Because sometimes you need help from someone not on a Mumsnet forum…

This summer I moved house, and in the process I acquired a new cat. For the first time in my life I have a cat happy to spend hours on end outdoors, with the many other cats that live nearby. As nice as it is to never use a poopascoopa, it didn’t take long for her to catch fleas from one of her cat pals.

As a worrier, and someone that has never had to deal with fleas before, I naturally read everything there is to read on the internet. While there is nothing chic about fleas, they’re one of the risks you take when you have a furry flatmate. So, to save you from having to look at Mumsnet, here’s all of the wisdom I’ve got on dealing with fleas, without going mad.

They’re gross. They leave ‘flea dirt’ (I’ve understood this to be dribbles of blood/flea poop) behind – once you flea spray, this is the reddish brown stuff you’ll see on fabrics. I’d recommend washing everything at a high temperature to avoid ever having to see this.

It’s bloody expensive. A bottle of flea spray from my local supermarket is £5.75, and I could very easily use a bottle per room (I did warn you I worry). Then there’s all of the other products you inevitably end up buying – collars, spot-on treatments, tablets, fancier spray, grenades (and the brunch you buy when you abandon home for two hours), the vet appointment.

They will bite. I get bitten by most things, but flea bites are a whole new evil. They particularly love ankles, though I’ve also had bites on my chin, boob and bum – they don’t discriminate. Don’t scratch them, because they will scar. Sting and bite creams will become part of your skincare routine.

Don’t fall down an Internet hole. As great as my flea trivia is (they can live for 100 days without a host cat, they sit on you to feed for 4-7 minutes), reading everything on the internet was awful for my mental health. Stick to the practical tips as much as possible.

Talk to your neighbours. It feels like everyone on my road has a cat, and my garden is where they hang out. You can treat your cat and your home, and get back to normal, but unless everyone else has done the same, you’ll only be back at square one before you know it!

Hoover, relentlessly. I don’t hate hoovering, as long as I’ve got a great playlist, so this hasn’t been too bad for me. Hoovering up fleas will help you get rid of them from your carpet, and dust bunnies.

Fleas aren’t cool (though fleas in my culottes is a much trendier version of ants in my pants), and I’ve avoided admitting they’re what’s kept me busy. But, they’re a relatively common problem so I hope this helps someone…

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