Remember when I took Chelsea to the vet and they told me she needed dental work
? Well, a week or so after that, one of her teeth fell out, so I went ahead and scheduled the darn thing, which was yesterday. And all the dental stuff went as expected, but the vet ALSO was like, "Oh, by the way, Chelsea has fleas and a tapeworm."
My immediate thought was to blame my parents and the literal COLONY of stray cats they are feeding - seriously, there are like NINE of them now - since I took Chelsea home with me for Thanksgiving. I mean, she's NEVER had fleas before, she didn't have fleas in the beginning of November when she went to the vet the first time, and now, conveniently, after a trip home, she does? She didn't directly interact with the stray cats, but a couple of them will let my mom pet them, and they'll rub against her leg and will come inside, even if they don't come in further than the welcome mat at the door. That's still enough to bring fleas into the house where they could've jumped on Chelsea.
So they treated her with Capstar while she was at the vet and also gave her something for the tapeworm, and I spent all friggin' day today washing and vacuuming everything in my apartment.
But then I started thinking? And I'm starting to wonder, like, did they possibly MIX UP THE CATS or something, because Chelsea does not seem to have fleas! I know "indoor cat flea denial" is a whole thing, but stick with me here...
For one thing, from reading online, it seems like when your pet has fleas, it's fairly noticeable? But there's been NOTHING to suggest it here. If I hadn't taken Chelsea to the vet, I would NEVER have guessed she had fleas. She hadn't been scratching, and I wasn't specifically looking for fleas or flea dirt, but I didn't notice anything on her, nor had I seen any bugs in the apartment that might've been fleas or any evidence of them, like flea dirt on the blankets where she spends a lot of time. (Granted, she is a mostly black cat, which makes it harder to spot, but my comforter is white, her favorite blanket is pale blue, and my sofa is beige, so you'd think I'd spot something there, right?)
Anyway, if that were it, I'd probably accept it. Maybe she just didn't have the fleas long enough for it to be noticeable. If she DID get them from the strays at Thanksgiving, it would've been less than a week. But then there's also what the vet said to me. He called me three times on Friday - the first during the procedure, because I asked them to call before they extracted any teeth. We discussed the dental stuff, and not a word about the fleas. I suppose it's possible at that point they hadn't spotted them yet?
The vet called me a second time after the procedure was over to let me know how everything went. Again, all talk about the dental. THEN he called a third time to be like, "Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention she has fleas." Unfortunately, at that point I'd stepped away from my desk, so he left a voice mail, otherwise I might've thought of these questions sooner.
But in the voice mail, he said they noticed flea dirt on her, then saw a live flea. Later, when I picked her up, the vet tech told me that after they gave her Capstar, they combed dead fleas off her. I really wish I had thought to ask HOW MANY fleas they combed off. I don't need an exact number or anything, but like, is this a mild case, or were there a lot? The vet tech kind of made it sound like there were a lot, which doesn't really fit with my not noticing ANYTHING, so it would be another sign to me that they were looking at a different cat, lol.
The vet also said in the voice mail that they apparently diagnosed the tapeworm based on a fecal test, and THAT'S the part where I get really skeptical. Because they never charged me for a fecal test
. There's no reason for them to have done a fecal test for a dental procedure. I suppose it's possible she just happened to poop while she was there, and maybe if she happened to poop after they found the fleas, they decided to check for tapeworms, but I'm SURE they wouldn't test it for free
Anyway, after a pretty thorough cleaning of the house, I STILL didn't find any evidence of fleas (neither did my parents, btw). And now I'm starting to wonder, like, are we sure it was Chelsea they found the fleas on, and not some other cat who was in for a procedure, and maybe they got the records mixed up? The afterthought phone call, the mystery fecal test... I don't know, it just seems bizarre, especially combined with zero sign of fleas. Or am I just in denial?
They did say that she'll poop out the tapeworm, so I guess I'll see it if she really had one? Otherwise, the only thing to do is wait and see if I didn't clean thoroughly enough and some fleas actually show up.
(I should note that I am also somewhat sensitive to vet mix-ups, given that once my mother took Patches to the vet, and when she went to pick her up, they tried to give her THE WRONG CAT, and my mom looked in the carrier and was like, "UM THAT IS NOT PATCHES." So we were actually joking about "make sure you check that it's really Chelsea before you leave!" Plus, the first time the vet called me, he was mixed-up enough that he thought MY NAME was Chelsea, not the cat, so...)
So what do you think, people who have experience with cats? Which is more likely? Is it possible for a cat to have enough fleas that it's noticeable to a vet who is looking at her for a completely different
medical issue, but I as the cat's owner didn't notice a thing, and still can't find anything even when specifically looking for fleas? If I can't find any evidence whatsoever of fleas, does that mean we're clean, or should I be anticipating an outbreak in a few weeks or months or whatever?