Little Portly has fleas.
My sister and I peeled up all the blankets, towels, couch covers, pillows, sleeping bags, dirty clothes, and other assorted fabrics and piled them on the floor. When we removed the chenille throw from portal's favorite chair by the window, my sister recoiled and made a sound like a startled Holstein.
"What? What is it? Oh wow, there certainly is a lot of blanket fluff on this chair," I said, moving in for a closer look.
"Um, that's not fluff. Notice how it's all wriggling."
That's right. On my beloved chaise lounge there was a solid covering of flea poop and larvae, all waiting for the cat to hop back up on the chair so the buffet could begin.
"Gack! Rackin' frack! Ugh!" Really, mere words cannot convey my disgust. But know that it was(and is) absolute.
I tape rolled the chair. I sprayed the chair with harsh chemicals. I vacuumed the chair. Kristi started the bathwater and loaded up with the flea dip and a pile of rags. I started what would end up being over ten loads of laundry. We dipped Portly. She was not pleased.
"Hold her down, she's making a break for it!" Kristi commanded, a seasoned veteran of flea proceedings.
"She's too slippery, and she just scratched me. Look out, she's going to bite down on your arm!"
"I have to get under her armpits, scrub hard. Use more of that soap. Here, gimme. Pick off those fleas that ran for cover on her face." Like a drill sergeant Kristi let me know what was expected of me. Portly let out pathetic mewling noises and stared up at me with such an intense sense of betrayal that I felt like tearing up.
We rinsed her off and dried her as much as she would let us, and then locked her in the garage, which was okay with her, as she didn't want to be within grabbing distance. I rotated laundry. I vacuumed. I sprayed the furniture. I tape rolled every surface. I flea fogged the house. I did more laundry. Chris vacuumed the house a second time.
After Portly was dry, we flea combed her every hour, pulling off several bugs in each sitting. We kept a jar of soapy water for the comb, with a roll of paper towels and the lint tape roller on the table. We applied a tube of Advantage to the back of her neck. I was maniacal about the combing, taping every surface that she sat on, checking for flea poop, keeping her locked out of the bedroom.
"Have you combed the cat lately?" I asked Chris, as he made himself some ramen.
"Why not?" I said, defensive about my procedures.
"I just don't think it will do any good."
"Well I think it's better than doing nothing," my hackles were raised, I was going to fight this infestation into extinction if it killed me.
"Maybe so. Here, give her to me."
So Chris combed her while I took a flashlight to the couch and scanned for more forensic evidence, like some sort of rookie cop, wanting to prove myself.
But the fleas don't care.
Die, fleas, die!