Fleas Post-Mortem

Hi all,

We’re on a 3-week sit right now. Five weeks before our sit began, the homeowner’s cat passed away. We agreed to complete the sit as a house-sit, and everything was going well, until a week into the sit, when I started experiencing terrible bug-bites all over my body.

A few days into the maddening itching, my husband and I found three fleas on the couch where we’d been spending our evenings watching movies and reading. We took off all of the couch cushions and found loads of kitty litter, dirt, debris, and kitty fur. We vacuumed thoroughly all of the couches and rugs in the home, and wrote to the the HO to tell them.

The HO responded to us their cat had, indeed, had fleas, but they had no idea that fleas could survive beyond their host’s life.

Please note! Adult fleas can survive up to 100 days without a host, and while pre-emerged adults can survive without feeding for up to 155 days, and younger fleas can live sometimes up to a year. Had the HO told us the cat had had fleas - and that they’d done nothing to clean the house - we would have never taken the sit.

However, we understand this was just a case of sheer ignorance about pest control. It’s been a terrible way to learn that I’m extremely allergic to flea bites, but hopefully a helpful bit of knowledge for others moving forward!

Lastly, the HO also left rat traps in the kitchen, and didn’t mention they suspected a rat living in the house, until after we’d already arrived for the sit! Fleas can also arrive into the house via rodents, and carry dangerous diseases.

Please be aware of pests in your house, educate yourselves and each other about proper mitigation, and communicate transparently regarding pets with your potential sitters!