Diagnosing Ear Mites in Cats

As owner of Dr. Jennifer’s Ragdolls, a breeding cattery located near Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Jennifer Creed has encountered and managed numerous conditions in both cats and kittens. Also a practicing veterinarian, she has treated many cats with ear mites and other health problems.

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A common infection in cats, ear mites are tiny creatures that take up residence in a cat’s ear, feasting on the oils and wax there. Although they are too small to be easily seen by the human eye, their symptoms are quite noticeable. Cats with ear mites will scratch and rub at their ears and will shake their heads compulsively. The ear may secrete a strong-smelling substance that resembles coffee grounds. The cat may also develop skin infections and hair loss, and it may scratch at its ears so severely that the blood vessels inside rupture.

To diagnose ear mites, a veterinarian will take a sample of the observable discharge. This helps the veterinarian to identify the mites and to rule out bacterial infection. He or she will also likely take skin scrapings to analyze any dermatological symptoms. In addition, a diagnostic exam for ear mites will involve comprehensive blood work to screen for any other illnesses.

Jennifer Creed : Preparing Kittens for the Litter Box

An animal care professional and breeder of ragdoll cats, Jennifer Creed assists DePaw University, Canine Campus, Inc., as a consulting veterinarian. For more information about Jennifer Creed and the ragdoll kittens she sells, please visit www.drjensragdolls.com.

Though many people believe cats train their kittens to use the litter box, the truth is that kittens start using dirt and other loose materials without any prompting by or observation of their parents. Pet caregivers can use a kitten’s instinct to their advantage by first immediately familiarizing a newly-purchased or adopted kitten with the litter box’s location. Be sure the entrance to the litter box is low enough to allow for ease of entrance and exit. If a kitten is accustomed to using sand or dirt, place some in the litter box. Over time, an owner may gradually replace those materials with normal kitty litter.

One simple method of training involves bringing the kitten to the littler box following a period of excitement, sleep, or after a meal. If the kitten goes in the littler box, praise him or her. Keep a small amount of the kitten’s waste in the box to remind the animal that it is the proper place to go. Once a kitten begins reliably using the litter, its caregiver may remove the waste completely.