Keeping an Old Cat from Constantly Scratching Her Ear

I have a really old cat; going on twenty years now. When I first rescued her 15 years ago, she had a severe case of ear mites. We got that taken care of, but she wouldn't stop licking her foot and then rubbing her ear. It was an ingrained habit. Fungus developed. For the last 15 years, I've been treating her regularly for fungus because she just won't stop messing with her ears.


One day I came home, and blood was everywhere. It was an ear she'd scratched too hard. I treated it, but of course she messed with it even more. I put a cone on her, but she was hitting the cone so hard with a back foot, it was still making the ear raw. She's also learned to shake her head really fast and hard, which also messes up the ear.

The vet had her on antibioticsfor a spell as a preventative. She was the one that gave me the cone. I called her and asked what next when nothing worked, and she says there's nothing more we can do.

I made a soft collar for her, but she can kick that to the point it spins and rubs the ear raw.

I can't bear the thought of putting her down for such a minor issue. She's healthy otherwise. I'm sick of cleaning up blood splatters for sure, but I know she's pretty fed up as well. She's eating very well and seems happy except for the ear and the collar.

I'm wondering if I could design and make some sort of helmet that protects the ear. Any thoughts?


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May 3, 20180 found this helpful

I would start with a new Vet. What your Vet did is not all that can be done. Cat ear problems can be very hard to clear up. In some cases it is a lifelong effort. But if you dont keep up with it, your cat may be truly suffering. I dont think your cat has an ingrained habit, I think she still has a medical problem. Take her to see a new Vet. Consider a "cats only" Vet. Many Vets see primarily dogs. I have used a product called EarWELL that I got on Amazon and it has finally cleared the fungus in my cats ears. You may want to try Revolution flea treatment because it kills ear mites too. It is by prescription only. But congratulations on your kitty making 20 years. That's a lot of loving care.

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May 4, 20180 found this helpful

Thanks for your response. Along with my other cats, she's treated with revolution during the flea season. It's helped a lot of rescue cats with ear mites, and is effective I agree


She's also seen three different vets over the years for the ear issue. She no longer has mites, but the ongoing fungus issue. Most remedies work well, if she would stop licking long enough

I have soft collar on her, and have tied straps on the back, criss crossed around her chest to hold it in place. She can't spin it around now. Her ear seem to be improving....knocking on wood

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May 4, 20180 found this helpful

I would start with a new vet. Have you tried putting her in socks so she can't claw at it? Also, you could pad the inside of the cone with moleskin.

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May 5, 20180 found this helpful

Three vets have examined her ears. It's not the vets, it's her. She obsessed. She's twenty years old, and this has been an issue for most of the time she's been with me.


The moleskin lining; I'll research that. I hadn't thought of lining the cone. That might just work

One fear I have, no matter if the ear heals up, as soon as I remove the cone she'll go right back to it. I'm thinking she'll be wearing a cone till she dies; it's not right, but putting a cat to sleep for such a trivial issue isn't right either

Having someone to discuss this with has helped me immensely; emotionally. Thank you so much

Putting her in socks; can't imagine it. lol

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May 7, 20180 found this helpful

Is there some type of mild anti-anxiety med you could use until the ear heals ? On the tv show My Cat From Hell they sometimes use calming meds in certain situations. Just a thought.

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May 7, 20180 found this helpful

That's a thought. She's twenty, so I wouldn't want to medicate her unless absolutely necessary. She's had two rounds of antibiotics as it is, which is frustrating considering her ear isn't infected.


I'll research herbs, and see if I can find something. I have to laugh because at her age, she does nothing except lay around and race to the kitchen if she thinks I'm headed that way. She's quite the beggar, but I must admit I've been spoiling her with milk; as often as she wants it, which is often. Lactaid of course.

Fifteen years ago, I was sitting on my porch, and she walked up to me, raised up on my leg and meowed mournfully. When she raised her head to meow, I saw a bloody gash on the bottom of her neck; three inches at least. I rushed her to the vet, and the wound was so serious she had to be put under for surgery.

The next day I picked her up; she was fine, but the vet told me she had milk, so she had kittens somewhere. A horrible thought considering she'd been away from them for 24 hrs.

I released her when I got home, and she high tailed it out of there only to return an hour later. She didn't leave again, so I brought her in. I'd had her spayed at the same time her neck was sewed up. She's precious, and considering everything she's been through, deserves to live out her life...happy


Thanks so much.

I've done a little homework before posting this, and skullcap is listed as a calming herb, but I also saw some other things that can calm her, such as play. Since she's been wearing contraptions on her neck, she hasn't played a bit. I'm getting the string out. lol

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Pets CatsApril 30, 2018
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