Tag Archives: cats

Natural Flea control for Cats & Dogs

Be sure to get my good side

Twenty-eight years ago, I lived through a flea infestation, the likes of which I never want to see again.

I don’t know if it was that house [we’d only just moved in], or a flea plague generally,  but the cat had fleas, despite his flea collar, and the whole house was infested as well. I could literally see them jumping from the polished floor boards onto my legs. It was awful and took two lots of professional, whole-house, heavy-duty chemical flea treatments to get rid of them.

I’m not saying all this to try to scare people. I’m just trying to explain why I have a horror of fleas. But the flip side of that bad memory is that I also have a horror of the chemicals used in commercial pet treatments. I’ve read so many horror stories about cats, and dogs, dying from those treatments that I simply can’t do that to Mogi and the cats. But I still fear and loathe fleas…

Two years ago, I decided that I’d tackle the flea problem naturally. I went on a research binge and discovered that:

  1. fleas tend to stay on the animal that is their ‘home’,
  2. fleas lay eggs on the animal, but the eggs drop off after about 2 hours,
  3. flea eggs tend to accumulate in the areas where pets sleep and groom themselves. These areas include carpets, bedding and soft furnishings,
  4. flea eggs need fairly strict environmental conditions to hatch. Again, carpet, bedding and soft furnishings provide the perfect conditions for both eggs and flea larvae.

Clearly, just killing the adult fleas wasn’t going to keep my pets, and house, flea free. To break the cycle, I’d have to tackle both the pets and the surrounds at the same time. More research.

The natural solutions I found for the house centred on bi-carbonate of soda – plain old, cheap-as-chips bi-carb. Apparently, it kills fleas and their larvae. I also discovered that salt dehydrates the flea eggs, killing them. Salt can be a bit rough on the carpets though, and you wouldn’t want the pets eating it so a combination of bi-carb and salt is an option of last resort.

Bi-carb on carpets

To see if the bi-carb solution was real or simply an old-wives tale, I began sprinkling bi-carb on all my rugs and the few carpeted areas of the house [bedrooms]. Next, I’d brush the bi-carb deep into the carpet fibres [with a broom]. This pushes the bi-carb down to the base of the fibres where the fleas and eggs are located. It also stops the rugs/carpet from looking too awful while the bi-carb does its job. This can take from 14 hours up to a maximum of 48 hours.

Why the time limit? Because after 48 hours the bi-carb loses its effectiveness.

As well as keeping the carpets/rugs from becoming infested, I also wash all the animal bedding once a week. My washing machine includes a soak option, so I soak the bedding in hot water with Bositos washing powder [Bositos includes eucalyptus oil] for an hour or so. Then I rinse the bedding and hang it outside to dry.

So far so good. I haven’t had a single flea bite on my legs so I know the bi-carb is working, but what of the animals?

Fleas on pets

As it’s been so dry, I know I’ll have to do something about fleas on the cats. According to my research, you can put bi-carb directly onto a cat, especially around the neck area which is where fleas congregate, but…I’m a bit worried they may ingest too much of it as they groom themselves. Back to the research.

I found the following website just this morning:

http://theverybestcats.blogspot.com/2009/08/controlling-and-killing-fleas.html

It’s the most comprehensive site I’ve found to-date and mentions some options I’ve never come across before. These include apple cider vinegar and a home-made citrus oil. Apparently, fleas hate the acid of the vinegar and the smell? taste? of the citrus oil. As I’ve been a huge fan of vinegar for years, I’m going to get some apple cider vinegar today. I’ll wrestle the cats tonight and report back in a few days.

Now, the only pet left is Mogi, the dog. I bathe her regularly and wash all her bedding etc, but you should only wash a dog once a week, maximum, so I may try giving her a diluted vinegar ‘rinse’ as well, especially near the base of her tail. I’ll report back on the vinegar rinse as well.

Natural vs chemical

One last thing, I don’t suffer from extreme chemical sensitivities, but I have friends who do. I know it’s real, and potentially deadly. I also worry about the explosion of chemical cleaning products in the home. They all list ingredients that read like an alchemist’s cookbook. Each individual product ‘may’ be safe, but has anyone tested the effect of all those products added together? I think not, and that worries me. The cost worries me too, especially when so many of them don’t actually work all that well. What you see on the commercial doesn’t translate to a real home environment.

For all those reasons, I try and use natural cleaning products as much as possible. Apart from the bi-carb on the rugs, I also wash my polished wood floors with either hot water and vinegar or hot water and eucalyptus oil. Both do a fantastic job, and the vinegar at least, is ridiculously cheap, so I strongly recommend throwing all those expensive and potentially harmful chemical products away.

Seriously, you don’t need them, and neither do small children and pets. Remember, they’re closer to the floor than you are.

cheers

Meeks


Hilarious!

No intros…just watch & listen!

…and yes, it’s exactly what you think it is. 😀

My thanks to Russell Ray for introducing me to this fabulous video clip!

Happy Tuesday,

Meeks


The best little mouse trap…evah!

I know I’ve been writing a lot of tech posts lately, but I hope I’ll be forgiven for this one. It really is more about design than tech, and I have photos to prove it. 🙂

Exhibit 1 – the inside of the mouse trap complete with left-over cream cheese and mouse poop:

Exhibit 2 – the mouse trap from the front ‘entrance’:

Exhibit 3 – the mouse trap closed:

My photos are half-way decent for a change, but I bet you can’t figure out the mechanism. -smirk-

So how does this odd-looking contraption trap a mouse and keep it trapped without killing it?

As a friend of mine would say…so glad you asked. 🙂

Okey dokey…the following video shows the mouse trap [called Mice Device] in action:

You may have noticed that the mice in the video all pushed past the ‘door’ of the mouse trap to get at the bait inside. As the ‘door’ only opens one way, once inside they couldn’t get out again. I’m not doubting the results, but I can tell you there is no way a wild mouse, caught by a cat and let loose in the house, will push past an unfamiliar barrier [the door], no matter how delicious the bait inside. That’s why I latch the ‘door’ open to encourage the mouse to go inside. Despite this, however, the mouse I evicted from my pantry this morning took a day and a half to enter the trap.

To show you what I mean about latching the door of the trap open, here are a couple of photos of the mechanism:

This is a closeup of the arm, inside the trap. The white stuff you can see on the flat, shovel-like end is left-over cream cheese [the bait]. The bit in the middle allows the arm to swing up and down like a tiny see-saw. The cylinder at the other end is a counter-weight so the shovel end is always up…unless there’s bait holding it down.

Now, when the arm is ‘up’, the clear plastic ‘door’ [hinged at the top] is closed, because there’s nothing to hold it up:

And now for some bits of the mechanism you can’t see:

Attached to the bottom of the arm mechanism is a tiny latch. The latch moves in a slot through the top of the tunnel. When the arm is in its normal position – i.e. with no bait – the counterweight at the end of the arm pulls the latch out of the way so the door can swing freely.

In the second illustration, the bait pulls the see-saw in the opposite direction. If the door has been pushed up [to open the passage], the latch will engage, and the door will stay up:

 

The one, tricky part is securing the door with the latch. I’ve found that the following sequence works every time:

  1. poke the finger of one hand in through the front entrance and push the door up,
  2. with the other hand, press a piece of bait onto the small spike located on the flat end of the arm,
  3. carefully release the door
  4. release the arm

If the bait is heavy enough to hold the arm down once you release it, the door will remain open until the mouse goes inside and tries to remove the bait. This will cause the door to close, trapping the mouse inside.

The bait I used was cream cheese because it’s dense and fairly heavy for its size, plus it was the only cheese I had. In the past I’ve tried bread [not heavy enough], bread with butter and popping corn [to make the corn stick to the bread], and hard cheese. Honestly, the soft cream cheese was the easiest to work with because it sticks easily and is ‘heavy’.

I’d really like to recommend this mouse trap, but I bought mine a few years ago and can’t remember where. A search online produced the video of the trap in action, but no stores that stock it. If you ever stumble across a retailer selling the Mice Device, please let me know as I’d like to buy a couple more in case this one breaks.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. I released the mouse into a clump of agapanthus with the left-over cheese as a farewell present. 🙂

 

 


Best #cat commercial EVER!

Had to post this so I could watch it again and again. I feel so much better now. 😀

I wonder how long it actually took those cats to completely wreck everything? mwahahahaha….


Cats in Clover – 5/5

I read this little book back in June, and liked it so much I left a glowing review on Amazon, but somehow I neglected to review it on the blog. I meant to, but time slipped away from me. Or perhaps I thought Cats in Clover would be so popular it wouldn’t need any additional help from me.

Sadly, when I stumbled on it again today, I discovered my review is still the one and only. What the hell? If reviews are a measure of the popularity of a book then something is very wrong here. This book deserves better. 😦

Why? Because it’s the funniest thing I’ve read since My Barsetshire Diary, that’s why. And oddly enough, My Barsetshire Diary starred a cat as well… Hmm…

Anyway, moving on. Whether you actually like cats or not, you are going to find this story about two middle-aged cat owners laugh out loud funny. Seriously. The cats are gorgeous but the people, the people are hilarious. 😀

http://www.amazon.com/Cats-Clover-Adriana-Island-Book-ebook/dp/B00GW5U7SC/ref=la_B00GW5PJ7Q_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410416519&sr=1-6

Buy it! Read it! And if you agree that it’s a fantastic pick-me-up then please leave a review! [And no, I wouldn’t know this author from a bar of soap so no kick-backs are coming my way].

cheers

Meeks

 


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