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Cat tales: Play it by the ear

September 28, 2013

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Persian Cat
Persian Cat

IF YOUR CAT HAS ITCHY EARS, IT PROBABLY HAS EAR MITES

ON my daily walk in the garden and the little sneaky stroll through the gap in the hedge to the street, I met Smokey, a beautiful charcoal Persian. It’s always fun to bump into good old Smokey. He sat there scratching his ears and shaking his head. He was also a bit irritated, so we could barely have a conversation.

We soon got into a little cat fight and I returned home, totally ticked off with such bad behaviour from friends. I nibbled on some kibbles in my dish, had a cool drink of water from my freshly filled bowl (bless my human) and jumped up on my favourite couch to recline on my human’s favourite red cushion and settled down to a good grooming session. I always find it stress-relieving to pamper myself.

Couldn’t help thinking how my friend and I got into a fight. What was making him so irritable? And what was all the head shaking about?

And then I realised what it was. I remembered a couple of years ago when I had become just like that. I had those horrible little things crawling in my ears — ear mites.

I would shake my head and scratched them all the time till I nearly scratched myself. It was then noticed by my human who stuffed all of my fat and furry being into the carrier basket and took to me to the vet.

The vet told my human that ear mites are the most common mites to infest cats — almost 90 per cent of all cats become infested. They are very contagious and usually spread from one cat to the other.

Ear mites are tiny crab-like parasites that live in the ear canals and heads of cats, and sometimes their bodies. Can you imagine thousands of these tiny insects crawling around in your cat’s ears! Although, these live on the surface of the skin in the ear canal, and feed on tissue debris and tissue fluids, but they can also spread to the skin. When this happens, the cat’s back, neck and tail areas also itch. There is also an unpleasant odour from the ears. Disgusting, isn’t it!

The vet had rubbed my ears and showed my human a thick, black crusty substance resembling coffee powder coming out of my ears. He told my human to give my ears a rub with anti-flea spray every two weeks or so because it is difficult to see mite debris in cat breeds with dark ears like Siamese or in dark coloured cats (Smokey).

Remembering that horrible episode I had with mites, I decided to stay away from Smokey for some time and to fuss around my human so much today that she finds me in a sufficiently amicable mood and decides to shampoo me. Meowww … I hope I haven’t caught those horrible mites again from Smokey.