Friday, September 19, 2014

Diatowhatsis whatsis?

So, add this to the column of "Things I should probably not be admitting":

In addition to ringworm, my household also had fleas.

Yes, I flea-and-tick treat my cats.  And my foster cats. Religiously during the warm months, as my neck of the woods is Tick City.  And Pony gets treated year-round, due to his immune issues.

So, I treat all of the cats I can get my hands on, i.e., Pony, Soda, Tinks, and Bindi.

Who does that leave out?

Callie.  Meet the Flea Factory:

I can't get within five feet of her, thus, I can't flea-treat her.  And she DOES have fleas.  My other cats are unaffected, as they are flea-protected, but Callie and I are the only two animals in the house who are NOT flea-treated, and we both?  Are flea-bitten.

Aye-yi-yi this foster biz.

So.  I started researching flea control methods.  A fogger bomb was out, as were standard insecticides, because I have no way of removing Callie from the premises during treatment.  (Doesn't she look stressed, in that pic above?  DOESN'T SHE?  Little sh*t.)

And then, I remembered another blogger (if it was you; speak up - I can't remember WHICH blogger) had mentioned some kind of ... dust.  Some all-natural treatment.  Something ... earth.  Dia-something-something earth.

So I googled "dia earth", and up popped

Diatomaceous earth.

Turns out diatomaceous earth is one of those products, like vinegar, that will supposedly cure everything but cancer. And maybe cancer, too.  It's a talc-like substance that is evidently the remains of fossil shells blah blah blah snooooooze.

And it will kill fleas. And ticks.  And silverfish and bedbugs and whatever other little nasties are lurking in the carpeting.

Sold!  While at Agway a couple of weekends ago for an adoption event, I picked up a bag of it.  And spread it liberally all over the house.  And, because I do like to hedge my pets (typo and it stays) and I also like my toys, I picked up one of these:

I could not resist the graphic of the fleas merrily traipsing toward the trap.  "LA LA LA LA SH****T!"  Ha.

While the flea trap did not capture any fleas (I didn't set it up until a couple of days after I had spread the earth), I can say with confidence that the amount of scratching going on in my household has substantially decreased since I used the diatomaceous earth.  And I, at least, am no longer flea-bitten.  I can't speak for Callie, but she seems happier as well.  Diatomaceous earth FTW!

And I am curious:  Have any of you guys used diatomaceous earth?  For fleas or other uses? Of which there are about ten billion, at least according to the internet.  Do any of you actually ... eat it?  Or feed it to your pets?  Enquiring minds want to know.


Robyn said...

I use it! We have a real ant problem around here, and were having an issue with ants taking over the cat houses in the back yard. I cleaned out the cat houses, sprinkled a layer of DE under the houses and inside the houses, and the ants haven't been back. We sprinkle it in and around the chicken coop to lessen the flies (I'd love to eradicate the flies altogether, but I don't see that ever happening. Grrr, FLIES.) I've added it to the chicken feed as well in the past - that worked well, but I'm lazy and don't get out there often enough to keep up with it.

In the past, I've given it to kittens with diarrhea when nothing else would help - sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. I've heard of people who add it to litter boxes, but I've never done that.

I've never ingested any of it myself, though!

~~Silk said...

Back when I had dogs and outdoor cats, I always used diatomacious earth. Tell people to be sure to get the "food grade" stuff, and don't pay an exorbitant price just because it says "for fleas/cats/dogs" on the package. Plain old general purpose food grade is the same thing/. Yeah, it works. And it doesn't kill your beastie's kidneys like insecticides will.

rockygrace said...

Robyn, maybe it was your blog I read about it on? I hear ya on the flies - this time of year with the weather getting colder (up here, anyway), they get all slow and dozy and they drive me NUTS.

I did put it in the litterboxes, because supposedly it helps with worms. (I also worm all of my cats, btw, EXCEPT FOR THAT STINKER CALLIE. I even tried crushing up a chewable wormer in her food and she just ignored it. She foils all my plans! I'm going to have to live-trap her when it's vaccination time - THAT should be fun.)

and ~~Silk, yep, thanks for pointing out that it needs to be "food grade". Very important. The cheapest place I've found it is on ebay.

~~Silk said...

Daughter has three cats (two go in-and-out) and this year has been her worst flea year yet. Because of Nugget she has to be careful what she uses. When the borax failed, I suggested D.E. and that seems to have done the trick. It might help with the ringworm, too, since it's carried by fleas.

Domestic Kate said...

Kira had some fleas on her (because I'm a terrible cat-mom and didn't treat her for a couple months), and now that I've treated her and vacuumed and laundered all the blankets, I think we're good, but I'd really hate for our new place to get infested. So, thanks for the tip!

James P. said...

I'm just thinking.......if you added "fleabitten" to your writeup on your personals ad in the singles columns, then the guys would read that as an adventurous chick who could handle adversity in life. Fleas FTW! (Thanks, Callie.)

~~Silk said...

Getting back to the cat skeleton post - your last comment said something about a Facebook prank. I think we have all been very patient. What is it???!!!

rockygrace said...

~~Silk, talking to people at adoption events, the flea sitch has really exploded around here in the past few weeks. Don't know why. Maybe the cooler weather is bringing them in?

Kate, I wouldn't use the DE as the FIRST line of defense, since my cats spend so much time outside, but it's certainly helping curb the problem with Callie. And according to the web it's good for all KINDS of things, although I don't know how much faith I put in that.

Ginny, just go ahead and write up that ad, mkay? I'll post it and we'll see what happens. I predict scary things.

oh, and ~~Silk, here's my idea. Rescue groups have a saying, "You never see a cat skeleton up a tree". It's used to reassure frantic cat owners that their cat will indeed come down from the tree it's gotten stuck in. We get a lot of these calls now that the local fire departments have stopped responding to cat calls. (Ha! See what I did there?)

ANYway, my idea was to take a pic of one of my cats in a tree (Soda and Tinks go up quite often; thankfully, they also know how to get back down) and post it on facebook, all, "Oh nooooo, my cat's stuck in a treeeeee!"

And then post brief updates. Day 2, Day 5, etc. Then radio silence, then come back, preferably on Halloween (or April Fool's, whichever) with the pic of the skeleton in the tree. "Oh noooooo look what happened!"

Ha. Yeah. I'm a sick f*ck.

~~Silk said...

Ha! Do it. The worst thing that can happen is that some folks get upset that you worried them. The best thing is that an off-duty fireman hunk shows up with a ladder - in which case you real quick throw a cat up there.