My poor kitty!
January 4, 2011 8:07 PM   Subscribe

My cat's hair is thinning near his ears and I see what look like small red bites. What could this be? pic and more info inside.

I just got back from a 10 day trip and noticed while petting my cat that he appears to have some bites near his ears and hair thinning. Before I left, I took him to the vet and we discovered he had fleas. Could that be the cause? I gave him a dose of advantage before I left, but perhaps that didn't do the trick. Any ideas as to what may be responsible for this? My cat sitter didn't flag anything and he seems to be in otherwise fine health.

posted by amycup to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They look like scratch marks to me. Did he have a bought with fleas and that's why you gave him Advantage or do you rountinely administer it?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:08 PM on January 4, 2011

Crap sorry, ha. Stupid Advil PMs...missed the vet part. His skin was probably still irritated from flea bites and those marks are probably from scratching too much since some of the hair has thinned too. It should clear up in a few days, and if not, take him make to the vet.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:10 PM on January 4, 2011

Was he checked for ear mites? Sometimes you don't see any other sign of them, but the cat scratches from the irritation - his claws leave red marks and also wear away fur. Poor kitty. Good luck!
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 8:14 PM on January 4, 2011

I'd also vote for ear mites. You could look inside his ears and see if there's any black gunk. That would be another tell-tale sign.
posted by alms at 8:36 PM on January 4, 2011

Not a fan of Advantage for many many reasons... but I do use Revolution, which has a milder insecticide than the other types available AND it has the benefit of getting rid of ear mites, too!

I usually order it off the internet because that is cheaper and Petco doesn't carry it in stock.
posted by jbenben at 8:43 PM on January 4, 2011

My cat once had red spots and thinning hair and itching around the temples, between the eyes and ears. Vet said it was stress related, and it goes away. Leaving a cat causes a lot of stress in most cases.
posted by Brian B. at 8:47 PM on January 4, 2011

Definitely scratch marks. My kitty gets yeast infections in his ears (frequently, like a few times a year) . . . no coffee grounds looking crud (mites), but instead just gobs and gobs of dark brown wax. Very itchy apparently. The vet can test some of the goo for yeast. My vet gives me drops called something close to "Momozetol." (Don't have a bottle on hand, and google is failing me at the moment. But your vet will know.) The drops fix him right up in a couple of days.
posted by bluesky78987 at 10:08 PM on January 4, 2011

If you're feeling brave you could give the cat a careful wash with a soothing oat-meal shampoo. I'm bang smack right in the middle of the worst flea season I've ever seen and my poor kitty (obligatory photo) has had a similar problem - she's reacting to the flea bites so something that's anti-itch will cut down on the scratching.. Try to look for a shampoo that says it's soap-free and non-drying for the skin - some shampoos can over-clean, strip out the natural oils, and make things worse. Gently wash around the face, trying not to get water in the ears, and rinse thoroughly.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:28 PM on January 4, 2011

Gahh. I also meant to add that even though you've treated your cat, if there's a flea infestation (they love dry, sandy, dark areas) then they'll keep hopping back on. Flea products will keep killing them but kitty will still flea-bitten. Advantage will eventually stop an infestation by killing eggs (or so their packaging says), but there's a time lag.

Also, Advantage should take care of ear-mites as well as fleas and other varieties of parasite, so I think the ear-mite suggestion is less likely. If it continues, another trip to the vet may be in order - the vet will take a skin scraping and have a look under a microscope to rule mites out.
posted by ninazer0 at 10:33 PM on January 4, 2011

Sometimes AskMe is magical: this exact thing has been happening to my cat and I considered asking the same question.

Instead, though, I just broke down and took her to the vet. For her, the answer was a mild ear infection. The red marks were caused by excessive rubbing of the ear area. The vet gave us ear drops and they've cleared up since.

Hope he feels better soon!
posted by soonertbone at 8:32 PM on January 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks Everyone - it sounds like fleas are the likely culprit. I may try to bathe him to soothe the irritation as suggested and see how that goes.
posted by amycup at 11:08 AM on January 6, 2011

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