Ear mites, also known as Otodectes cynotis, are one of those common external parasites found in cats. They are microscopic crab-like creatures who love to thrive inside the dark and warm ear canals of a cat. They usually eat the skin and organic matter that are present inside. Ear mites make your cat scratch and paw their ears and may ultimately lead to swollen ear flaps and skin infections. They are harmful but easy to get rid of.
How Do You Know Your Cat Has Ear Mites?
Due to the fact that there are other common parasites who may infest your cat, it’s not always easy to say whether your cat has ear mites or not. Here are some points about how you can determine that.
Check For Excess Wax
This is the first sign that indicates something is wrong with your cat’s ears. If your cat is building up excessive wax, he might be dealing with ear problems. Cats generally produce minimal wax, black/brown substance. In fact, the wax is a substance produced to fight attacks in their ears. But when it is present in larger amounts, there’s likely a problem.
Your cat’s ear might also have tiny coffee grounds like flecks or black dirt. That also indicates the presence of ear mites. Wax can be smelly and you may also observe fluid discharge from her ears.
Scratching and Pawing
Due to irritation, your cat will try to scratch his ears with the back of his paws. Also, the irritation can make your cat drag his head on furniture and the carpet and shake his head. In addition, your cat’s sharp claws
may break the skin surface causing bleeding or soreness and introduce bacterial and yeast infections.
Your cat may develop inflammatory polyps, small lumps, or other disease in his ear canals. Another sign would blisters and dried blood on the ear flaps to in the ear canals.
This includes your cats’ eardrums may be torn or inflamed and produce puss. This may also result in balance issues for your feline
Check Your Other Pets
If you have multiple pets, check their ears. Your cat might have gotten ear mites from his feline friends or a dog. Moreover, if one of your pets has ear mites, you can take precautonary steps to prevent ear mites in your other animals.
What You Can Expect From Your Vet?
Your vet will diagnose the ear problem using one of the techniques:
The veterinarian will use an auroscope, a flashlight-like instrument with magnification ability that allows them to look deep down in the ear canal. The scurry of white mites can be easily observed under the bright light.
Another method your vet might use is examining ear wax. He would collect a sample of wax using a cotton ball and smear it on a microscope slide. The presence of mites is easily be identified under the microscope.
In addition, your vet will check your cat’s eardrums before she starts any treatment. If they are torn, ear drops will be able to enter the middle-ear causing balance issues for your kitty. Let’s hope the infestation didn’t go that far.
How To Prevent Reoccurrence Of Ear Mites
Once you visit your vet, your cat will have to go through treatment. Moreover, your vet will also instruct you on how to treat ear mites at home. Please follow all the instructions strictly to get rid of mites.
But how do you ensure that ear mites do not return? Treat all your cats with selamectin. This substance deters mites, heartworms, fleas, and some intestinal parasites from your cats. There are some topical selamectin-based treatments available in the market to choose from.
Do follow the instructions given on the package of the medication. Remember that this medication is to be applied on the back of the neck and not inside the ears. This will help all your felines to stay resistant to ear mites.
If you have dogs and they seem to have been infected with ear mites from your cat, the cat’s treatment won’t be helpful. Seek veterinary help.
I hope the steps I have mentioned here have helped you determine the presence of ear mites and their potential harmful impact. Your vet will immediately start the treatment to get rid of mites from your kitty. Moreover, you can also take preventive measures as mentioned in the previous section.
Apart from the previous steps mentioned, you can spray your cat’s hind paws with a topical treatment substance fipronil. It can kill lice, ticks, mites, fleas, and some other parasites. When your cat scratches on her coat, the medicine present can kill the mites directly.
Guest blogger: Ethan Roniel
Ethan Roneil is a cat-lover. His self-taught cat care has come from years of research. He shares his knowledge of felines on Catlovesbest.com.
Canine Flu is prevalent in Columbus, OH, this year.
Some daycares and boarding facilities have shut down. Dog parks are empty. Clinicians will come out to your car to vaccinate your pet. This is not “Kennel Cough” or Bordetella. The fatality rate is listed as “low” but, to us, 10% is not low. If you have a young pup, a senior dog, or a dog with other immunity-challenges, the flu might be very dangerous. Sometimes a dog will develop a secondary infection like pneumonia. Most dogs will recover in 2 to 3 weeks. Vaccinations are available, they are expensive, require a booster, and come with the usual risk of vaccinations (depends on your opinion of vaccinations in general). Your vet can test your dog for the virus.
Symptoms are typical flu-like symptoms: a cough, excess mucous, fever, lethargy, and reduced appetite.
Overall, the vaccination is considered a “lifestyle” choice. If your dog is commonly exposed to other dogs, your vet will likely recommend the vaccination. If you work in the veterinary field, foster dogs, or are pet sitters, like us, it is recommended by vets to get your dog vaccinated.
Common vectors are shared food/water dishes, unwashed hands or clothing, and dog’s sniffing and licking each other (which they are wont to do).
Even asymptomatic dogs can transmit the virus. There is no evidence that the virus will transmit to people but it did mutate from an equine strain initially and has shown up in some cats. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep young, sick, old or pregnant people or other animals from possible exposure. Speak with your vet about your risks. Currently, the potential of transfer to humans or other species is considered low (but keep in mind, the AVMA said a 10% death rate was low).
Ask your vet if it is safe to bring your dog into their office. Some veterinarians have reported multiple cases of Canine Flu within their facilities although they have safety protocols in place. It is not uncommon for vaccinations to be given in cars in the vet’s parking lot or for a vet to set up an outdoor vaccination clinic.
To keep Canine Flu from spreading to our charges, Sit. Stay. Grow. practices sanitary methods to prevent contamination. We are on the look out for sick animals (we have turned down risky assignments) and we have alerted our customers. We are happy to report that many customers have asked their vet about the vaccination and/or are curtailing their dog’s contact with other dogs.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency that occurs all too frequently in our fur-covered friends.
Cats and Dogs do not have an effective mechanism to cool themselves during warm weather. If their core body temperature rises to 105 degrees F or above, they need to be seen by a vet immediately. Get a good rectal thermometer to take your pet’s temperature and practice using it. Normal temps are typically around 101.5F.
Heatstroke can cause many medical issues including swelling of the brain and kidney failure.
The most common cause of heatstroke is leaving a pet in a parked car. Even with the window cracked on only a moderately-warm day, internal temperatures can rise to dangerous levels quickly. Best to leave your pet at home with access to shade and plenty of fresh water to drink.
Pets with short faces, such as Pugs and Persian cats, or obese pets are more likely to succumb to heat stroke.
Panting is usually the first demonstrable sign of heat stroke. Some pets may vomit or have diarrhea. Pets may become disoriented and lethargic.
If you suspect your pet is a victim of heatstroke, remove him/her from the warm environment immediately. You can attempt to cool your pet with wet towels wrapped around its body, especially in the armpits, in the groin, and on the back of the neck. Transport to the nearest veterinary facility immediately.
Even if your pet appears to recover, many of the complications of heat stroke do not appear for several days and prompt veterinary care is warranted.
Sources for this article include:
I Heart Cats
The American Veterinary Medical Association
Ah, Spring is here! And so are fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. They want to suck your blood and your pets’ blood.
Prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your pets from these parasites. Even when you use a superior formulary (topical, collar, or pill form), ticks, fleas, and mosquitos can still find ways in to your house, bite you or your pet. They may die but not before they do their damage.
There are other things you can do to protect your environment:
- Keep your house clean. Seriously! Vacuum frequently and thoroughly. Fleas like to hide in upholstery, pet bedding and even in the cracks of your floorboards.
- Keep your grass short and trimmed along the perimeter of your yard. Adult ticks like to attach about 18”-24” off the ground and will snag anything that passes by.
- Don’t allow stagnant water to collect on your property to eliminate mosquito nesting and breeding sites. Commonly overlooked are the water basins of flower pots, birdbaths, clogged gutters, and swimming pool covers.
- Always check your pet after it has been out. Invest in a good flea comb and look for ticks in all places, like between toes and inside the ears.
- Minimize pets outdoor exposure between dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is peaking.
Sources for this article include:
The problem is probably easily resolved and comes down to a short list:
Type of box
Type of litter
Number of boxes
Cleanliness of the box
You may be one of the lucky few that has a cat that isn’t choosy but nearly 10% of cat surrenders are due to litter box issues and some cats are abused because of their elimination choices.
Think of the litter box as a toilet. Do you care about the comfort of the seat, the height of the seat, how easily it flushes, how many people use the same toilet, and how it smells? Of course you do. Your cat has an even greater desire for cleanliness and a much keener sense of smell. He has needs.
Many people make the mistake of locating the litter box in the laundry room right next to the noisy washing machine or they put the litter box in the cramped corner of a closet or in a tight spot between the commode and the tub. Their cat must be a real trooper to stick with a box that is so poorly located for him. Please don’t put the box anywhere near his food and water. You wouldn’t like to eat in the bathroom either.
Often a litter box is too small for the cat. He must contort himself into awkward positions to eliminate within the box. Please get a big box for him. The box should be large enough for him to turn around in without hanging over any side.
The litter may be rough on his feet, or allergenic, or dusty. Many varieties of litter are made from pelleted pine, wheat, or corn that can be allergenic to some cats. Perfumes can be allergenic or upsetting to your cat. Clay is more inert but some kinds are quite dusty. If you aren’t sure what your cat prefers, try offering different types in different boxes and see which he uses. A cat may temporarily be put off his litter box after being declawed because of some pain.
The litter should be deep enough that urine does not reach the bottom so, if your cat likes to dig deep, you need deeper litter. This is why scoopable litter is often a better choice than non-scoopable. The urine is absorbed before it pools on the bottom of the box. Typically 2 – 4 inches is good.
Rule of thumb is one more litter box than you have cats and, if possible, a litter box on every floor of the house. You wouldn’t want to have to dash long distances to use the toilet. And cats can be bullies and may try to block the use of a litter box by a more timid cat. When given the choice between pooping on the towels and having a fight, most cats will pick the towels.
Lastly, but probably most importantly, the box must be scooped EVERY day. Your cat doesn’t like to maneuver around previous deposits and his sense of smell will deter him from even entering a dirty box. Much is done to try to help people mask the smell of the box, including hoods, vents, filters, perfumes, etc. but, in reality, they don’t do much to help your cat. And, the box should be CLEANED once a week. This means that you dump the litter out and wash the box with a very mild soap and hot water. Never use ammonia. Ammonia is what gives urine its offensive smell. Your cat will notice.
An important caveat – If your cat stops using his litter box suddenly or seems to be trying to use the box with frustration, he may have a serious medical issue like a bladder infection, a blockage, diabetes, or kidney failure and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Sources for this article include:
Kitties need their whiskers!
Never cut a cat’s whiskers.
Cats’ whiskers are actually sense receptors and if you clip or damage them, cats will become disoriented and confused (much like you if you were blind-folded). At the base of every whisker is a special sensory organ, a proprioceptor. This organ is part of their nervous system and helps them detect their location, changes in air currents, and is part of the reason felines are so graceful.
You can also get clues to your cat’s mood by the positioning of its whiskers. Tilted forward means the cat is curious. Tilted back means it feels threatened. A normal sideways posture means your cat is relaxed.
Cats are far-sighted so, they generally locate their up-close favorite toy by sensing its location using whiskers. They can also determine the approximate width of a space to know if they will fit or be trapped or not (sometimes, hilariously, this does not apply when a cat decides it wants to sit in a box or a vase or something way too small).
Whiskers are important to your cat. Please don’t treat them like ordinary hairs and never, ever, cut a cat’s whiskers!
Sources for this article include: