A human flea harnessed to a coach

De Flea Your Cat: Catch, Kill and Prevent Cat Fleas

De Flea Your Cat: Catch, Kill and Prevent Cat Fleas. We love our pussy cats, but not their fleas. After years of trying different chemical free methods of flea control, Mrs Everybody and her 19 year old cat, Boudi have arrived at a simple and effective solution.

This solution takes just minutes – involves no chemicals – it is low tech and even ancient  – the cat likes it – it builds the bond between cat and human – it is calming to do and it is satisfies our human urge to care for and stroke our furry friends.

Moustache, Cat or Fine Hair Horn Comb

Moustache, Cat or Fine Hair Horn Comb

This Age Old Solution Cat Flea Solution?

Daily grooming with a horn flea comb! The principle is to capture and kill adult fleas before they get a chance to lay eggs and continue a cycle of re-infestation.

Why are Cat Fleas such a Menace?

Fleas can make a cat really unwell and an infestation can even kill a kitten, plus, the fleas will bite us too. Hardly anyone likes cat fleas! Even if you are feeling well disposed to these parasites, these little creatures not only feast on your cat’s blood, but also on tapeworm eggs. This means that when the cat cleans it coat and it ingests some of the fleas, it ingests tapeworm eggs too. So cats infested with fleas, nearly always have problems with worms as well.

Due to the skin irritation caused by flea saliva, the cats skin can develop allergic dermatitis. Constant scratching and licking can produce patches of raw skin and over licking can cause the cat to ingest too much fur. Fleas can also transmit diseases such as bartonellosis to the puddy cat which has serious health consequences and can result many trips to the vet.

Just a few minutes of cat combing daily, can massively help  to kill and prevent fleas – saving your cat hours of licking, preventing sore skin, anemia and the dreaded fur balls. The rewards can be almost instant.

Boudi, our 19 year old cat enjoying the bliss of being combed.

Boudi, our 19 year old cat enjoying the bliss of being combed. She is helping by flattening her ears.

Why is Combing the Best Defense Against Cat Fleas?

We had tried several non-chemical alternatives – brushes and flea zappers. However  brushes didn’t remove adult fleas and the bristles harboured flea eggs. It is very difficult to clean a brush. Plus brushes with plastic or nylon bristles induce a static charge in the cat’s coat making the cat uncomfortable and prone to electric shocks – that means claws in your knees as the cat leaps off!

We found the battery operated flea zappers so large and cumbersome they couldn’t get into all of the cat’s tiny contours and the metal teeth aren’t exactly pleasant on the cat’s skin or on the skin folds.

On the other hand, a horn puddy cat comb is small and agile – it will pull out loose hairs, flea eggs, loose fur and LIVE fleas. Horn has the same triboelectric charge as fur which means that no static is induced when you use it to comb the cat.

Cat Flea Combing Technique

1. Invite the cat on your lap, use a towel to cover the lap if the cat is heavily infested with fleas and to help prevent deep claw injuries if the cat decides it’s had enough.

2. Calm the cat by stroking it before beginning your mission.

3. Start with the cat’s favourite places – the head, under the chin, the back of the neck. Try to bring the teeth of the comb into contact with the skin, being gentle and thoughtful all the time. I talk with my cat while I am combing her  – she feels really special and starts purring!

4. If your combing session is short, focus around the base of the spine and tail area and on the head and neck as fleas like to hide in these inaccessible places.

5. Most cats don’t like the comb running over the spine or projecting bones such as the hip bones, scapulas, elbows etc, so gently move the skin to the side of bony protrusion and comb the fur and skin in a more comfortable location.

6. The cat will have many folds of skin where it curls on your lap – stretch the skin so that the folds are flattened and so that the horn comb can maintain good contact with the skin without causing any discomfort.

7. Most cats have places that they don’t enjoy being combed, so if the cat acts concerned, go back to combing it in its favourite place such as the head. Perhaps next time you will achieve a few more strokes of the comb in the less popular places.

8. It might not be possible to comb every inch of the cat, don’t worry because, hopefully the fleas will move to more accessible areas next time. Even if you combed the cat all over for 30 minutes, you would still only capture about 85% of the fleas – that’s why daily flea combing is so important. Keep the combing session short unless your cat is really revelling in it. Sometimes, all my cat wants is just a few minutes of combing. That is fine, I know she is really busy and has other plans.

9. Try to draw the comb in the same direction as you comb, that way loose fur and eggs end up on one side of the comb and hopefully any fleas will get caught up in the loose hair – at least for long enough for you to see them and to deal with them. I draw the comb towards me so I can spot captured fleas straight away.  See below for what to do if you catch a flea.

A trained human flea pulling a carriage.

A trained human flea pulling a carriage. Photo credit Roy Malloy.

Catching Cat Fleas?

I did say that the horn comb will catch live fleas, but you will need to kill them yourself – not always an easy task. As any cat comber will know that captured fleas, given half a chance, will leap off the comb and vanish (temporarily) into the carpet or the cracks of a floorboards. They can jump 150 times their own height. Then when they get hungry they will bite anything warm blooded – and that is often us.

Unless you are going to start a massively successful flea circus (in fact human fleas were used in flea circuses) you are best off killing the flea before it leaps away. Normally when people catch a flea, they squash it between the nails – but the flea can jump off before you get the chance!

The Insect Circus Museum

The Insect Circus Museum

Don’t Let the Flea Get Away!

Have you got a flea in your comb? Congratulations! Hold the flea on the comb by pinching the comb on both sides of the tines with the thumb and forefinger securing the flea between them and the tines. Now, with the finger tips still pinched together, slide the flea and any hair off straight into the bowl of soapy water to kill the flea. Carry on combing.

I don’t dip the horn comb in the soapy water, but slide the hair, eggs and fleas off the tines into the soapy water. Horn combs prefer to remain dry, but you can rinse them and dry the comb after the grooming session. I usually just make sure that mine looks clean.

How to Kill a Cat Flea Easily!

Dissolve  a ‘dot’ of Hemp Oil Soap in a bowl of water. The soap is very anti-microbial – reassuring because we are dealing with fleas and tapeworm eggs; but the main benefit of soapy water is that the soap breaks the surface tension of the water. When the flea is captured on the comb and transferred  into the soapy water, it will not be able to jump off the water. It will drown within a few seconds.

Your cat and cat’s friends and family will be exceedingly grateful. Don’t feel guilty, your cat would have bitten it to death first, had it got half a chance. The flea was probably doomed. The difference is, by regularly grooming your cat, especially in the places the cat can not reach itself,  you might be able to capture the flea before it lays eggs and the cat will stay healthy and happy.

10. After combing the cat. Don’t forget to thank you cat for its company and cooperation! I make sure the comb looks clean by removing any visible detritus with my fingers. Wash your hands after combing your cat and that towel if necessary. I always use the Antibacterial Hemp Oil Soap for my hand washing and Soapnuts for washing my clothes in the washing machine!

Removing and killing the living fleas daily with a horn flea comb is the best way to keep your puddy cat flea-free. Additional measures to break the cycle of re-infection involve hoovering regularly, washing the floors and keeping the cats bedding clean.

Keeping your cat flea free does involve a daily activity, but once the habit is established it becomes second nature and the pleasure and benefits outweigh the effort every time. My cat expects to be groomed while I am making my bedtime drink and we enjoy our special time together every evening.

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Clean your Toilet without Chemicals

Mrs Everybody has now crossed the Final Frontier! Hurray! She and Mr Everybody, for that matter, can get their toilets super clean without chemical cleaners. It has taken us a few years to work it out, and the challenge was quite extreme in the end, but what a sense of relief now have been successful! (Excuse the awful puns!) Please read on and find out how.

 

My weapons of choice against limescale deposits, staining and other nasties in the lavatory bowl. Pumice, hemp oil soap and soapnuts.

What Causes the Build Up in Toilet Bowls?

As with any cleaning task it is important to understand the nature of this grime. Know your enemy! Concreted grey or brown stains in the lavatory ‘ceramic glazed earthenware toilet’ bowl are of lime scale or iron from the water or pipes. Blackish stains could be from the manganese in the water or decomposed rubber from seals. Blue or green stains can derive from copper in the water, the use of copper pipes or the use of chemicals in the toilet. In fact you can get stains in the toilet bowl of almost any hue. A lot depends on the nature of your water. Further, nastier deposits might come from back wash. I spare you the details of those and other sources of germy grime. Start bidding them farewell!

Conventional chemical toilet cleaners are of either strong acids or bases, which are risky to keep in the house and toxic for the water system. You never quite know what is in chemical cleaners as the manufacturers don’t have to list all of the ingredients on the label. Toilet blocks are also commonly used either in the bowl or in the water reservoir. I have a particular distrust for blue ones – high in chromium. Anyway I can’t use these, firstly because I don’t have chemicals in my home – it’s my house and my rule. Secondly, I am allergic to chemically cleaned toilets. They can produce violent coughing fits in me. Finally I would rather use something with a natural and traditional aroma which will biodegrade quickly and which is safe for septic tanks and filtration ponds.

What are our Weapons of Choice against Deposits and Staining in the Lavatory Bowl?

A Small Black Pumice This is crucial for tackling concreted lime scale deposits.
Hemp Oil Soap This can be modified and left to deep clean the toilet. It is also the basis of our daily cleaner.
Soapnuts These are secured in the cistern to help prevent the accumulation of deposits and stains… Ah ha!

How to Remove Limescale Deposits Naturally

Be very brave or put on your non-leaky gloves on. Use gloves if you have any cuts on the hands or splits on the skin or cuticles. Gently rub the stains with the pumice, keeping the pumice wet. Just rub gently, yes gently! You will see the lime scale deposits breaking down straight away. Instant gratification. Go gently. Use the angles of the pumice stone to reach into every crevice. It is better not to use any type of cleaner while using the pumice so that to see what you are doing in the clear water. Flush the toilet and continue if needed. Flush again at the end.

Wash your hands, wrist and lower arms and scrub your nails if you have been a bare skin cleaner or if you feel the need. Wash the pumice and scrub it with a nail brush and soap. We use either multipurpose hemp oil soap or rhassoul clay for washing our hands and scrubbing our nails. However you managed this task, you deserve a Bronze Medal.

How to Remove other Resistant Deposits, Stains and Grime

Some stains penetrate into the porcelain – which is slightly porous.  Make a mixture hemp oil soap and either vinegar or bicarbonate of soda. Keep the mixture thick enough so that you can place it directly over the stain. It is best to give your chosen mixture time to work. The timing depends on your levels of patience and any sense of impending urgency! Try the other hemp oil soap anti-stain mix if the first one doesn’t cut it. Most stains will give into to either one of these assaults. Now you have removed all of the deposits and stains you are ready to deep clean the toilet bowl. You have done very well. You deserve a Silver Medal.

How to deep Clean the Toilet Bowl

First make your Super but Natural Cleaner

1. Squeeze the lemon. This will make a lovely refreshing drink with the addition of either cold or warm water and honey or sugar if you like. You don’t have to be suffering from a cold to drink lemon juice. I drink some most days as it helps to keep the body more alkaline, plus it is full of fresh vitamins. You could also use orange or grapefruit.

2. Place the halved citrus shells and the pips into a pan of about 2 litres of hot water and simmer the rinds and pips for a few minutes to dissolve the oils. Add a dollop of hemp oil soap in at the end so that it dissolves too. You can add other essential oils if you would like to introduce your favourite aromas or enhance the anti-microbial action.

3. Remove the rinds or citrus fruit shells from the mixture.

How to Deep Clean the Toilet with Traditional Soap

Now pour this hot mixture directly onto the residual water in the toilet bowl. You are forcing the cold water out of the toilet bowl and replacing it with hot soapy-citrus, natural and fresh toilet cleaner. Use the toilet brush to bring the soapy mix up to the water jets and under the rim of the bowl. Put the lid down.

Leave it alone for 10 minutes, and then give it a scrub to maximize the cleaning action while the water is still hot. You can leave the soapy mix for longer if needed, or even over night. There is no time limit, well not until somebody needs to use that toilet again! Then scrub the toilet and flush it. If you want to use vinegar or bicarbonate of soda or even both, creating a foam, then this is effective too and they can be used with the soap mixture to good effect. Now you deserve a Gold Medal! But don’t rest on your laurels – There is more!

How to Clean the Seat, Lid and the Exterior of the Loo

Wipe the both sides of the lid with either a damp cloth or some damp toilet paper with the addition of a splash of soapnut liquid or a tiny dab of hemp oil soap. Wipe the flush buttons or pull handle. Then do the same for the both sides of the loo seat. Make sure that no soapy residue remains on the seat or else it will feel a bit sticky. The same method can be used to wipe down the porcelain on the foot of the toilet and the exit pipe. If you are using a cloth, don’t use it for anything else now. Place it in the washing machine afterwards, washing it at least 60 degrees Celsius. Wash your hands again.

How to keep the bowl sparking clean with soapnuts

You can help the toilet to stay cleaner for longer by doing what Mr Everybody has been doing. We live in a very hard water area and so toilet deposits are hard to prevent. After my toilet had regained its old sparkle, Mr Everybody put his thinking cap on, ruminated for a while and ran up (and down) the stairs wielding an odd sock from his odd sock mountain. He then stuffed it with 4 soapnuts. If you are lucky enough to have soft water, 3 probably will do. He opened the toilet water reservoir and tied the sock to the outlet pipe so that the sock could not block anything, tangle around anything and so that the soapnuts couldn’t escape.

By securing soapnuts in the toilet cistern, you can keep the water softer and reduce limescale deposits.

By securing soapnuts in the toilet cistern, you can keep the water softer and reduce limescale deposits.

Now whenever I flush the toilet, the toilet refills with a soapnut soap solution, modifying the water so that it behaves more like soft water. We like that. This makes the accumulation of deposits slower and I am sure that we can keep the dreaded deposits at bay. Once the foaminess stops, I will replace the soapnuts. I guess if the toilet was flushed very frequently, then you could add more soapnuts to keep the foaminess, aka, water softness up to the required standards!

Also each time the toilet is used for number twos, we use the toilet brush and some thinned down hemp oil soap. To do this take some naturally concentrated Hemp Oil Soap out of the jar and add some hot water, just off the boil. Gently stir it and the soap will thin down. Put it in a washed out squeezy bottle, (devoid of chemicals) preferably one with a nozzle for aiming at the water jets and under the bowl rim. I have added some essential oils to my thinned soap – The bathroom always has a fresh aroma.

As we use our DIY self-modified cleaner each time the toilet is used for serious business with the toilet brush afterwards, the toilet has remained perfect. I don’t think that there is a Platinum Medal, but if there was one, I would award it to Mr Everybody for his innovation.

If you have managed to restore your toilet to a show house model, then you can join the victory parade and celebrate with the Olympians later this summer! If you look hard, you will see Mr Everybody there.
Pumice
Hemp Oil Soap for Cleaning
Soapnuts

PS. If I see an order for all 3 products, I will select the best piece of pumice which I can find for cleaning the toilet bowl. If you order is not so clear cut, then you can always send me a message with the order, send an email or give me a quick call to make sure that you have the best shaped pumice for the task.