Amber was a feral cat. Last summer she had ear mites. Of course, I went online to find a cure. It was olive oil. She would not allow me to get it into her ears and the problem became worse. Being irritated by the mites, she scratched off the side of her face. I brought her inside and she and I are now as bonded as a cat and human can be. I took Amber to the veterinarian. The mites were killed. Surgery was done on her face and the wound began to heal but every time I removed the cone she damaged her face all over again. I don’t want Amber to wear a cone for the rest of her life.
Amber needs out of that cone. She has so had it with those ‘life of the party’ jokes that I consulted a specialist. Veterinary dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Mount of Dermatology for Animals in Albuquerque was quick to explain that
pawing or scratching at one side of the face can be a red flag for dental pain but don’t expect Amber to point to her mouth and explain where it hurts. Kitties generally hide their disabilities. If tooth and gum disease is ruled out, Dr. Mount recommends a full skin work up.
Cats with itchy faces need skin scrapings and a microscopic evaluation to look for infectious organisms. Amber’s ear canals should be revisited in case her mites have staged a revenge tour. The good doctor explained that an ear polyp could be at fault but she also warned that there may be “intense inflammation in the ear canals from food or environmental allergies leading to aural pruritus (really itchy ears) and marked scratching at the face.”
Good Amber has been miserable for way too long but her future is bright. All of the above problems are treatable – but not with olive oil. Save that for a nice healthy salad, which Amber would be loath to share. No self-respecting cat would be caught dead eating rabbit food.
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.