freeze killed the mosquitos and most of the flying stuff, but the cat still picks up a couple of fleas when he goes out.
I'm thinking I will need to resort to spreading some Sevin around the yard, much as I dislike the stuff.
I got a liquid insect repellent at a feed store to put on the cat, and it seems to repell them, but he hates the smell of it. Kind of citrus / perfume like. (Why don't they make it in 'Tuna'?) Maybe I can find some kind of a collar with a repellent.
I have never seen a tick on a pet or around my house here, thankfully. A plus side to fire ants maybe?
Hi James, You might want to try Advantixs(something like that). My dog has gotten ticks and fleas and it really works-my vet recommended it and I believe there's some for cats also- I get it at PetSmart.I'm also paranoid that Buddy will pick up something outside since he's there all day long until I get home from work. I'm already sick but I don't want anyhting happening to my kids- I just keep a very careful watch on everyone in the meantime. On another note, have you finally gotten an appointment with GS? I really do hope so- she changed my meds and I am slowly beginning to crash- hopefully if I herx real bad, it'll happen before school starts on Tuesday! Anyway, I hope you have a very Happy New Year and a Better 2005!
Posts: 247 | From san antonio,tx | Registered: Oct 2004
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I've not had much success with products like Advantix, Frontline, and Bio Spot in this situation where there is a large wild animal population wandering through the yard. There is such a reservoir of fleas on the UNTREATED wild annimals, that the ones that die from the cat's flea treatment are immediately replaced.
In a normal situation you might have one or several pets in an enclosed area, and you treat them all. Its a closed ecosystem where the hosts are all poisonous, so the fleas die out. I can't treat the wild critters in this case, so the 'spot on the back' treatments don't do it.
As far as animals that are possible disease vectors, we have ALOT of wild rabbits. Aside from diseases (tularemia for instance) they could carry, I suspect they are the primary hosts for the problem fleas we've had this year. But I'm not going to kill rabbits either. (That's the job of the coyotes.)
Fleabuster is an interesting product for any indoor problems. I may try that, though I have been having very few problems inside the house.
For the moment I am trying an old fashioned flea collar to see if it has at least some repellent effect.
JO: My wife just got her appointment today. My paperwork is a couple of weeks behind hers, so hopefully I will get mine also before too long. I'm doing OK, able to work productively most of the time. We hope you get feeling better soon too, and thanks for asking.
I was appalled by your e-mail at first. Quite frankly, I have become OCD with cleaning, washing my hands, house etc. I am usually a slob, clean one tho. I have heard that all you need to do is tend to your herb garden to get a bug bite or walk from your car to your house carrying fleas on your shoes - only to infest your home. As many people do without pets. No one lives in a sterile environment. It is about quality of life. Bless your wife's heart, she only wants to maintain that quality of life for her family as any mother would do, and does not know the solution, nor do we. And we search and look for the culprit, someone, something to blame. Deep down she knows it is not the cat, but a problem requires some action. Do something, anything. It is just a reaction. Walk a mile in her shoes, or the paws of the cat. Central florida great dane rescue Northeast florida great dane rescue Teri
Posts: 61 | From cosmo | Registered: Nov 2004
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I've calmed down a bit since I started the following thread, but still haven't figured out what to do about our pets. There's a lot of good advice from a lot of good people, but as is with life, perspectives are all over the map re: this topic. Check it out if you'd like (or have your wife take a look at it):
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On the one hand, it seems that TBDs have turned half of us into the human equivalent of a 'Penfeld-cat'. This alludes to a famous photo in the field of Neurology, showing an electrode(s) embedded into a cat's brain, the photo of an enraged cat, enraged by electrical stimulation of that part of the brain that elicited a rage(?) reaction.
So,considering all the animals, the environment your in, and the odds of contracting insect-borne infections,a substitute animal might be best; a less adventuresome, house animal.
One of these 'pocket' dogs, whose breed-names escape me? One idea is an Italian foot-warmer dog. I think they're called Italian Grey Hounds. I think they like to stay close to the owner, and do so by laying on your feet, say when sitting down. Just a suggestion. I don't know dog breeds.
Any animal that will minimize chances of infection.
A cat is risky business.
City cats, if allowed out will get bartonella, at the least.
Growing up, I've had 2-14 cats; 1-2 dogs; 21 white and hooded rats;birds, and lived in a city. So,I'm probably loaded with bartonella.
[This message has been edited by DiffyQue (edited 01 January 2005).]
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I've been 'sob-ing' this post but decided to read it and add my own two cents....being a 'dog' person myself, I have had little regard for cats as living organisms LOL....one of my favorite books used to be '101Things to do with a dead cat'....
Then Owen came into our lives....he's a cat and I have expanded my horizons and learned about the cat psyche which is fascinating....he's been a very nice addition to our family. As a 'dog' person, I never had the opportunity to learn about cats, and I did burn my copy of the book....
We decided our cat would be a neutered in- house cat. The litter box thing is really very trivial when you take into account what he could be bringing in as a roamer- fleas, dead snake offerings, etc. I also feel a responsibility in cleaning up after my pet - I did it with my dog, so I guess the cat is no different....kind of weird, I know.
The closest to the outdoors our cat gets is a screened in back porch....we have been very lucky with regard to fleas and mites. To be quite honest, and I guess it's because I'm still a rather new cat fancier, but I never could understand how an outdoor wandering type cat can really be a pet - it's kind of like people that put their dogs in a run and leave them outdoors....that's a pet? Well I guess I could make this a whole different thread LOL!
I do look at a pet as a member of the family, but if they are a source of a health problem to the humans, they are expendable, IMO. They are animals and more easily disposed of (given away, euthanized, etc) than a human family member. Yes, animals have feelings, but they are not human....sorry I have a pretty analytical view when it comes to animals, so I'm probably hurting some feelings. I certainly don't endorse euthanizing a pet for something as simple as fleas. I'm not a bit fan of euthanasia in general.
Two of us in our family have bartonella and of course the darn cat could appear to be a contributor in all of this. My mother really dislikes cats and believes Owen made us ill. I've asked my kids' llmd and he said while certainly it is very possible (cat scratch fever), it is highly unlikely in our case....
Guess we should have Owen tested for bart....
My suggestion, be a responsible pet owner. If you want to continue having this cat as a pet, make him an indoor cat. If not, then put him up for adoption. I can certainly understand your wife's frustration, because it is similiar to my Mom's. But there are some things that can be controlled such as the flea business and making the cat a house cat. Yes, there is a certain degree of paranoia that comes from being sick with a tick borne disease, but I like to think that diligence is a better option....just be cautious and be aware. cootiegirl
I don't know ....Like I have said before I have 2 indoor cats that I clean up after and they dont ever have a flea on-em. Of course I dont like carpets either and I do think fleas love carpet. My barn cats are very much a part of the family waiting outside the kitchen door every day to meow and greet us. They have done fine with frontline Plus but I understand that the buggers get resistent so who knows. Heck my horse got ehrlichea and I wouldnt part with her ever. They are my responsibility just like my children.
I guess if it really freaks your wife out that she cant live comfortable living in the same house with the cat then find a home for it. There are adoption rescues all over if you cannot find a suitable home. Its not his fault. Pattiecake
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I am not thrilled to be contributing to this thread. But I think my experience is important to the topic.
I should first say that I have had pets all my life. Cats, dogs, fish, birds, guinea pigs. But my favorite have been my cats. I have some fond memories of a few of them.
It is quite probable that the indoor-outdoor cats we owned a few years ago infected my son and me. We certainly pulled ticks off of them (and each other) often enough. When we moved to a no-pet place, one cat went with my daughter to college, another went to a neighbor, and our oldest pet went back to the shelter when my ex decided not to take him at the last minute.
After a year, my son's depression (later found to be Lyme) became severe. We pushed the townhouse association to allow us to get a kitten for him, indoors only. All went well until my daughter came home with her cat for a visit. The cats fought viciously, and my daughter and I were badly scratched trying to break them up. My daughter ended up in the emergency room on IV for an infected hand. Bartonella, perhaps?
A year later, we moved out of state. Our young cat came along, travelling placidly in a cat carrier most of the way, cowering in my lap when we let him loose in the car for a bit. But in our new home, he completely changed. He would fly into unexpected rages, badly clawing me just for walking by, or for coming in the door. The vet had to trap him in a net to contain him for an examination. My son was sometimes afraid of him. Finally, one day the cat just lost it, stalking me around the house to attack me. My legs were punctured and scratched bloody, right through the pants. I have never ever seen a cat act like that.
Did the cat have Bartonella? Probably. But we don't have enough money to get ourselves well, let alone a cat. And even if he WAS treated, could we ever trust that the animal would not attack again? Could I in good conscience give the animal to another owner?
I had to capture our pet in a Have-A-Heart trap, and the shelter told me I could bring him in. I did what I had to do, though it broke my heart. My son understood, though it broke his heart, too.
Sorry, but the decisions over TBD-infected pets are sometimes more difficult than you might think.
I used a 2-pronged attack to keep them under control on my puppy - I use both a topical (frontline or advantix) as well as a product called "Program" -which is a pill that actually stops the life cycle of the flea - if a flea bites your animal when they are taking "program", it makes them unable to reproduce/lay eggs.
It is available from your vet or Drs Foster & Smith.
This was really the only way to get his flea situation under control, when I can't control his environment!
Put your pets on Sentinel. It keeps the fleas from reproducing (as well as guarding against heartworms). I have 7 dogs and all are on Sentinel and WE DON'T HAVE FLEAS even though a couple of the dogs do come in every now and then.
We also live on 16 wooded acres but we keep the dogs in a large fenced area so they don't run through the woods. We also put out Spectracide granules, in the cleared areas, in the Spring.
Fleas and ticks can be controlled on pets. I would NEVER euthanize my pets for that reason.
If your wife is truly freaked, find another home for the cat; if we euthanize other living creatures to "protect" ourselves from any possible contamination that they MIGHT bring with them, what would we have left? A world full of only humans? OMG, what a horrible thought. And we STILL wouldn't be rid of the pests like roaches ...........
First and foremost, I have three cats and a ferret. I love my animals to death. I have had one of my lymed friends ask me "why do you do that, as in why do I get these animals"
Because I love them and they are family, period. If someone tried to hurt one of them, i would squash them.
So in light of that, euthanize the cat? Thats just freaking cruel. I wouldnt want anyone to put me to sleep- afterall, I am a carrier of lyme! Geesh.
ON THE OTHER HAND. If your wife is scared for her health, then by all means, you should side with your wife. Who knows what that kitty MAY be giving your wife. Are you willing to risk that? But dont KILL IT for gods sakes.
If you can't rectify the situation by 1.) keeping it indoors- big no brainer there 2.) Using frontline or some other situate on it 3.) FLEA BOMB YOUR HOUSE 4.) take it to the vet, keep it healthy, etc
Then yeah, get rid of it, by means other than killing. I dont know of a vet alive that would kill a cat because it has fleas.
I also was horrified at the suggestion of putting your animals to sleep. I am glad to see others were too. My daughter is the only one in our family with lyme. She has been reinfected at least one other time. We wondered why it was just her. Then we realized that the cat loves her the most and sleeps with her. I do animal rescue and have six cats and one dog. Only one cat and the dog go outside. They both are checked for fleas/ticks. They both have frontline on at all times. The problem with frontline is that the tick will not attatch to them but, they can still carry them into the house. Our animals are family memebers. The cat no longer sleeps with my daughter and we just check, and recheck all the time. Since we realized what was happening, and have been tick paranoid, she has not been reinfected and none of us have gotten lyme and we still have all of our animals. There is nothing wrong with a little paranoia if it is directed towards the right place. Good Luck
Posts: 70 | Registered: Nov 2001
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I haven't read the replies but I think you have surely lost your mind. You would KILL a pet, instead of thinking of a more creative way to take care of the problem? How about a litter box? now there is a concept. How about adoption? How about giving it to a friend? It doesn't sound like you are responsible enough, or deserve, the devotion you will get from a pet. Please, give it to a good home. I can't believe you would even suggest such a thing.
having read the replies I am relieved to hear you are not going to kill your pet but I strongly suggest you get rid of the wife. what a frickin paranoid monster. yeah, you're gonna have healthy kids. they'll be agoraphobic and suspicious of the world around them.