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Beware of Greek cats bearing gifts

The cat who greeted us at our site just outside Patras was a gorgeous, happy tabby.

She was clearly well looked after and delighted to be petted by two cat lovers, before striding off into the sunset in search of some more doting campers.

But not before she left behind a small gift. Fleas.

It may only have been one, or two, but the tenacious little blighters can wreak havoc, as anyone with a cat or dog knows.

It was the flea that carried the plague from rats to humans, and it has been suggested that the Japanese army dropped fleas infected with the plague virus on the Chinese during World War 2.

They are the bioterrorists of the insect world.

I have lost count of the number of bites on my arms and legs, but when one appeared on my face I almost caught the first plane home.

Instead I decided to stage a special op against the fleas.

Google wasn’t much help. Americans love sharing their stories about fleas in their recreational vehicles (RVs), but the Brits seem much more reticent about infestations in their motorhomes. So no help there.

We did discover the main active ingredients to look for in an insecticide though, so armed with a post-it note of biological weaponry, we headed up town.

A pet shop near Omonia Square seemed a good bet. After all where there are animals, there are bound to be fleas.

“Milate Anglika?” I asked an assistant.

“Yes, a little,” he replied, as most Greeks do.

I explained I needed a flea spray for our home, not a pet.

“Come with me,” he whispered, and we followed him into the back of the shop where he disappeared into a large cupboard, emerging a few seconds later with a can of Pubex Plus.

“This is for homes,” he said. “It is seven euros, 50 cents.”

I have just sprayed about four euros worth of Pubex Plus in our van.

According to the oracle Google, the pesticide is harmless and effective.

I hope it is effective, because it sure doesn’t feel harmless. I had to stop spraying when I started coughing.  At that moment choking to death seemed a worse fate than a few flea bites, itchy though they are.

As I write, we are sitting outside in the cold Greek dusk, waiting for the pesticide to do its bit.

We have washed all our bedding and brushed the floor to within an inch of its life. Now all we can do is hope that the fleas have been vanquished.

Oh, and after the pet shop I got to see the Parthenon.  It is still as beautiful as ever.

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