Reader Submission: You down with O.P.P? (Yeah you know fleas.)

Natasha asks,
I have recently discovered you guys through a mutual friend/writer. I have had a long, lovely marriage with my husband of 11 1/2 years. One of the only things that bothers me is, of course, his parents. I have been talked bad about (without reason), called his “girlfriend” after marriage, and disinherited by his father. The latter due to an incident where he came into our house while I was home breastfeeding our son, the claws came out and he got mad that I had the nerve to tell him not to let himself in our house. Needless to say, living close to them is not a boon. We are periodically invited to their house to celebrate birthdays and whatever else his mother deems necessary. I swore off going for a long time because they have about 100 cats and eleventy bajillion fleas (don’t want myself or my 2 1/2 year old eaten alive). I capitulated this last time mostly because my husband asked and said they had been trying to take care of the fleas. We went, I and my son got eaten alive AGAIN. I am tempted to swear off going over there or letting my son go over ever again. We have talked to them repeatedly about the problem but they always poo-poo us and say “Well, they don’t bother us.” I feel like I have made an effort in the whole situation whereas they have not. Am I being catty?”


Dear Natasha:

Welcome to AIBC, so glad you found us.  Now let’s see if we can’t scratch up a few scenarios that might provide some relief in the In-Law department.

We are all in agreement here that you are not being catty, you are just concerned with the health and well-being of your family; you can’t fault a Momma Cat for that.  However the situation cannot continue going on, unchecked.


We think you should consider approaching your husband, as they are his parents and he may be a bit more comfortable laying down the law with them than you are.  He certainly needs to let them know that it’s not acceptable to brush the health of his family aside just because you guys are the only ones affected by the jumpy little house guests.   It is surprising that he too isn’t up in arms about this infestation, what is his reasoning for not being upset?  Is it possible that he and his parents aren’t aware of the severity of a flea infestation?  Education could prove to be a helpful tool.  Make them aware that fleas carry typhus, tape worm, and the plague.  Just typing that made my skin crawl, it may be all they need to hear to get your point across.  You may also inform them of the health issues that continued flea exposure can cause in their feline companions.

We also think now might be a good time to address the sly remarks they make in passing, after more than 11 years together they should be aware that you are here to stay and they should respect you accordingly.  The discussion might be a difficult one to begin but nice place to start would be explaining how the comments make him feel; maybe leaving you out of the equation completely.


Since we aren’t sure how catty you want to get we thought we might offer you a lap cat approach.  We would like to recommend a nice gift basket for the pest riddled In-Laws.  The next time you are invited over to celebrate, maybe for the beginning of autumn, you can bring along the perfect “hostess gift.”  Gather up some cat toys, a pouch of catnip, a few types of cat treats, and slip in a few brightly colored flea collars – sans the containers they come in (we hear they’re the newest fashion craze in the feline world).


Since it seems you may be thrust in a war zone without your consent you may even consider arming you and your son with your own flea collar jewelry.  The soldiers in the desert wear them around their ankles and wrists.  But before heading out to the battlefield, you guys should discuss the logistics.  Set a time limit on your visits, as well as predetermined exit strategy to help stick to your time-table.

Once you have exhausted all of your options and things still aren’t changing, your Hubby may need to man the Frontline and inform them that you guys just can’t visit anymore.  Be sure that he explains why and assure them that they should feel free to call or arrange visits to your house instead.  After all you do want your son to have a relationship with his grandparents.

Let us know how things pan out for you, Natasha.

All Our Best, Team

#OtherPeoplesPets #neverminddingosafleagotmybaby #amibeingcatty #thisbitchisitching


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