We have had Nora for just over a month. That sweet little puff ball who was rescued from a ditch where she had been left for dead shows no sign of her ordeal. None. Left hind leg working fine. Missing fur on tail grown back in. Abrasions healed.
Now she is a holy terror.
The big boys hate her, naturally.
She left her mama too young, so she didn't learn some basic kitten manners, like DO NOT BITE PEOPLE ON THE NOSE. Or anywhere else. Those teeth are like razors.
But she sleeps with me every night, starting out the night on top of my head, purring and snuggling in my hair (weirdly pathetic, as she still has miss-my-mama issues). At some point in the night, she crawls under the covers and sleeps at the foot of the bed. For hours. The other night, my husband thought she had to be dead, because how could she stay down there for so long without any fresh air? He nudged her and got no response. Nudged harder. Nothing. Reached under the covers and hauled her out, and sleepy and bleary-eyed, she flopped back down and continued her snooze. She's down to probably 7 lives at this point.
The latest Fun with Nora Pearl event happened Friday evening. I was sitting in my big chair while Fletcher laid on the arm next to me. I pulled out the kitty brush and began brushing him (which he loves). As I pulled fur out of the teeth of the brush (it's a de-thatching brush and is AMAZING at getting all that loose hair out of an indoor cat), something moved. Yes, MOVED.
Bear in mind that my cats DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. And we don't have a dog or goat or any other animal that might be the reason fleas got in the house, and that means...
I brushed and brushed poor Fletcher until he was nearly bald (and this is entirely possible, as I de-thatched Pete so enthusiastically when I first got that nifty comb that I did, indeed, make a bald patch on his back). Then I brushed Nora. Between the two of them, I got maybe a dozen fleas total. That's two dozen too many. I located Pete and brushed him (which he hates). I didn't find any live fleas, but I brushed out a LOT of flea dirt (for the uninformed, "flea dirt" is a nice way of saying flea poop, and flea poop is made out of your pet's blood, and yes, it's gross to think about). It seems the fleas were feasting on Pete, but hanging out on Nora and Fletcher, as neither of them had any flea dirt on them.
Now, my husband is sitting across the room the three hours or so that I brushed cats. Knowing the thought of fleas would alarm him, to put it mildly, I just kept my pie hole shut. Eventually, however, he noticed the brushing marathon and started asking questions. I dodged and deferred (no pun intended), but when I went to bed and Nora wrapped herself around my head, I had to keep telling myself that if there were fleas jumping from Nora onto me, they'd been doing it for quite awhile and I might as well just not worry about it.
Didn't sleep so well.
Saturday morning, under the umbrella of "running errands," I went by the vet's office, walked in the door, and said, "We have FLEAS!" Nora, otherwise known as Patient Zero, and who has had two doses of Revolution (for ear mites, although it also treats fleas and other parasites (ick), did not need anything further. The vet tech then asked for the boys' weights so she could get them the proper dosage of flea medication. Fletcher got the regular adult cat formula for his 12 lbs. (and he's down about three pounds since early summer, something that will need to be addressed at some point and that is hopefully just attributed to the fact that he's over 13 years old now).
The problem was that the dosage only went to 19 pounds, which is a VERY BIG cat; just not as big as MY cat.
The tech texted the vet for guidance. I was there when the vet called back and could hear her through the phone.
"27 POUNDS?! HE WEIGHS 27 POUNDS?!"
Long story short, lard ass Pete had to get a dog dose of flea medicine.
When I got home, I dosed the boys, then washed all the blankets they like to sleep on, just in case, and it was then that I broke the news to my husband that the cats all had fleas.
"I KNEW you were up to something when you spent three hours brushing cats last night!" he said, followed by, "I itch! I itch!" to which I responded, "No, you don't" although as I write this, I'm scratching my head where a certain kitten likes to lie and telling myself that people aren't natural hosts for fleas.
One of the items I washed was a fleecy cat bed that my mom bought for one of my cats many, many years ago. Pete used to love it, but he quit using it, and we assumed it was because he outgrew it. Ruby slept in it occasionally, but it pretty much languished in a corner of my bedroom until Nora came along, and she slept in it those first couple of weeks when we had to keep her segregated from the boys. What I didn't know was that the cover came off, so I threw it in the washer and put it back on the foam form and next thing I knew, Pete had wedged himself in it and has pretty much stayed there ever since, leaving only to eat or pee in something he shouldn't (another story).
So back to Nora. I have broken up no less than 16 brawls between her and Fletcher today, removed her from the kitchen counter about five times, stopped her from climbing my leg like a tree three times, dodged a nose bite probably ten times, took her out of the refrigerator four times, and tripped over her maybe half a dozen times. I keep an empty Diet Coke can with 11 pennies in it (because that's how many were lying on the kitchen counter) that I keep between the screen door and my front door and shake at her when I come in, because she has taken to trying to make a break for it when the door is open, and I know the mailman must think we're crazy for keeping a Diet Coke can there, and I probably should tell him why, but maybe it's best just to keep him guessing.
She clears off tables either by taking a flying leap onto them and sliding across the top or by sitting there and purposefully knocking each and every movable item off with her paw. She plays with cords. She ambushes all of us, human and feline. She gets in the dishwasher. She gets in the clothes dryer. She unfurls the toilet paper. She has about thirty toys scattered all over my bedroom and then lies in her empty toy basket. She sticks her head in my glass and tries to lick my ice, dumps over my towel basket so she can sit in it, chews on boxes, tips over wastebaskets, and yesterday, Emma was in the kitchen with her, heard her meowing, and found her INSIDE the kitchen wastebasket.
|Note turned-over trash can behind her.|
I just picked a live flea off of her and it got away.
And I love her.