Kitty Times - Special Edition

Hi Fellow Cat Lovers!

I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

As you probably know, I was out of town earlier this month and the Aug. 21 edition
of Kitty Times went out on "auto pilot."

I'm home now and am already putting together some stories and tips for the Sept. 7
edition. It was good to get away from here for a week - something I have not been
able to do in more than ten years.

Rescuing and sheltering animals (mostly cats) is rewarding but often overwhelming
work... not to mention costly. So, with no time or money to go anywhere, I just don't.

Thanks to my kids, as they made it possible for me to have a short getaway. One even
flew out to take the reins during my absence so I could visit old friends and places where
I grew up. The word "grateful" is hardly adequate to describe how I feel.

But be glad it wasn't you. You would have experienced the general daily grind of routine
care - feeding, cleaning, occasional emergencies, lack of sleep, etc. The part I feel worst
about is what happened while I was gone and that my daughter had to deal with alone.

As you know, this summer has been especially hot - still with no end in sight - and the
relentless rains a few months ago set the stage for something that has never occurred here,
that I know of.

It's called a population explosion. No, not birds. They seem to have left for greener, cooler
places. Not rabbits. Haven't seen any this summer. And the rescue animals are spayed and
neutered. No, it was insects. Not as many ticks this summer, and about the same amount of
flies. No, this is the "Year of the Flea."

I've never had fleas in my shelter or my home before. Unfortunately, they mushroomed into
a nightmare while my daughter was here. Of all times for me to be gone.

She did a great job of getting things handled, though, which I took over when I got back. Things
are under control now, thanks to her early on-site work and the remote assistance of my other

I'm bringing this up for one reason: In case you ever have to deal with fleas, I want to share with
you the things that worked, as well as things that have not worked.

Here is the concept I'm working with:

1. Treat the animals.
Products (some work, some don't work): Shampoo, sprays, powders, "spot-on" drops, drugs, essential oils.
Flea comb.

2. Treat the environment.
Products (foggers, sprays).

After experimenting with such products as flea powder, flea spray, pills, drops and shampoos, here is
what has been working. This may or may not work for you, as everyone's situations and locations are

First, all the dogs and cats got a Capstar, a pill that kills adult fleas on the animal within 24 hours.

Then, they all got a dose of Lufenuron ("Program") which kills the eggs the fleas lay, but only the fleas
that were on the animal when they got the Lufenuron. It lasts for a month, if all goes well.

Then, I sprayed the house and the yard with Cedarcide, a non-toxic cedar oil solution that kills fleas and
eggs in the environment. Room foggers are somewhat helpful, but not to be relied on and are toxic. A liberal
sprinkling of DE (diatomaceous earth) helps, too. It just makes it look like someone had a baby powder fight
in your house!

Nothing kills the pupa, the encased stage in the flea lifecycle. So this means you have to repeat the
treatments in a week or so to catch the ones that managed to survive and hatch.

Then, one must vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Every day. All day long (or so it seems). I'm still in this phase.
Also, all bedding, towels and other items the pets use must be laundered. Frequently.

I set out some flea traps, but they cannot be relied on for flea control. I consider them to simply be an
indicator of progress. At first, the traps filled up fast. Now they fill up slowly. This only means I'm "getting
there." When no fleas show up in the traps, I'll be happy.

An added problem is that I have a new kitten here, only weeks old, and too young to be treated with anything.
He is a "flea magnet" which has resulted in his mother having very few on her. I had to bathe him every day
with gentle shampoo. I then used a citrus blend of aromatherapy oils, which kills fleas on contact. I simply
used an eyedropper to get the fleas that didn't wash away. Then I just picked them off and rinsed him. His
mother then completed the bath with her tongue. (She was dumped in my yard shortly before we left on our
vacation, thanks to some irresponsible, inconsiderate person.) Now that she has been treated, it passes through
her milk to the kitten, so he has become flea-free, too. Mama Sable and baby Leo are isolated for everyone's

Well, look for your Kitty Times on the 7th for more stories and updates!

Thanks for being here!

RJ Peters