Tag Archives: fleas

Our New Catio Has It’s Drawbacks

Last week we had an incident that I can’t really explain. We had the door open to the new catio just enough for a cat to get through. Chris was lying inside looking out the door and growling. It was that growl that you sometimes hear when a cat encounters an unknown cat. I looked out to see what the problem was and saw he was directing that growl at Frankie. When Frankie saw me he tried to come inside and Chris attacked him. I had to break it up and for a long time afterward, we had to keep them separated.

Rose thought an outside cat had sprayed Frankie through the screen but I never heard of a cat spraying another cat. Besides, there was no sign of a wet spot on the screens. I assumed he got into something that made him smell different but a quick inspection of the catio revealed nothing unusual.

What was unusual was that his ears were twitching and he was scratching himself. Rose checked him for fleas but nothing was obvious so I brought her the flea comb and she tried again. This time she combed out at least three live fleas.

Since they were due for their flea medication we put it on Frankie and on Floki, which wasn’t easy, at least for Floki. Chris had a three-month flea med put on him a couple of months ago so he wasn’t due yet. Rose also said she didn’t want them going outside anymore, but that didn’t last.

20180313_cats on patio_Frankie and Chris14520180313_cats on patio_Frankie135

The next morning Chris and Frankie were getting along and nobody was scratching themselves. I put some diatomaceous earth down in the house to help control any stray fleas and I plan on getting a flea spray to put around the perimeter of the house. I am told there are environmentally friendly sprays out there so I will be looking for that today.

As far as what happened to Frankie that got Chris so upset, I still don’t have a clue.

One other issue I noticed, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, is that everyone seems to have a hard time deciding on what side of the door they want to be on.

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When they do make a decision, they change their minds as soon as the door is closed.


Puck Visits the Vet… Again

Puck’s last vet visit left us with some hope. We went to a new place called The Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor for Puck’s over-grooming problem. The vet put him on a limited ingredient diet and didn’t push the steroids and antibiotics that most vets use to solve all problems that cats have. He did suggest antibiotics as an option but did not push it. He also suggested a Feliway diffuser to help with Puck’s stress, which we bought and plugged in between the Catio and living room.

Unfortunately, after giving the diet and Feliway a good amount of time to work, we saw little improvement. I then tried changing their water and gave them bottled spring water. Puck seemed to improve slightly after that but then got worse again. I hesitated to bring him back to the vet for fear that they would use the nuclear option of steroids and antibiotics but I had to do something so I made an appointment for last Saturday.

My wife went with us this time and just as we were ready to put Puck in his cat carrier, Frankie went inside of it and I couldn’t get him out. I tried reaching in and pushing but that didn’t work. I then picked up the carrier and turned it so the opening was facing the floor but Frankie held on like he was Spidercat. I finally had to shake it to convince him that maybe there were better places to nap.

Puck was good and didn’t cry one time on the way to the vet but when the vet tech needed to get him out of the carrier he decided to apply the lessons he learned from Frankie and made it very difficult for her.

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After the vet tech left, Puck just stayed where he was. If that was Chris, he would be exploring the exam room.


We saw Dr. Murphy, the owner of the clinic. Dr. Murphy had a lot of good reviews when I was originally looking for a new vet and I noticed he was trained in traditional and holistic medicine, which is what I was looking for. Puck saw another vet the first time we came but I wasn’t disappointed. He seemed to know what he was doing.

The Doctor ran a flea comb through what was left of Puck’s fur and found no sign of the little buggers but he still suspected fleas might be the culprit. I have not been a fan of putting poison on the cats and even bought a container of Diatomaceous Earth, which is a natural, edible product that kills fleas, to spread around their napping areas. Rose is more concerned about effectiveness and has insisted we treat our cats with Advantage for several months now. That started when Frankie escaped and came home with a flea.

We told the vet we were using Advantage and he said it no longer works in our county because the fleas have become resistant to it. Later he said that it doesn’t work in the entire state of Florida. That was a shock because it is very expensive. It’s $58 for six treatments on Amazon but we were buying it locally at Petsmart and paying around $80 or so, with the two pack being much more per dosage. A lot of money for a product that doesn’t work.

He said Revolution works 90% of the time and it has the added benefit of preventing heartworm. He seemed to think it is very safe for the cat. He also recommended another product that was even better but only controlled fleas. That product was called Activyl.

In the end, Puck ended up getting a shot of Steroids and antibiotics. I think I should find a supply of steroids and antibiotics and start treating cats in the neighborhood for a fee because that is always the solution. Do you think I’d get in trouble? Actually, the vet was very nice and really seemed to care so I need to trust that he knows what he is doing.

We also got a tube o Activyl for each of the cats and the doctor put it on Puck. He said he wanted us to use that for six months and by then we should know if fleas are Puck’s problem. After six months, he recommended we switch to Revolution for the added heartworm protection.

Rose was also convinced she saw tiny black spots on Chris and Frankie’s tails, indicating fleas were there, even though there were no fleas found on any of the cats. Nevertheless, she also had them add a shampoo to our bill which ended up to be about $230.

When we got home, Chris and Frankie were more interested in Puck’s carrier then they were in Puck.


It wasn’t long before they forgot about that because Rose decided to wash their tails and backside. Chris was first and he was miserable to deal with. He spent the entire time growling, hissing and crying while he struggled to get free.


He then went into the living room to groom himself. Frankie was very curious what happened to him but he soon found out. At least Frankie was a little better behaved than Chris.


It wasn’t long before Frankie was in the living room grooming himself too.


I sure hope this works for Puck because I don’t know what else we can do.

The Outdoor Adventures of Frankie D. Cat

Chris and Frankie have both been increasingly annoying lately in their attempts to get one of us to let them outside. Frankie is the vocal one. He will make lots of noise while sitting and staring at the door. Chris is the sneaky one. Every time I go outside I check to make sure there is no cat around and then make a quick dash out the door. More often than you could imagine, before I get a chance to close the door, Chris is already outside.

At least I don’t have to worry too much about Chris running off and often I will let him stay out for a few minutes before I bring him in. He mostly just eats grass or lies on the driveway. If I leave him out too long he will start to wander off and then I know it is time to bring him in.

Frankie I have to worry about. If he escapes it is very difficult to catch him. He tends to travel far from home and I worry if I ever lose track of him he might not remember how to get home. So to allow Frankie to have some outside time and also to let him get used to the neighborhood, I have been trying to take him for a walk more often lately.

cat Frankie on stump

These walks are always an adventure. Granted, a good part of the time spent outside is Frankie standing around smelling bushes.

Some of the walk is a bit boring for me, as you can see from the video, but there is always some excitement, such as Frankie trying to run after a bunny or a lizard. On our last walk we had both of those plus a snake, which required great effort to keep him from catching.

One time we even encountered a big dog off his leash.

The camera just stopped recording at that point but everything turned out fine. The dog owner apologized and said the dog was best friends with a cat at home. Even so, I hope he keeps him on a leash from now on.

The main problem I have with taking Frankie out is that the more he goes out the more he wants to go out. At least, that used to be the main problem. A new, bigger problem appeared the other day.

On Friday Rose noticed what she thought was an eye booger on Frankie but when she removed it she discovered it was a flea. That led to DEFCON 5 in our house and we had to buy flea medication for all the cats, which I don’t like because it is unhealthy for them, but Rose thinks my all natural methods are a bit crazy at times and I knew I wouldn’t win this round with fleas in the house. We bought a six-pack of Advantage II for cats at PetSmart which was expensive, about $76 before tax. I then discovered it on Amazon for much less but we needed it right away.

Now Rose insists that Frankie and Chris never go out again. I don’t agree with that but for now Frankie is stuck inside. Chris has already been out this morning but only because he is better than Frankie at escaping.

Puck’s Vet Adventure

Puck has always groomed himself more than the other cats but recently we noticed he had licked much of the fur of his belly, the inside of his legs and his back, near his tail. It was time for him to visit the vet but we didn’t have a vet for him. We had a vet for Tigger, near our old house, but his solution to Tigger’s recurrent mouth infections was steroids or antibiotics whenever the problem flared up. That probably helped send him to an early grave.

I wanted a vet that would take a more holistic approach but the only holistic vet I could find in the area has no office and only does house calls, which is a bit over my budget now. I ended up choosing the vet that is just down the street from our house. I figured it was a crap shoot so I might as well pick close.

I work four days a week and get one day off. That day is flexible and usually based on how busy we are, but my needs are factored in as well. I happened to have an appointment at the dermatologist for a check up that morning so it was decided that would be a good day to take off.  I called the vet and made an appointment for 11:00 a.m., two and a half hours after my doctor’s appointment.

When I got home I took a carrier out of the shed and placed it on the floor on the patio. I didn’t want to wait until the last minute and risk Puck retreating under the bed from the sight of it. I had nothing to worry about. All three cats were drawn to it like a magnet.

Frankie was the first inside and Chris and Puck did not like that.

Cats checking out carrier

Is there room for two, Frankie?

Cats checking out carrier

Ok Frankie, my turn!

Cats checking out carrier

I’m just gonna rub my scent all over this thing until you come out.

Eventually, Frankie came out and Chris went in.

Chris in carrier

Frankie! What’s that smell?

cat Chris in carrier

Ok, I’m in. Now what?

When the time arrived, I put Puck in the carrier, placed him in the front seat of the truck and drove the whopping two minutes to the vet’s office. We sat in the waiting room for about a minute and then were ushered into the examination room where we waited for about ten minutes or more for someone to come in.

That happens to me often at doctor’s appointments (as it did that same morning) and I don’t much care for ir. I would prefer to wait in the waiting room where there is a television, magazines and other people. The exam room has nothing to look at except posters showing the inside of one part of the body or another. This particular time I did not mind waiting in that room because I was able to let Puck out of his carrier.

Our cat Puck at the vet.

Where am I?

Our cat Puck at the vet.

Are those dogs I hear?

Our cat Puck at the vet.

I think I will hang out back here.

Chris would have explored the room but Puck was content to stay close. He even wanted to go back in his carrier at one point because of the barking dogs he could hear but I closed it. I didn’t want to have to get him out of there when the vet came in.

When the technician came in, I tried to hand her Puck but that didn’t go so well. He climbed over my shoulders to get behind me and scratched me pretty good in the process. I was able to hand him to her on the second try. She weighed him and possibly a couple of other things that I don’t remember and then left.

We then sat and waited for the vet. I think Puck was ready to go at that point.

Our cat Puck at the vet.

Can we go home now?

After a couple of minutes the vet came in to examine Puck. She suspected that he could be having an allergic reaction to flea bites, even though she could find no trace of fleas on him. When I told her the problem started not long after we moved, she said that fleas can lay dormant in a house and then become active when they have a host. I told her my other cats show no signs of fleas but that didn’t seem to matter.

Vet examining our cat Puck

She told me a food allergy would present itself more in the face and a psychological grooming problem would not include the bumps or swelling. She also said that because he was missing fur on his back, near his tail (in addition to his belly and insides of his legs) , that was another indication of fleas. She then recommended a flea treatment for Puck and our other cats along with a shot that was both a steroid and antibiotic. Where have I heard that before?

I’ll be honest. I don’t like the flea treatments. I think it is like every other drug; it helps with one problem while causing others. The same is true for steroids and antibiotics, but I also believe that some drugs can be beneficial in the short term and the vet wasn’t suggesting more than one dose of any of it, so I agreed but I didn’t get flea treatments for the other cats because I am not convinced it is a problem.

When I left, they gave me a sheet describing something called Miliary Dermatitis, which says:

Cats can get a condition called miliary dermatitis, which is the descriptive term used for a cutaneous reaction pattern of focal (localized) or generalized small papules (bumps) or crusts. Miliary dermatitis is not a specific disease. It is secondary to many other diseases.

Causes of miliary dermatitis include insect (flea, mosquito, ear mite, etc.) bite hypersensitivity, atopy (sensitivity to aero-allergens such as pollen, mold, house dust mites, etc.), adverse reaction to a food, bacterial superficial folliculitis (inflamed skin follicles), dermatophytosis (fungal disease), feline scabies, mast cell tumors, and pemphigus foliaceus. Flea hypersensitivity is the most common cause of miliary dermatitis.

Source: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2969

Upon returning home, Chris made sure Puck got plenty of attention.

Bad cat Chris grooming Puck

I’m so glad you’re home. Where have you been?

Bad cat Chris grooming Puck

Why do you smell like dog?

It seems like the treatment has helped a little. Puck is still grooming a lot but not quite as much as before. On the down side, Puck is now sneezing quite often. I think he caught something at the vet’s office.