What’s In the Yard? Fleas from the Neighborhood Wildlife.


The Cat, contemplating his next move.

I just don’t understand my cat, Aesun. When I leave the backdoor open and the screen unlatched, to run out the garbage, it seems like it sets off a signal in his kitty command center (which I think is hidden under the coffee table – why else would he squeeze himself under there so often?). When I get back to the door to go inside, there he is, about to make a run for it into the great outdoors, where he will be able to indulge all of his kitty fantasies of killing small furry critters (yes, that is a scientific term). But instead, he finds me, coming inside, and his chance to make his mark in the world is ruined, as I shoo him inside and – egad – I close the door.

So, last weekend, we decided to treat him to being outside to keep us company while we were gardening. We have a large stake for chaining ferocious dogs in the yard, and since he is such a large, ferocious cat, we used it with his leash to keep him from accidentally running into the street while chasing a small furry critter. (It also doesn’t help that he’s deaf – he’d never hear an oncoming car.)

After a few minutes of eating grass and sniffing the tiger lilies, Aesun started crying and pawing at the door, trying to get back in.  I just don’t get it. He wants to go outdoors, but only on his terms, not on ours.

The one thing we didn’t think about when we took him outside, though, was what other animals have been in the yard. And, more importantly, what did these other animals LEAVE in the yard. I don’t mean waste, but rather, pests.

Wildlife, neighborhood cats, and even the dog next door can carry fleas or ticks and drop them in the yard, and then when your pet goes outside, they can pick them up.

I’m not a fan of preventive on-animal flea treatments, unless you frequently find little blood feeding pests on your pets frequently, so Aesun isn’t on Frontline. This means if there were any fleas in the yard, he could have picked them up and started an infestation inside.

This is why I recommend that people don’t allow wildlife or stray animals to live in their yards. It can be difficult sometimes to keep them from passing through your yard, but if they are living there, something needs to be done. Often live trapping is the best option, but what you can do varies upon the animal and local regulations.

So far, we haven’t seen any fleas inside. But, unless we take a flea comb to Aesun, we probably won’t know for a while.

And if we do get fleas, well, I’ve never lived with them before, so it might be fun to see what it’s like, and experiment on them. Just don’t tell my wife about that. I already exposed her to black flies to see what the bites were like, and then there was the dengue fever she got from the mosquitoes on our honeymoon…