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Cats/Kitten Ears


QUESTION: I was cleaning out my kittens ears today as she has earmites and I noticed some of the skin inside the ear is slightly discolored, a grayish unlike the regular pinkish color. I am worried about this. I'm not sure what it is, or even what it could be. Thank You!

ANSWER: Hi Elizabeth,

It's normal for many cats to have pigment in their ears. Skin can be pigmented in a smooth or blotchy pattern in cats of all colors. Pigment develops more and more as cats get older, although some cats will lose pigment for a variety of reasons, too.

Cats who have had chronic itchy ears due to ear mites, infections, or allergies can develop gray colored growths sometimes referred to as "blue polyps." They're actually cysts that form in response to inflammation. They're benign and don't typically require treatment in and of themselves, although the root cause should be treated. It usually takes months or even years of inflammation, but if you think this is what you're seeing develop, I recommend a monthly control product for her ear mites. Some cats are just prone.

Also, having a smear of her ear wax examined might be a good idea, since some kitties can be dealing with not only mites, but yeast or bacterial infections, as well. Yeasts and certain bacteria can also create what's called a biofilm on the skin that might be resulting in a hazy appearance. This might explain what you're seeing if you don't think it's pigmentation. Be sure to use only an approved product for the mites, especially if she has another ear ailment going on. She is at risk for permanent hearing damage if she has suffered any perforation of the ear drum and certain mite treatments are used.

Good luck!

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QUESTION: I was looking up some stuff and found out it was a tick. We removed it with tweezers and killed it by burning it and then sticking in a bag of alcohol. That tick wasn't going to live! I disinfected the ear. Is there anything else I should do? Thanks again!

ANSWER: Ah-hah! I wouldn't have suspected that at all! Just keep an eye on the bite site. A small red swelling is normal for up to a couple of weeks, although most cats won't have much to show for a tick bite. If she seems sick at all, get her to the vet right away - ticks can carry some really nasty parasites that can sicken kitties that will need treatment right away. I also recommend putting a topical tick treatment on her, like Frontline or Revolution. If she has any more ticks hiding on her, they'll die, and it will prevent future ones from attaching. They kill fleas, and Revolution takes care of ear mites, too. You can get Frontline from a pet store, but Revolution is only sold through vets.

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QUESTION: I may pick up some frontline. Right now she has a URI. I am treating this at home but if she seems too sick she is going to the vet. I think her mother was undernourished and that is why she has so many problems. She has a really good appetite and was playing some today. She is about 8 weeks. For extra nourishment should I get some kitten formula? Thanks!

If she hasn't been on mom's milk in a while, I wouldn't give her any formula. Most cats actually become lactose intolerant once they're weaned. The less milk they drink, the less lactase (enzyme to digest the sugar in milk) they will produce. So, if it's been a couple of weeks or more, formula will probably give her diarrhea. Instead, I would give her a good kitten food, high in protein, and maybe supplement with some chicken or just a little tuna for a few days. These are perfect sources of protein to help her put on weight fast. They won't harm the balance of her diet as long as you give them as supplements to her food and you only do it for a week or so. I would consider giving her several pieces alongside each meal.  


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The areas in which I have gained the most experience are cat health and feral cat management/rescue. I provide supportive care to chronically ill cats, hospice care to terminally ill cats and also am involved in trap-neuter-return efforts. My specialities lie in taming feral cats and in the allopathic treatment of cats with illnesses or special needs. I also have owned Siamese, Himalayans, Abyssinians, Russian Blues, Savannahs, Bengals, Peterbalds, Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthairs and am well-versed in cat breeds as well as cat behavior and nutrition.


I have 15 years of extensive experience with cats ranging from breeding to medical care. My daily routine consists of caring for cats with diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, feline leukemia, feline AIDS as well as feral cats. I have experience with liver patients, heart patients, feline infectious peritonitis, cancer, recovery from amputation and trauma, congenital deformities and most every disease in between. I have assisted cats giving birth and hand-nursed kittens who were neglected by their mother from 2 days old through weaning.

15 years' hands-on experience. Current nursing student. I've studied the parallels of human and cat anatomy as well as zoonotic disease, so my studies are broadening the depth of my understanding of feline anatomy, physiology and pathology.

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