One thing we love about our area is the fact that things grow so well here. Pastures are lush and bright green. Trees are thick and gorgeous. Vegetables grow without any assistance most of the time. Unfortunately, with the good comes a bit of bad too. Specifically, we have LOTS of poison ivy. It grows thickest right at the forest line, mixed in with all the wild berries. Now, the kiddos love to pick the wild black raspberries that grow along the forest edge, so we have spent a great deal of time teaching them what poison ivy looks like:
One morning, M walked downstairs complaining of her face and ear itching. She definitely had some type of mild, blistery rash. We suspected poison ivy, so scrubbed her with Fels-Naptha, an old-fashioned laundry soap bar that is known for neutralizing poison ivy oils, and I doused her in Calamine lotion to reduce the itching. Then, we started trying to figure out how she got it all over her face.
The next morning, she came downstairs asking for more Calamine lotion.
Thankfully, the swelling went down as the day progressed so I didn’t have to take her to the doctor. Unfortunately, it took about 10 days for the toxins to migrate through her body, causing lumpy, itchy little rashes all over her body rather randomly. Bless her heart, M is not a complainer, so she rarely said anything. Eventually, we discovered that tea tree oil eliminates itch on contact, so I gave her free-reign of the tea-tree oil, and caught her using it every few hours on any new rash that flared up. I’m sure that helped make it more tolerable.
We were still baffled by how she got it to begin with though. It wasn’t until about the third day, when I saw her new barn kitty, Shadow, emerge from the forest that I had a thought. I asked her if she had held Shadow recently, and she said yes. Upon further questioning, we discovered that the day before her face broke out, she had been sitting on the porch and Shadow came over, stood on his hind legs, and rubbed his head all over her face and neck. Apparently, he had the oils all over his fur, and transmitted it to M. He’s a VERY friendly kitty. Needless to say, in addition to teaching the kids about poison ivy, we have also now instructed them to not let the cats rub against their faces!