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Super Duper Vacuum Delousing Unit

Kill fleas without chemicals!
  [vote for,

A big problem for pet owners (if you are ultra PC then 'pet caregivers') is the issue of parasites, i.e. fleas or lice. Currently, the best science has to offer is some foul-smelling spray, which cats hate because it makes their fur taste awful. An alternative but also chemical approach is the flea collar, which -- incredibly -- is even less effective than the spray. Hence some people prefer a totalitarian method which involves locking your pet up and preventing all contact with other animals. Sadly, the best technology available today could be the centuries-old flea comb, which is administered manually, and allows you to squash the little blighters between your fingernails.

Clearly, something better is needed. And that something is none other than the Super Duper Vacuum Delousing Unit (SDVDU). This is quite a simple box-like contraption into which you place your cat or dog. A hole, positioned to encompass both the the body and the lid of the unit, allows the pet's head to protrude and the animal to breathe. An adjustable tight seal around this hole ensures that air does not escape from the SDVDU (be sure to watch your pet's face while tightening the seal, or your pet may choke).

Then a switch is flicked, and the unit's pump starts to remove all air from inside the SDVDU, thus placing the pet's body in a near-vacuum. After 10 minutes, or however long it takes fleas to die without oxygen, the cover is removed, and voila! You have a flea-free pet!

Needless to say, the SDVDU is environment friendly (if your electricity is derived from wind power) and does not involve repeated expenditure.

Dr Furtz, Jun 07 2001


       Oh dear god in heaven. Send all cats into space.
lewisgirl, Jun 07 2001

       Dr Furtz, haven't you seen those movies that show what happens when a cat in outer space gets a leak in its space suit?
beauxeault, Jun 07 2001

       If this device did work, it would simply apply selective pressure to fleas, so that soon we would be faced with ridding pets of "super-fleas" which live only in the head area, or which could rapidly migrate in the event of a vacuum attack.   

       If we made the device appropriately, we could have a new kind of Schrodinger's Cat, where the cat is in a superposition of being both loused and deloused.
-alx, Jun 07 2001

       I'm not at all sure this would be harmless to the animals organs. ("Honey, Biffy's intestines popped out when I vacuum-treated her...") There is a systemic treatment available in the USA in which an oily goop (sorry about the tecnical terms) is rubbed between the dog's shoulderblades and on his rump, and fleas are thereby discouraged. Seems to work quite well, actually. See waugsqueke's link.
Dog Ed, Jun 08 2001

       Thank you for your posts and suggestions. The problem with products such as Frontline are that they are chemical; unlike dogs, cats lick themselves, and this habit in conjuction with a chemical solution results in the ingestion of toxic material and vomiting.   

       Thank you also for reminding this absent-minded professor of the danger of intestine leakage, which I did not address in my original post. The solution would be to ensure that every SDVDU comes with a complimentary anus cork.
Dr Furtz, Jun 08 2001

       No, the solution is to fill the chamber with nitrogen at atmospheric pressure, since you're trying to deprive the fleas of oxygen.   

       But then, nitrogen is a chemical, too.
beauxeault, Jun 08 2001

       Keep unit and head hole for sensibly named cat same size, put a lit M80 or somesuch explosive in unit, close lid. Voila - no more fleas. And/or just catapult whole crew to heaven while satellite feed on Cat-cam tracks adventure.
thumbwax, Jun 08 2001

       Dr Furtz: That's why you put it on the back of their neck where they can't reach it. I've used it for a long time on my two cats and never had any problems with <more than usual, one of them has a sensitive stomach> hurling...
StarChaser, Jun 09 2001

       Bzzt. Nope. Recall how an "iron lung" works: Reducing pressure around the body causes the lungs to inhale (given a seal at the neck). To exhale, kitty's diaphragm muscles would have to work against atmospheric pressure, which they can't. Result: permanent inhale and asphyxiation. (Though, to be fair, this does solve the parasite problem.)
rmutt, Jun 11 2001

       [StarChaser] One of my cats is size S and most dexterous so she manages to lick between the shoulderblades. Also, it may be a religious problem; I simply can't stand the idea of smearing toxic goo into the otherwise unblemished fur of one of nature's most beautiful creations. [rmutt] I see. Thanks for that insight. Perhaps beauxeault's idea of using nitrogen would be the answer, although I would have preferred to avoid this given my other idea, the "Nitrogen-Filled Fridge," which also relies on filling something with nitrogen. I mean, I wouldn't want people calling me Dr Nitrogen. [UnaBubba] They come back smelling, not surprisingly, like the vet's clinic. [Mephista] I still have scars from the last time I tried to vacuum Serendipity. Let me know if someone has invented earplugs for cats.
Dr Furtz, Jun 13 2001

       "That's why you put it on the back of their neck, where they can't reach it."   

       It isn't particularly toxic to anything but fleas, according to the vet I asked about it.
StarChaser, Jun 14 2001


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