scratch on my cats ear.

by margy
(durham)

found what looked like a scratch from maybe a bush on the outside of my cats ear two days ago when he came in from garden. just found another one on other ear but he not been outside. should i be concerned.

RESPONSE:

There is the possibility that your cat scratched both ears on a bush when he was outside and you only noticed one ear at that time. However, there is also the possibility that your cat is scratching his ears with some determination and causing some damage because of other factors such as:

  • Walking Dandruff (cheyletiella mange)…large amounts of dry, flaky, and sometimes scaly skin usually over the neck, back and sides.

  • Scabies (sarcoptic mange) Severe itching around the head…including the face, neck and edges of the ears. The severe itching is caused by female mites tunneling a few millimeters under the skin to lay their eggs which hatch in 5-10 days and the cycle repeats itself

  • Ear mites (ododectes) cause a cat to tilt and shake his head and scratch at the ears. It could also be earwax

  • Chiggers can cause severe skin irritations around the ears and mouth so look for barely visible red, yellow or orange chiggers…it will be the larvae.

  • Cat ringworm is caused by a family of fungi that are known as dernatophytes, which translates to “skin loving” and this type of fungal infection is dematophytosis. See…Cat Ringworm

  • Fleas…see Fleas on Cats

  • Allergies…see Allergies in Cats

  • Also see “Ears and Hearing” section of Cats Five Senses


As you can see, the possibilities are numerous. The best advice I can give you is that if the ear scratches continue to appear then there is more involved than an outside bush. However, it could be a minor thing like your cat has developed an allergic reaction to dust or dust mites, mold or pollen.

The remedy is to wash his bedding and keep him away from rooms with carpet. If it’s mold, keep him away from plants and out of basements. With pollen allergies, keep your cat indoors at all times in the high pollen seasons. A bath with a cat flea treatment will solve the fleas if that is the problem.

You can treat itching with a topical treatment such as hydrocortisone cream and it will give some relief and try to keep the cat from licking it off by using a “cone” if necessary. To see what a “cone” is, see my cat Revlon on the page Cat Skin Health. She is wearing one for a skin problem she had.

You can either take your cat to the vet to check on the causes of the scratches or you can “wait and watch” which is what I frequently do when it’s not a dire emergency. Inspect the area closely and then every day check to see if there is healing or if the scratches look like they are worsening and getting infected. Many minor things resolve themselves quickly but it’s better to err on the side of caution. If there is any change, call your veterinarian.

Good luck, I hope this is something simple.

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