Combing Fleas

Sharing Stories

Morphy and Aladar

Combing Fleas

My elderly pets are suffering from this year’s excess of fleagles, in spite of being on Frontline and our thorough Borateem environment cleans. So, I’m reduced to daily or more sweeps of fur. The feral rescue cat puts up with about three swipes before she’s done with it, while the dog gets the Full Monty. He thinks of grooming as extended petting time and loves the attention and seems to recognize that he feels better afterward.

A few days ago, during the Fully Monty, the cat became worried about the procedure. Surely, the dog didn’t want to be flea combed, since she doesn’t like it herself.

First, she watched with concern, then approached Aladar’s rear section, where he had opened a spot on his shin by chewing.

Morphy crept closer and closer to the hind quarters, then tentatively put her paw out toward the flea comb. Maybe she could get me to quit. Maybe the dog was just too stupid to stop me.

Then, with exaggerated trepidation, she lowered and turned her head, slowly bringing it to Aladar’s tailbone where she gently pushed her ear and jaw into a love rub. She repeated this, then contemplated the haunch again carefully.

What more can I do? you could hear her thinking. Certainly, there’s a better, less painful, way to do this process than with that nasty comb.

Again, with extreme gingerly caution, she targeted a spot fat with fur, drew back her lips across her teeth, and stuck her nose in to bite—hopefully the offending fleas.

At this point, the dog turned unappreciatively to growl at her, and I intervened.

This was so touching, but it reminded me of times when I’ve seen people mistakenly try to stand up for someone.

I’m reminded of the Young Frankenstein movie, when Peter Boyle (the monster) is struggling without success to climb up over the edge of the roof. Teri Garr rushes to help him, but Gene Wilder stops her saying, “No! He wants to do it himself.” Peter Boyle throws him a confused look and continues to struggle…obviously would have appreciated the hand up.

Myself, I’m like the dog—and Peter Boyle: If I need help, I ask for it, pay for it if necessary, and enjoy the attention. If any fearful cats try to save me from help, I thank them for caring…and then bark them off.

Ariele Huff has a new outdoor Aberdeen cat since this story, but Sox, too, is suffering from fleas this year.

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