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FLEAS!! GAH!

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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After battling hideous attack spider, now having to battle fleas... :(

Poor Pix has picked up fleas (which have bitten the heck out of me as well) - I got behind with her appointments to get the vet prescribed flea and tick treatment. Don't want to get the cheap over the counter stuff you can buy since so many are useless... unless anyone in the UK has any recommendations for inexpensive flea treatments that they use and worked?

Used to always use Frontline spot on for years, but it became ineffective and vet confirmed it that fleas had become resistant to it, so switched to Bravecto tablets - one tablet each and sorted for three months, and it's worked well for years, but it's also expensive.

Called the vet practice today to check prices - money is extremely tight right now - probate still tied up and only on disability benefits right now, so a vet bill is going to be a big hit and tricky, and I can't do it until next week. Also need to get her assessed and decide what/whether to move onto medication for her arthritis meds now, and not just the suppliments I add. I think it's time. But that's going to be pricy too.

Just the consultation is now £48
Advocate spot on pack of three for three months is another £49
Bravecto is even more expensive, can't remember the number she said.

Can't get a price for arthritis meds until after a vet consult, naturally, but I remember from when Jack was on them that it wasn't cheap for a bottle of rheumacam.

Can get a prescription from the vet for the arthritis meds at least, so you can buy them cheaper online, which we did with Jack, and the prescription is £20.70, then whatever the medication from the online pharmacy costs.

I should qualify for reduced cost vet care through the PDSA, and I am looking into it, I promise, but there are complications I won't go into. But while I work on it with them/the DWP, I don't want Pixie being flea bitten - and don't enjoy it myself either...

I hate that I couldn't just take her up to the vets, which is only up the road, today. I've always been on top of pet health care and vet care, especially when Pixie was insured (never had to make a claim, but paid them a lot over a decade! Wish I'd stuck the money in an ISA account instead now). I had to let her Perplan insurance lapse when she got over the age of eight and they climbed up and up... by the time she was 10, they wanted £90 odd per month, and just couldn't afford it anymore.

Wasn't a problem for any of the animals while mum and dad were here. Once I couldn't work anymore and was only on benefits, Mum or dad would happily often split vet bills with me, and then I'd repay them in instalments, if they'd let me- but obviously that's not an option now. Animal care always came first.

But right now my financial situation is still a mess. :(
Please, don't be mad at me for having pets I'm now struggling to afford to care for. We got them when in better circumstances and vet bills/food etc weren't a problem, have had the parrots for over two decades and my dog for 11 years. Losing them would kill me.

But I'll find a way to make sure they all have everything they need.

I'll be taking her next week no matter what, I'm figuring out solutions so they're not biting my baby girl (she's been obviously annoyed and trying to gnaw at them today, and I saw one run over her tummy... :( But in the meantime, I've been googling home remedies, for both the dog herself, and the bed/carpet/sofa etc, and raided the kitchen cupboards.

I have a lot of salt (had cheap bags stocked up from the last snowy/icy weather)
Some biocarb of soda
White vinegar
Lemon juice

Have seen all of those recommended to treat the environment, and the latter two included in a bath, because fleas hate the scent, apparently. Going to try it, but hope the scent doesn't bother the dog too much. That's my concern.

Also doesn't help that she's double coated, so even a normal bath takes a lot of work to massage the soap deep into her coat and rinse it all out, and baths aren't her favourite thing... She also has a thick ruff of fur around her neck and chest, like a collie (her coat is a mix of Springer Spaniel and Border Collie, so a bit of both types)

though she's good about tolerating being bathed, bless her. I'm considering working some salt into her coat, since it dries out eggs and the exoskeleton of the fleas, then using white vinegar and/or lemon juice and working that in, before a good rinse and a thorough shampoo with her usual (pretty expensive) dog and horse brilliant whitening shampoo. A normal bath would drown a lot of them, so maybe I should run a full bath to put her in first, then drain the water and do the salt/lemon/white vinegar thing before a normal shampoo and shower?

Fabrics from the bed and dog beds have gone through hot washes, I've sprinkled a LOT of salt into the sofa and carpeting in the living room and around my bed, where she sleeps and spends the most time with me and will have the most fleas. I used a stiff brush to really work and massage the salt into the fabric stuff, and will thoroughly hoover that up tonight/tomorrow.

Bed has been stripped, salt worked into the base, and mattress has been massaged with a lot of biocarb and salt, then lightly sprayed with white vinegar and worked into the mattress again, and left to do its work until I just hoovered it. Luckily the weather was good and I could get it and a lot of the fabrics washed and dried.

Any other suggestions? One place suggested lemon juice or white vinegar on the back of the neck to repel fleas, but I doubt Pix would be happy about that, although I do use white vinegar and citrus stuff often for cleaning, so she's also quite used to those scents. I just know how good dog's noses, especially Spaniels and Collies are.

Also concerned about the cat. It's not our cat, I'm sure she has owners, but has hung around in out garden for years, but the dogs were encouraged to chase other cats away because of the aviary birds dad had, and she was one that was way too interested in the birds and would sit on top of the aviaries, until the dogs ran down the garden, barking furiously, and cats would run off. Plus had my own cat here until 2021. So have seen her hanging in the garden for years.

When dad passed there were only 5 aviary birds left as he'd wound it down over the years, and I rehomed them to someone who had flocks of the same species. So lost my cat and one dog in 2021, and Pixie is cat friendly, has always lived with cats and is respectful unless they're in the garden and we'd wind them up to go do the barking and chasing, but the dogs didn't mean it - would never actually try and catch a cat or hurt them, they're spaniels, so it was more a game to them, and kept the many neighbourhood cats away from the aviary birds.

Since the aviary birds were rehomed, haven't been prompting Pix to chase, and called her away when she did, so cat kept coming closer and hanging in the garden more and more. We didn't deliberately feed her, but dad and bro were feeding a semi-feral cat along with another neighbour that had been left when his owners moved and left him behind, so several cats come and nick that food, including this one.

We've always had both dogs and cats, and I didn't worry when this cat was hanging around more, and eventually approaching and meowing for a fuss once she realised Pixie wasn't really the ferocious monster and didn't chase her anymore, and they both began to greet each other and Pixie accepted this cat was not one to chase, and she's respectful, so this cat over time would come running when I'd let Pixie out to toilet and want to greet us both, and she's very sweet and affectionate, so hard to resist fussing her. Wasn't a problem. Until she began running into the house, and making herself at home. We didn't feed her inside, and would turf her out at night or when we wouldn't be around since she can't be trusted around the parrots, and we weren't looking to steal someone else's cat!!

It used to annoy me in fact. My bro isn't animal mad, but he does have a soft spot for cats, so he would play with her and spend a lot of time fussing her, and I'd often snap at him since we were already busy and struggling to care for mum as she declined and to give our own animals all the care they need, without him encouraging this neighbours cat to move in by making herself so comfortable and exploring everywhere. Got to the point when I'd let Pixie out in the am before her breakfast, cat would be waiting on the doorstep and shoot inside and yowl for food and attention while I was trying to sort the dog. I would fuss her, but would put her back outside once Pixie was fed and I needed to get myself ready. Would make bro deal with her when she'd found a way in and hidden away or climbed somewhere hard to reach since I'm blaming him for making her too comfortable here! She finds a way in though... not long ago she discovered she could climb the plant pots and squeeze through my open bedroom window, then meow happily and demand fuss/food/for me to open doors for her - so she's been pretty insistent about wanting to move in, despite all the discouragement.

The last 2-3 nights cat has changed her behaviour. She spends most time outside, but not far away, and comes in when the weather is bad or she wants to curl up and sleep. Usually when she comes in through my window, she makes a loud thump as she jumps to the floor and yowls loudly to be let out of my door. Then she'd go sleep in by brother's room or the master bedroom (where bro added a scratching post and toys, grr) But the last two nights she's made herself comfy on the bed with me and Pixie. I woke up with her sleeping on me this morning. So it's likely the cat is the one that bought the fleas in, just from the timing of her sleeping on my bed for the first time, and my now discovering fleas.


I don't know who her owners are, or why she seems to have chosen to leave them and basically live here. I do know cats do that sometimes if they're unhappy about something in their current home, like a new baby, other dogs or cats or something, and will just work their way in somewhere else. My aunt got a cat that way, but I don't like the thought of basically stealing a cat. Whether they treat her for fleas and we do as well, then she'd have a double dose. But no point battling fleas, and ignoring that the cat can bring them back.

I'm thinking we'll have to take her to the vet and have her scanned for a microchip, and if she has one, ask the vet to give them my phone number to talk about what's going on with her. Whether they want us to put her out every time, and that she needs treating for fleas, and that she moved herself in basically against our will, we're not trying to steal here, but are prepared to give her a home if needed, but I'd be devastated if I lost a cat that way, and don't want to put someone else through that. If we can talk we can at least try to work something out, like them fixing whatever is bothering her there, us putting her out and discouraging her, and them keeping her inside for a few weeks.

We are quite attached to her, no matter how much I tried, and how annoyed I got when she was taking bro's attention and time away from our own pets when we were so short of time. Bro is very attached to her, and I'm sure that fussing and playing with her has been good for him while we were caring for mum, then handling the grieving.

But she is a sweetie, very vocal and knows her own mind. Likes to stretch out fully, roll around, and even likes belly rubs, hasn't bitten or scratched even when unhappy about being picked up and placed outside. She's a tuxedo, like the Felix cat, and we nicknamed her Boudicca, or Boo for short, since she needed something regal after the entitled way she'd stroll in and make herself comfy, and Boo because she'd surprise is by sneaking into the house without us knowing. But it definitely is a problem we need to solve if she's bringing fleas in.
 
Around here, some of the rescue places will scan for a chip free of charge. They get so many cats dumped they are glad to try to place lost ones.

I don't what you can get where you are, but collars are a low cost option in many places. Here, we have to treat for ticks with more expensive meds, but you may not have to.
 
Diatomaceous Earth is AMAZING for flea control in your home 🎉 it’s great for fabrics, bedding and carpets.. sprinkle it onto the carpet and give it a hoover. The spiky particles of the diatomaceous earth puncture the evil little fleas and kill them! Baby brain has taken over my life here so I can’t remember if you said it in your post, but tea tree oil is also a great Natural repellent for fleas.
 
Cat fleas are actually different than dog fleas, and cat fleas are so much harder to get rid of! Definitely try to keep your pupper away from the cat for now if you can and focus and getting pixie and your house flea free.. adding apple cider vinegar to pixies bath water can help kill any fleas on her coat too.
 
Used to work as a vet assistant many years ago and I can confirm the collars are the way to go. But you have to be very careful about which ones you choose. I'm not sure what you have available over in the UK, but since you mention Frontline and Bravecto (brands we have in the US as well), there's a decent chance you might also have the Seresto collars. They're extremely effective and much longer-lasting than normal topical or oral meds. They're a tiny bit pricier upfront, but the longevity is worth it.

You must be careful to ONLY get the collars by prescription from the veterinarian. Here in the US, at least, there are plenty of knockoffs that are sold over-the-counter in pet and farm supply shops. They usually have extremely similar packaging, or may even be direct counterfeits, and they are nowhere near as effective as the real product, and I've heard stories of counterfeit/knockoff collars causing severe skin irritation to the dogs as well.
 
I should qualify for reduced cost vet care through the PDSA, and I am looking into it, I promise, but there are complications I won't go into. But while I work on it with them/the DWP, I don't want Pixie being flea bitten - and don't enjoy it myself either...

I hate that I couldn't just take her up to the vets, which is only up the road, today. I've always been on top of pet health care and vet care

Yep, I've been looking into it because I should qualify - used them once for my cat who has since passed away, and can only register one pet at a time I remember, but since Leo passed in 2021 and I've only used them that once, which was for a second opinion when the private vet during his annual health check and boosters wanted to risk putting my 15 year old cat with a heart murmur under to do a teeth cleaning. I was terrified he wouldn't survive and wanted a second opinion, since he was still eating without problems, and no rotten teeth, just plaque. PDSA vet said he looked good for 15, no point in the tooth cleaning since the plaque would return in days, and he was insistent, and almost outraged, that he wouldn't put this otherwise comfortable almost 16 yr old cat with a heart murmur at that stage under anesthesia. He continued eating fine and showed no issues with his mouth until he was almost 18, before developing pancreatitus that didn't respond to treatment, and I had to make the decision to let the vet help him move on so he wouldn't suffer any more. Glad I trusted my gut and got that second opinion.

But - there's paperwork involved and I want to make sure it's right, or it can cause problems down the road, and the nearest PDSA hospital is far enough to need a car to get to and from.

Trouble is having current paperwork that proves I'm on the right benefits to qualify, and no car; so either need to find someone willing and able to give us a lift there and back and I give them some cash for petrol - and I don't have too many friends nearby (my closest friend lives three hours away), but have some dog owning and lovely neighbour friends who I'm sure would want to help me and Pix, as they've done in other ways before! Just means juggling stuff and asking them when they're free and when/if I can get an appointment on one of their days off.

But they also work and have busy lives of their own, and I only qualify for reduced cost, not free, so no idea how much I'd
need to pay, and there's £8 in my bank account until next Tuesday, plus some cash. So will have to be next Tuesday before I'd be able to pay anything.

If they can't help, a taxi is more than £30 each way, and too far for Pixie and I to walk, especially with her arthritis. Buses give me panic attacks. If I have to pay for a taxi each way, might work out cheaper just to walk her to the private vet clinic up the road anyway, you know?

I am considering selling or pawning some things... Pixie means more to me than any material things.



Serrento collar. Effective for 8 months.

Used to work as a vet assistant many years ago and I can confirm the collars are the way to go.

I've never heard of these, thank you both!! I didn't get results for Serrento, so I'm guessing you meant the Seresto ones as well, @Oldspartan ? I've just checked on an online pet pharmacy and they are available here, around £38, so much better value since they last 6-8 months. Plus the 20 quid for a prescription, but worth it, and I trust you both that you've found it effective!

But you have to be very careful about which ones you choose. I'm not sure what you have available over in the UK,

You must be careful to ONLY get the collars by prescription from the veterinarian. Here in the US, at least, there are plenty of knockoffs that are sold over-the-counter in pet and farm supply shops. They usually have extremely similar packaging, or may even be direct counterfeits, and they are nowhere near as effective as the real product, and I've heard stories of counterfeit/knockoff collars causing severe skin irritation to the dogs as well.

Yes, which is why I hadn't even considered flea collars, to be honest! We used to have them on at least the cats when I was a kid, maybe the dogs too at one point, I can't remember, and I hated them. Hated the smell of them myself, and that fussing the pet meant getting that chemical stink on my hands.

Parents did get ones that were effective and not harmful then, but I'm talking about in the 80s and 90s, and even then there were cheap knock off brands for every collar, wormer, flea and tick treatment, many of them ineffective, or as you said @Seisage , potentially harmful. We took in a cat way back then who had a clear bald ring around her neck where the hair never grew. She was a stunning calico girl, really pretty, but obviously she'd had a chemical burn from a flea collar at some point in her life that had damaged the hair follicles enough that she was left with a collar shaped bald spot. You could only really see it if you brushed the fur back the wrong way while stroking her, but I'd often ponder how painful that must have been for the poor girl, and was even more anti-flea collar after that.

But of course things have moved on since then, I just haven't kept up. Found the frontline spot on worked for years, then the Bravecto. I've read the description and it sounds good, plus recommended -will call the vets (both PDSA and my own private clinic where she's registered) tomorrow and find out if they can prescribe it! Thank you so much.

Cat refuses to keep a collar on though. The owners at one point did try keeping her in at one point I'm sure, because we didn't see her for about three weeks, and bro was worried. I was a bit concerned, but said that I was sure they were trying to keep her in for a bit, since she'd been spending more and more time here. When she reappeared after three weeks and shot straight in the house, she was wearing a "please do not feed me" collar, so her owners do want her. :( I'm so conflicted. I tried a paper collar on her with my name and mobile number, she furiously clawed it off. Tried again when she was sleepy and content, she left wearing it, returned without it, and never heard from owners, so I assume she lost it outside somewhere. Tried a cat collar we had knocking around (with a breakaway point, since she's a roamer) and a metal cylinder tag we've had tucked in a drawer because we used to use them for the dogs, and replaced the paper with a tiny rolled but long bit of paper with contact details and asking them to call us, heard nothing and collar was gone the next day. Since they went to that trouble though, I know they want to keep her, even if she doesn't seem to want that :( So she likely does have a microchip. And as you say, @GaryE, a lot of vets will scan for a chip for free here too! :D

I've just had other things more urgent and demanding than worrying about a cat we don't own, and left it firmly in bros hands after all the collar business. I have so many other things to do, and my own pets needing care, not to mention my own not well handled self care... Part of me is also afraid to break bros heart if we take her in and owners ask vet to keep her there for them to collect, and we never see her again or find out what happened to her, and how upset bro would be. I'd ask the vet to give the owners my phone number so I could explain and talk to them, but they might be angry and think we've tried to steal their cat, or never bother contacting us, who knows? Since we have to live together in the house we've inheriting and it's hard enough, I haven't wanted to force the issue, but might have to soon.

@GaryE The treatments mentioned like Bravecto do treat for both fleas and ticks! We do have to worry about ticks in some parts of the UK. Not a huge problem where I am, but still possible, so I do want something that treats both, and most of the ones I've seen do, fortunately. :) I know it's more of an issue in your area, with all those deer friends of yours! :D
 
Diatomaceous Earth is AMAZING for flea control in your home 🎉 it’s great for fabrics, bedding and carpets.. sprinkle it onto the carpet and give it a hoover. The spiky particles of the diatomaceous earth puncture the evil little fleas and kill them! Baby brain has taken over my life here so I can’t remember if you said it in your post, but tea tree oil is also a great Natural repellent for fleas.

I might have to try it again at some point if the work with salt, white vinegar, lemon juice, biocarb etc didn't work! Having battled fleas a few times, I know how hard it can be... but fingers crossed I've caught it early enough and the kitchen home remedies along with drowning the little blighters works... but I'm not optimistic! I'll keep salting/hoovering everything hard anyway to at least hopefully knock the population back until I can get her to the vet and get the collar or Advocate or whatever.

I did try diatomaceous earth once, a big tub of it, sprinkled it everywhere and made a huge mess - problem was the dogs coming in and out of the garden in heavy rain, and it turned into a sludge that was hard to clean up in some places! So it put me off. I'd worked it into both dogs coats too, as recommended, but I did worry about them licking it off.

I also had a belated panic attack and furious hoovering session today when Pixie walked over a salted area, dropped her disgustingly drooly tennis ball in it, and then I kicked myself worrying about her ingesting too much salt by licking it off her paws, or coating her ball in it! So washed the ball and brushed off her paws, and shut her in another room (which she very much protests against) while I cleared it up.

I did work salt into her coat and tried to massage it in a bit, while Pixie was a bit unsure and worried about it, and made another mess on the rug, but wanted to salt that rug anyway since it's the main room the dog and cat pass through. Figured since she was going in the bath anyway, it wouldn't do any harm, and might help remove or damage some.

Filled the bath quite high, almost to her tummy, got her properly drenched, then used white vinegar, a lot of it, on her coat. Sprayed it on her tummy and inner legs, neck, chest, everywhere! and then did the same with a whole bottle of lemon juice...! Might have overdone it...! But then I worked her usual shampoo into her coat, rinsed by pouring jugfuls over her and manually washing her belly and everywhere, before draining the tub and rinsing her with the shower head. Then she needed a lot of pet towels to get the worst off while she had the zoomies, then fully dried with the hairdryer, which she doesn't like either, but she's sleeping heavily now, and haven't seen her jump and furiously bite at a flea yet since, so fingers crossed all that work did the trick to at least keep her okay for a week until I can get the vet appointment and have money.
Pixie and I are both knackered now though! Was a busy day already, had someone at the house today which is always exciting/stressful for her, and I was emotional, which upsets her too.

I'm making my dog sound really unstable, but she's a really good girl! Just has some anxieties, almost certainly picked up from me, and she's brave and willing to accept things like a stranger coming in when I reassure her it's okay. I just hate crying in front of Pixie since she wants to comfort me and I don't want to upset her, but she's my shadow. Even when I take a bath or shower, she'll sometimes just snooze on my bed and wait, but if I'm gone longer than she thinks I should be, like a soak in the tub, she'll be up and down the stairs and snuffling and whining at the bathroom door!

Shutting her in the bathroom with me doesn't work either. Dang. But after all these losses, plus the times I've had to leave her in my parents care when I was in hospital or working, and now my parents have gone so she's lost the other people she was attached to, she's clinging even harder to me, and my own grief/anxiety/depression doesn't help. We will both work on it. :)
Cat fleas are actually different than dog fleas, and cat fleas are so much harder to get rid of! Definitely try to keep your pupper away from the cat for now if you can and focus and getting pixie and your house flea free.. adding apple cider vinegar to pixies bath water can help kill any fleas on her coat too.

Dang, I don't have apple cider vinegar. Is it really effective? Because it was a cure all craze for a while, so I've always been sceptical about it. I'm certainly willing to give both the DE and the apple cider vinegar a try though, thank you :)

Don't have tea tree oil either, sadly. Have peppermint that I use as spider repellent in windows and doorways, but always have to be careful with essential oils since many are toxix to dogs, cats, or birds, so I'll have to research! At least the smell of tea tree oil is a lot more pleasant than vinegar! :lol:

I'm aware cat fleas and dog fleas are different, but they can transfer anyway, so we always treated all the dogs and cats at the same time, to try to make sure they were all flea free. Long ago, we always used to have two dogs, so they had each other for company, and however many cats we had the time. At one point, it was two dogs and three cats, but parents used to have even more of both years before that! Have bought dogs, but never bought a cat. Just taken in strays, or adopted cats that needed rehoming and were offered to us.

That cat that had a bald spot was one of those. My auntie when we visited asked if we wanted another cat, when we already had two, parents laughed and said no, we had enough animals as it was, then she said the neighbours didn't want their cat anymore, clawed their furniture or something, and she'd go to the RSPCA otherwise, so my parents softened and said lets go look at least, and we saw this beautiful and friendly calico, Tiggy, and she came home with us of course. Her owners genuinely just didn't want her anymore. Not forced to give her up, weren't emotional or bothered about saying goodbye, just said thanks and gave us their cat carrier so we could take her home. She was a sweetie, always sat next to my mum, and never clawed furniture, just the scratching post. I'm guessing those were the people who left a knock off flea collar on her long enough for her to get some kind of chemical burn.

Got my cat Leo as a strayed kitten that went unclaimed and I'd bonded instantly with:

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I was living away from home post college, but was visiting them once when late one night during a storm we heard mewling and found this tiny white and ginger kitten outside, so bought him inside for the night, thinking we'd find his owners quick, but couldn't leave him out in that.

Posters and ads everywhere saying cat found, but no one ever got in touch. Since folks already had 2 cats and 2 dogs, I said I'd look after him until owner was found, and tried not to get too attached, but how can you not fall in love with a kitten within five minutes of being with them? So when no one ever claimed him, I was secretly delighted! Microchipped, vaccinated him etc, and he moved all over the UK with me! I only had him and my parrot Oscar as my own pets for a long time. He was so chill about moving as well, travelled well in a carrier, and would settle in instantly so long as I was there and his familiar items were handy. He was an indoor/outdoor cat, with pale white/pink ears, so luckily he was also chill (even though not thrilled) about my applying suncream to his ears every time he wanted to out on sunny days! Doesn't make him look pretty, but cats with white ears are so prone to skin cancer and needing their ears removed. He did get a minor burn once which I felt horrible about, but 17, almost 18 years with only one minor sunburn is pretty good really.

He passed in 2021, and I still miss him madly. He was my companion for so long and such a long and happier time in my life.

Poppy was a cat I found outside the residential home I worked at yowling for food and being very affectionate, but looked in a bit of rough shape, and it was November 5th, which is bonfire night here. Lots of fireworks and bonfires, not a good time for any cats to be wandering. I thought she was a kitten at first. The residential home had a cat, Ginger, but he wasn't at all happy about this stray devouring his food as if she hadn't eaten in a long time. Luckily I was living in Bristol, although not with my folks, rode a bike to and from work and had Leo at my own flat, so I called my dad and asked him if he could bring a cat carrier and meet me at my job to collect this cat, and being the wonderful animal loving man he was, he was straight on it, love him!
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We took her to the vet the next day, her coat was poor, she was skinny, riddled with fleas and worms, no chip or collar, so she became my parents/a family cat. Used Adaptil for a while as their other two cats got used to her, and she filled out beautifully and developed a beautiful thick and soft coat once wormed/de-fleaed and regularly eating quality food. Not a kitten, vet estimated around 8-10 years, judging by her teeth. She acted semi-feral at times, wanting to be left to her own devices and just have somewhere warm to curl up and ad lib fed, but when she was in the mood, would be super affectionate and playful at times, especially as she settled in. She was a clown, and really smart. She'd knock over a bag of cat food and chew through the pack, so cat food had to be in tupperware after that, haha. They/we had her for three years, then she suddenly and unexpectedly passed in her sleep. She didn't have any issues from her annual health checks and had seemed absolutely fine and normal, wasn't an elderly cat, so was gutted. Have to assume it was a heart attack or stroke or something else sudden like that. But at least her final three years were good ones after she'd obviously had a rough time.

Bro had a kitten called Kit (imaginative) who reached 19, and even further back, when I was under five, folks still owned a pet shop that we lived in the flat above, and my mum's parents lived in the granny flat below. At the back was our 'lot', I guess, a patch of concrete for parking, then scrubby wasteland, and the back of some big old houses. One of those houses was an animal hoarder and collector who'd just dump them outside when done with them or something, because there was a decently sized colony of cats living semi-feral in that scrubby wasteland. And at one point a very skinny but sweet lab pup also appeared; probably 8-9 months old, at an aging, child memory guess. Really wanted to keep him, but parents said no (we already had two dogs and other animals) and sorted something else out for him when he appeared.

Mum ended up feeding a pregnant and skinny female tortie after she went to peg out some washing, the cat spooked and tried to run away from her, and collapsed. Despite not wanting to have to feed an entire colony of abandoned cats, and repeated useless calls to the RSPCA who did nothing, she couldn't abide that, so began feeding her, trying to re-tame her and named her Cinders. Of course once feeding one, they were soon feeding the entire colony. That's the first time I saw a birth in person actually. When I was outside fussing Cinders once, when she birthed the first kitten. I was too young to understand and was freaked out so went to get my parents, and she grabbed the kitten and ran back into the scrubland. When I described what happened to them, they explained about her having babies and I'd seen a kitten being born, not to worry (I thought something terrible had happened to the cat at first, was so upset!). Parents did look for the kittens, but never found them, sadly. But Cinders did reappear. There was also a lovely big grey tabby tomcat with a paralysed tail (named Tom - we've had a lot of animals over the years and parents would veto names they'd used before, so naming more pets has always been tricky!) who I was fond of once he was getting used to coming close to people and enjoying some fuss at times again.

When they had to close and sell up the business and moved to this house when I was 5-6, they called the RSPCA and said they were moving, would take two of the colony, but wouldn't be able to care for the rest of them anymore, and they really needed to do something about the colony and the hoarder house, and we bought Cinders and Tom with us. Parents told me when I asked later that the RSPCA did collect the rest of the colony, but they might have just been trying to soothe my worry about the other cats, I don't know for sure whether the RSPCA did their job or not.

But once neutered and in a comfy warm home, they both become total housecats, who rarely wanted to go out, and just wanted food, affection, and their favourite places to sunbathe and sleep! Cinders was so sweet, if you gently stroked her in her sleep, she'd purr and stretch in her sleep. She lived with us for years, was visibly a very elderly, but content and well cared for cat in her final years. No photos of those two on my devices though, pre-digital photos, so only have old film photos in photo albums. I should scan some of those old photos sometime.

So we just seem to acquire cats.

I have suggested to my brother that if he clears out and cleans up the smallest spare bedroom, it could be used to foster a mother cat and her kittens for a local cat rescue here. When talking about Boo, he said not only is she someone else's cat, but he's worried about vet bills and food costs etc, but this rescue would love us to foster or adopt (I've spoken at length to the owner who runs it and read their newsletters) covers the costs of everything, from vet bills to food and cat litter. A friend of mine fostered a family like that for them once, which is how I knew about it, and said to him that way he has all the good bits of having cats, but no worries about costs. Just the attachment and saying goodbye once homed aspect to deal with, but that even if he gets attached and keeps one or two, that he's also on benefits now and would qualify for low cost vet treatment from the PDSA. He's definitely given it some thought, and we meet all the qualities they want, she was super keen when I spoke to her months ago.

So I'll remind him about that before we take Boo to the vet to be scanned for a chip. Hopefully it'll work out, whatever happens.
 
@Seisage - sorry to tag, but since you used to work in a vet clinic and you're a research and science/chemistry whizz, do you guys have Advocate flea and tick treatment over there? I'm pretty sure that's a product that's been around for a long time, but it's the cheaper option the vets office suggested today, so if I can't get the collar for some reason I'm wondering about Advocate, in case. Any idea of its effectiveness?

I'm going to google too, trust me, but I'm less confident on accurate sources, and since it's been around a while, I'm wondering if it's lost effectiveness the way Frontline did. Don't want to waste money on the cheaper option only to find it hasn't worked and I still need to buy the more expensive one on top of that!
 
@Seisage - sorry to tag, but since you used to work in a vet clinic and you're a research and science/chemistry whizz, do you guys have Advocate flea and tick treatment over there? I'm pretty sure that's a product that's been around for a long time, but it's the cheaper option the vets office suggested today, so if I can't get the collar for some reason I'm wondering about Advocate, in case. Any idea of its effectiveness?

I'm going to google too, trust me, but I'm less confident on accurate sources, and since it's been around a while, I'm wondering if it's lost effectiveness the way Frontline did. Don't want to waste money on the cheaper option only to find it hasn't worked and I still need to buy the more expensive one on top of that!
Unfortunately, we don't have that one here, so I have no knowledge of or experience with it :( Looks like the company that makes it is Aussie. One thing that tends to be true across the board is that cheaper meds are usually cheaper for a reason, but my best advice would be to talk about the best option for you with your vet. Most vets should be happy to have a quick phone chat free of charge. They'll have the best knowledge of what's most effective in your area and most of them are also very understanding of budget restrictions, so they can help you weigh the cost vs. benefit for different meds.
 
Unfortunately, we don't have that one here, so I have no knowledge of or experience with it :( Looks like the company that makes it is Aussie. One thing that tends to be true across the board is that cheaper meds are usually cheaper for a reason, but my best advice would be to talk about the best option for you with your vet. Most vets should be happy to have a quick phone chat free of charge. They'll have the best knowledge of what's most effective in your area and most of them are also very understanding of budget restrictions, so they can help you weigh the cost vs. benefit for different meds.

Thank you so much! I'd forgotten that. When Jack had his episodes of vestibular syndrome, they gave me free advice about nursing him and any other concerns over the phone a few times. We'd paid a lot to that practice with him and with all the other animals, so I thought maybe that was because we'd been with them so long, we knew a couple of the vets by name! Fortunately, this other practice we switched too when we didn't have a car anymore has also been brilliant.

One vet was so lovely, she'd treated Jack after his third vestibular episode (those are so traumatic! Did you ever see one? It's awful, like a doggy stroke, but one they can sometimes recover from rapidly, to a degree anyway) and was the first to point out she thought it might be a brain tumour, jut based on how he was holding his head. They'd been called idiopathic until then, and since he was 15 and weakened from the episodes, we didn't want to put him under for scans, just treated it as we went, and wait and see, keeping an eye on his quality of life. Anyway, I was there maybe a month later with Pixie, seeing a different vet, but with covid stuff, we were all waiting outside and the vets were coming out to talk to their clients after taking the animals inside without their owners for the exam.

I was waiting for a different vet with Pixie, saw her returning a dog to someone else and discussing whatever they were there for while I sat on the wall and waited for the vet to collect Pixie, so when she came over to me afterwards I thought she was our vet that day and was pleased, but she leaned in and said almost in a whisper, "sorry, I'm not seeing you today, but just wanted to ask how your older boy, is it Jack? was doing?" Bless her! They see soooo many people and dogs every day, I was really shocked she recognised me and remembered enough about Jack's condition that she wanted to come and ask me how he was, even when I was there with a different dog! granted, they're both black and white spaniel crosses, but still! Was lovely, and was pleased to tell her he was still doing pretty well, and seemed content and without pain at the moment. Really touched by that.

The day he did have a bad episode of confusion and distress and I knew it was time, we called and asked if they could do a home visit, since mum was disabled and unable to travel, he was her dog really, even if a family dog in practice, and she wanted to be with him, as did I, and they were brilliant and squeezed us in that day. The moment the vet called back to confirm what time they could come, he settled, like he knew it would be over soon. Was a nice sunny day, so we took him to his favourite sunbathing spot in the garden and loved on him, and could all be with him while the vet let him move on peacefully. He didn't like going to the vet much, like a lot of dogs, and us all being able to be with him and at home, not having to do the tearful walk out of the clinic, when everyone can see you've just lost a pet and are devastated and give sympathetic looks while you try to keep it together until you get home is hard, so it was definitely worth paying extra to have them do a home visit for that. For him and us.

Another reason I don't want to have to leave this house. Jack and Leo are buried here. Charlie, Peggy, and many other pets are buried here. I have memorial trees for my parents here. Only small young ones, now leafing up and beginning to bud. I'd like to see them grow in and get established.
 
Sorry. Grieving has hit me hard. Old photos, so many pets lost, and my worry about Pixie's leg, age, and fear that I'll lose her soon as well has me thinking of all the losses. We've generally been lucky with overall healthy and long lived animals. Peggy, black lab whippet cross, lived to 18 with only minor arthritis. But one morning she went to stand and greet us as normal, and couldn't use her back legs. She was also helped over the rainbow bridge with a home visit, and passed peacefully in my arms. Charlie, my dad's grumpy wire haired jack russell, got to 17, Jack to 15, cats until they were visibly elderly and at least late teens or early twenties. Hard to say with rescued strays, but with the exception of Poppy's sudden unexpected passing, we've generally been blessed and lucky with animals.

But I'm so scared the vet will tell me something is wrong with Pixie that I can't afford, or that can't be fixed. She's still very active and alert for an 11 yr old dog, but I do see some signs of her age now and have to try to prevent her from attempting the huge leaps she did with ease as a younger, very agile dog! Now I trained her to use a stool to step onto to help her get on and off the bed, so she doesn't thud down hard on those joints when jumping off.

But yesterday in the bath, I saw her left rear leg which is the one the vet said had the most arthritis, was trembling after a while. Only that leg, and occasionally when she first gets up after a long sleep, she'll have to sit up then back down again, before getting that leg under her again. Once she's warmed up and moving and on walks, she walks and runs normally, and happily! But if she overdoes it, or like when standing in the bath for too long while I coated her in kitchen ingredients then shampoo and a long rinse, it was trembling, so she must be in pain from that leg now, and I want to get it treated so badly!

But also so scared they're going to say something is wrong with the leg that I won't be able to afford to fix, or spells out that time with her is short. She's my heart. But even if it's "just" arthritis, I can't bear seeing my girl in pain, and regretting not taking her to the vet earlier. We're about eight months overdue for her annual check up/boosters, and I feel so guilty, because I've been thinking for a while that probably time to medicate with anti-inflammatory pain relief from the vet.

But, I have a few ideas, and people to call, so going to try and arrange something for tomorrow if possible.
 
Yes Seresto. Serrrento is our local deli. Must have been hungry when typing.

The collar is very effective. We change them at six months. Like many we used Frontline, the Frontline Plus, then Advantex. Each proved ineffective after a time although each worked well initially.

Our property has slowly been inundated with ticks. They are a much larger issue than fleas. The collars have solved the problem for Buster and Precious nicely. We change them out at 6 months … march / Sept.

I also employ a more proactive method of control throughout the borders of our outdoor living areas. I fill tubes with a wadding soaked in chemical agents. The field mice remove the wadding for bedding and it treats them and their progeny for fleas and ticks. Between that and 3 foot wide compost / gravel barriers around our most used outdoor areas we stay ahead of the ticks. The dogs are also vaccinated against Lyme but in the past few years even more evil tick born diseases have been identified locally.
 
Yes Seresto. Serrrento is our local deli. Must have been hungry when typing.
:lol:
The collar is very effective. We change them at six months. Like many we used Frontline, the Frontline Plus, then Advantex. Each proved ineffective after a time although each worked well initially.

Same... it's an age old evolutionary battle being waged between us and these parasites! And why I'm a bit wary of using the cheaper Advocate spot on drops, since I'm sure that product has been around for a long time. Would prefer the Seresto collar if I can get it prescribed, if not, will get Bravecto next week, and just keep hoovering and checking her/trying dawn dish soap bath to keep her comfortable for now.

Happily, since her bath last night and all bedding and carpet cleaning, she *touch wood* hasn't been jerking around suddenly to gnaw at a biting flea. Poor girl, I even gave her a salt rubdown! Gently of course, and dry, before she went into the bath. Anything to try to damage those eggs and exoskeletons.
Our property has slowly been inundated with ticks. They are a much larger issue than fleas. The collars have solved the problem for Buster and Precious nicely. We change them out at 6 months … march / Sept.

Ticks are definitely scarier than fleas, sorry you have to deal with that! But if you've found the collar effective against those, then that's a strong recommendation (along with @Seisage 's equally valued opinion) for this brand of collar, and since it's available on online pet pharmacy, there's bound to be a way to get it.

It doesn't smell strongly, does it? Do you notice any scent on your hands after fussing your dogs? I'm just remembering how strong and chemical smelling the old flea collars of the 80s and 90s were, but the product description says it doesn't smell.

I'd also really, really love to see photo(s) of Buster and Precious, if you're happy to share! I love cooing over other people's pets, and now I know their names, I'd like to put a furry face to the name! :D
I also employ a more proactive method of control throughout the borders of our outdoor living areas. I fill tubes with a wadding soaked in chemical agents. The field mice remove the wadding for bedding and it treats them and their progeny for fleas and ticks. Between that and 3 foot wide compost / gravel barriers around our most used outdoor areas we stay ahead of the ticks. The dogs are also vaccinated against Lyme but in the past few years even more evil tick born diseases have been identified locally.

Wow, that's awesome! When making lists of potential natural remedies (and spider repellents the other day) I have a list of plants like citronella, lavender, sage etc that can be mixed and used to deter/treat fleas, apparently. I don't have those plants, but have a close neighbour who is a keen gardener (and has a koi pond too, so he's one of us, one of us, one of us) and would be delighted to give me cuttings I can grow on of any he has, I'm sure! Plus I'll keep an eye out for public plants I might be able to nick a cutting from.

Not useful for right now, but might be handy another time. Besides, sage and rosemary can be used for cooking too, and lavender is great for bees. I like a garden that attracts insects and birds, have bee houses etc!
 
Buster at the pond protecting the fish from predator frogs, snakes and lizards. He is a Boston / Pug and 8 years old in the photo.
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Precious who does not like her picture taken and hides when she sees the camera. She is an unknown mix the vet refers to as a cattle dog. Her age is estimated at between 8 and 10 years. She was found running alone in the woods skin and bone with most of her hair missing from chewing and scratching at fleas and ticks. She is currently on gabapentin to relieve some of the effects of Lyme that she contacted after being deserted in the woods. Linda introduced her to Buster at the local SPCA where she volunteers. They hit it off so well that we decided to let Buster adopt her. Precious is bonded to me. Buster to Linda.
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To be fair .. This is Patches the cat. Just turned three but is about 1 1/2 in this photo. She is another one that flees when she sees the camera. She is not as grouchy as she looks in the photo. Patches is bonded to herself although she will lay on my lap nightly at about 7PM for a belly rub.
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