Friday, August 04, 2006

A Live Update from Nashville, TN

Recently in the news, Stoker and I got a new kitten. We adopted him for $100 from the Nashville Cat Rescue, via Petsmart. Supposedly this boy, who was named Ken for reasons beyond me, had been treated for fleas. Stupidly I took this at face value.

When I got him home and secured away from our ‘resident cat’ Bastet, I noticed fleas in his incredibly blond fur (which hereafter will be referred to as ‘buff’, should I have occasion to mention it again). I’m not sure if it’s one hundred percent accurate to say, but I’ll say it anyway, in Utah we didn’t have problems with fleas in our cats and nearly all of our cats had been strays. Maybe I just never saw the fleas, I don’t know.

But that’s one of the big problems I have with the south or mid-south, whatever you want to call it. The humidity makes it prime for millions of bugs to flourish. I’m not kidding. Some of the scariest bugs I’ve ever seen and I’m what you might call a bug-lover. At one time, during college, I considered becoming an entomologist. That was back when I was na├»ve about bugs. The bugs in Utah are generally small and non-threatening. That was before I’d encountered a cockroach. Damn the cockroaches! They scare the hell out of me.

Anyway. Sobek*, as we named him later—choosing to stick with the grandiose Egyptian pet-naming tradition (though, I must say, after being at my job, plagued by Egyptian history day in and day out, I’m weary of Egyptian anything)—had fleas. Obviously I freaked out. I hurried to the nearby Petco and bought some stupid flea shampoo. It didn’t work because Ken (as he was known then) went ballistic when I tried to give him a bath. You have to keep it on them for about 5 minutes. That wasn't going to happen. And being a novice at animal grooming, I avoided washing his face and ears, the spot you should wash first because the damn fleas hide inside the ears as soon as they’re threatened. Apparently. I tried a stupid flea comb (also purchased at Petco) and that didn’t work on his short hair and bony body. But I had a grand old time picking a few fleas off him with my fingers and drowning them. A tip: you should use soapy water for that. In plain water the fleas just swim around looking for a way out. They’re survivors, you know.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the fleas. Succumbing to buyers’ remorse, which is horrible because the kitten was sweet and needed a home and Bastet needed a friend. I itched everywhere, thinking in my sleepy, delusional state that I had fleas and the bed was full of fleas. I was worried that our apartment was going to quickly become a breeding ground for fleas. The next day after work, I went to the vet and got some Frontline. Two doses: one for Bastet, one for Sobek (as he was now called). Two doses were $30. I also bought some flea spray for the apartment. That was about $20.

Did I mention that the kitty bed and kitty food for Sobek was about $18?. And the flea shampoo and book Kittens for Dummies was about $28. You should be keeping a total.

So I sprayed the entire apartment with the flea spray. The Frontline began working immediately, paralyzing the little bastards. By my count he had about 15 fleas, but some of them might have fallen off into the carpet. I’m not sure. I also washed the bathroom towels, the comforter and bed sheets and any blanket he laid upon. Stoker thought I was going nuts, I’m sure. But I wasn’t. I’m the wife, the protector of hearth and home, or at least hearth and apartment (we have a fireplace). I was simply being radically practical.

At some point in the few days we had him, Sobek hurt his paw. He began limping. It turned out to be an abscess. Stoker fretted. He couldn’t sleep. He adores Sobek, you see. Which I find adorable. On Saturday, Stoker and Sobek went to the vet. They sedated him, lanced the wound in his paw, drained it, flushed it and sent Sobek home with antiobiotics. This cost $118.

Have you kept track? I haven’t. Until now. My rough estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of $330.

But he’s worth it. At first it was hard to think so, because I hadn’t bonded with him. But we’re good friends now. And he and Bastet, while getting off to a rocky start, are learning how to play together. She’s not so lonely anymore. We got Sobek so her days weren’t spent in so much solitude. Now they chase each other down the hall and it makes me happy.

In other news I’m looking for a better job. A job with higher pay and benefits. Stoker is doing exceptionally well at his job as a staff engineer. I’m really proud of him. The other day I met a woman who is either a pathological liar, or she leads a completely unbelievable life. She claimed that the first three season of Alias were based on her life. True? Or delusional? It’s hard to say, isn’t it.

*No, he does not resemble a crocodile.


highmae said...

its so random that i decided to check your blog today since your last post was a million years ago. congrats on the new baby. we are currently in the midst of a full force war against copper's fleas. we can get them off of him, but nothing seems to repel them when he goes outside to do his doggie business. that's the super thing about cats...if you can get them de-fleaed (new word i think) and your apartment is un-fleaed (i figured i was on a roll...) then you are set because they go to the bathroom in their own little kitty potty. copper has to go outside so that he can do his part in making the grass greener. but we are getting through it. summer is coming to a fast close so when (although lately it feels more like an "if") the colder weather arrives, the fleas will head deeper south for the winter.
but enough flea talk (i am starting to itch).
i hope things are well for you.
drop me a line.

Matthew said...

Hey, it's good to see you back in the blogosphere.

I commend you for taking the flea problem by the horns. I like having a cat in the house, despite the fact that cats are so high maintenance and demanding of attention. They just act as though they are "independent."

Aries327 said...

Jamie --

Good to hear from you. I went to Wild Oats a while ago, but it was awkward. I felt silly so I haven't been back since. I miss you though. I'm glad you're reading my blog. Keep it up. As for Copper, have you given him Frontline? I swear it's a godsend. Try it if you haven't. You have to get it from a vet.

Matthew --

Thanks for your comment. Our cats are pretty high maintenance, but easier than a dog. However, they seem to be having a litter box war. Or something. I've never seen so much poop. Ha ha. But it's certainly better then having to take them outside to do their business.