It would seem as though the fleas have been eradicated, and with them the worst of the hives. It would be impossible to say which of several methods had the most effect on the flea infestation, but here’s what we did:
- Applied flea medication to both the dog and the cat.
- Rubbed lemon juice and/or vinegar into the dog and the cat’s fur. To my surprise, the cat wasn’t bothered about the vinegar – it also made his pelt very soft.
- Sprayed white vinegar over all the household rugs. Apparently fleas really hate it.
- Sprayed flea poison around the outside wall of the house and inside around the sideboards and the bottoms of cupboards.
- Vacuumed, vacuumed, vacuumed.
- Dunked the cat in the pool. This last one was an impromptu idea on a hot day. The cat wasn’t even slightly perturbed, although he was less than enthusiastic. He proved himself an adept swimmer but less capable of wringing cold water from his pelt – so I rubbed him dry with a towel. Whether or not it affected the flea population, the salt water can’t have done any harm.
Much to our relief, both animals stopped scratching themselves after a few days. The dog could then sleep peacefully and the cat regained his accustomed air of dignity. Unfortunately the same could not by said for my mum and I. The hives persisted stubbornly so we slathered ourselves with tea tree cream and aloe vera gel, and dosed up on antihistamines. Eventually however they subsided. My legs are still covered with faint spots, but they aren’t itchy and there aren’t any more appearing. Phew. At last I can rest easy, not worrying that the whole household is infested. And vacuuming will return to normal schedule.
P.S. Just in case we get bored now that the fleas are gone, the tiles have started falling off the edge of the pool and the lock to the cellar door has rusted shut.