Well we certainly had a day full of adventure yesterday.
For a couple of days, we’d noticed some fleas on the cats. I have no idea how on earth these two got them, since they’re 99% indoor, and the only outdoor exposure they get is on our 2nd-floor deck. I suppose either this apartment came with fleas already installed, or my one friend with indoor/outdoor cats brought some over when she visited.
Anyway, we kept an eye on the cats and didn’t notice any more scratching than usual. But then yesterday we suddenly saw that Commie had gnawed a little sore spot on his back. And going through his fur, he was loaded with fleas and flea dirt.
We figured that we’d need to treat the cats and the house both. So off to the pet store we went, to check out our options.
We ended up getting those fine-toothed flea combs and some flea-killing shampoo. I decided against a bomb-fogger or boric acid on the carpets for now (I’m going to try the salt method first, since it’s so very harmless to us and the cats). And we opted to come home and research whether we wanted to go with flea collars or liquid treatments.
We combed the cats (Commie wasn’t a fan, but Trouble put up with it well) and dunked all of the fleas we found into a bowl of warm water. They drowned pretty quickly. Then we moved on to the bath.
Scott did this comic in 2006. Which was well after the last time we gave the cats a bath. So it’s been at least 5 years.
The cats did not deal with it well.
We did Trouble first; she moaned and writhed and meowed quite a bit, but then seemed resigned to her fate by the end. And when we let go of her after the rinsing was done, she actually sat there and let us towel her off a bit. Which was quite civil of her.
Then it was Commie’s turn. And he was way, WAY worse about the whole thing. And he’s also WAY stronger than Trouble. He was hard to hold, and very wriggly, and VERY pissed. So he did was any sensible cat would do when being held down and tortured; he lashed out with his teeth. And bit my finger. Twice.
For those of you who haven’t been bitten by a cat, their teeth are like little needles. And they go WAY in. And you need to wait for them to let go. And it hurts like hell.
We got the bath done, and set him free, where he proceeded to sit on the bathroom floor and tolerate a toweling-off. So at least neither of them made a beeline for the dusty under-bed. Scott did the toweling, while I cleaned my finger and doused it in hydrogen peroxide. I put on some antibiotic ointment, some gauze, wrapped a Band-Aid around it all, then went straight to visit Dr. Internet.
Dr. Internet said that a LOT of cat bites get infected, specifically because they’re so small and deep, and a cat can be a total Yuck Mouth. And oh, hey, Dr. Internet also said that if you’re a child or an oldster or don’t have the best immune system, you should totally visit an actual doctor immediately and start on some antibiotics.
Trouble tried to be helpful, in that she hopped right up on the desk and got her wet fur near the electronics. And then did some glaring.
Anyhoo, the tip of my finger was numb, and I’m immune-compromised, and even though I felt like the biggest hypochondriac in the world, we went to the emergency room (which we only seem to ever visit at 11 at night). I didn’t want to wait until this afternoon to go see my regular doctor and get antibiotics. So off we went, to the same ER we visited when I had the mysterious chest pain (which turned out to be a panic attack brought on by a vicious inner ear infection). At least they didn’t treat me like a hypochondriac. Everyone agreed that since I’m immune-compromised, it was absolutely the right move to get checked out and started on antibiotics right away.
Even when it’s a small thing, a trip to the ER takes 3 hours. First a trip to the triage room, where they took my vitals. And where I got to watch a baby throw up right outside the room. Poor kiddo. Back to the waiting room, then a trip down the hall to sit on a bed for an hour and a half. They looked at my finger, had me pay, gave me a tetanus shot, and sent me home. Of course, all of those steps had at least 15 or 20 minutes in between.
And if you haven’t had a tetanus shot lately (I don’t think I’d had one since stepping on a rusty nail as a kid), it’s a classic pinching-then-burning injection in the arm. What you don’t expect is how much it hurts the next day. At least rabies isn’t a concern, since we took the kids in last year for their 3-year booster.
They didn’t even cut away the skin flaps over the punctures (I did remove one, the big one in the middle, because it was hanging by a thread). So the big one looks worse than the rest, but the flap is covering a nice puncture near the top, and there are two other skinflaps covering holes on either side of the big one.
At least it took so long at the ER, I got the feeling back in the tip of my finger. So no nerves were severed, yay! It was swollen and warm, but that’s to be expected when you’re deeply stabbed with a needle-like object.
By the time we got home, the cats were more dry, and perfectly pleasant. And my worries about late-night retribution were for naught — they were actually more affectionate than normal, probably because they were delighted to have survived such a harrowing experience.
Today I treated them both with Advantage, combed more fleas out of Commie (he was totally up for it today, go figure), and did five loads of laundry, including all-new bedding. Tomorrow we’ll start with Project Carpet Salt, and hopefully tomorrow we’ll also start seeing more dead fleas than living fleas, since Advantage is supposed to really start kicking in around 12 hours after application.
Oh, and today the finger is all bruisey inside. But the swelling and pain have gone down.
At least I’ll finally have something to say when I’m asked, “Did you do anything interesting this weekend?”
(Besides, of course, starting Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which is lovely so far.)
(This post’s title gleefully mooched from the classic internet video “Charlie Bit Me“.)
(A tiny idiotic part of my mind is worried now that Commie has had a taste of delicious human blood.)