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My indoor only, 2 year old Bengal cat has scabbing & flaking…

Hi. My indoor only...

Hi. My indoor only, 2 year old Bengal cat has scabbing & flaking skin on the very edge of her ears- it goes up the edge of the inner sides (facing each other) and it almost looks like her ear is disintegrating, although that could just be the scabs/flakes coming off. It's very localized and only affects the very edge. Her inner ear looks health and normal.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the Bengal's name and age?

Shibui, she's 2.

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the Bengal's name?

SHIBUI

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about SHIBUI?

She is also randomly peeing in front of the litter box. even if it's freshly cleaned. There doesn't seem to be any pattern that I can discern. I do have three other cats as well, and they are all fine.

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Answered in 46 minutes by:
3/22/2018
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,138
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK. thanks!

I am sorry to hear that Shibui has scabbing and flaking on the edges of her ears, despite the inside of her ears looking normal.

Because this is not affecting multiple pets it would make sense that this is not a contagious problem.

Even so if this is new I would recommend an examination by your veterinarian to look for contagious diseases as it is possible this simply hasn't had time to spread. I would take a swab and scraping of the ear skin to look for evidence of mites, sarcoptic and demodex, and collect material for a ringworm culture as these are the most common causes of ear scabs/crusting affecting cats. Sometimes mites can be difficult to find, especially in early infestations.

Other less common reasons for hair loss are related to endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism, or Cushing's Disease (an overactive adrenal gland). Testing is done via a complete thyroid profile or just a T-4 for thyroid disease and an ACTH response test for adrenal disease.

Autoimmune skin disease (body attacking itself) such as pemphigus or vasculitis are both possible since her ear edges seem to be crusty and ulcerated/disintegrated. Diagnosis is via a skin biopsy. Treatment is immunosuppressive drugs such as steroids.

Finally a condition called Feline Pinnal Alopecia is possible if this were only fur loss. This occurs most commonly in Siamese and Siamese mixes. The hair loss areas are smooth though and not scabby or itchy. It may be patchy or involve the entire ear. Hair may spontaneously regrow. Treatment is usually unrewarding but some recommend Melatonin orally at 1/4mg per pound of body weight every 12 hours. That's 2.5mg per 10 pound cat every 12 hours.

Her urinating outside the box may be a signal she is not feeling herself, or there are some social issues.

I'll address that in a moment, but I wanted you to have this information.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OK. thanks. I'm taking her to the vet this evening. As far as urinating in front of the box, what would be the best way to address that? I have multiple boxes. She has a room to herself at night (she doesn't always get along with the other cats and that is her safe space) and she never goes outside the box when she's in there. So, if it's a social issue when she's out with the other cats, how can I get her to stop peeing outside those boxes?

Cats stop using their litter box or also urinate other places for a few reasons:
1) They don't feel well and associate pain with their litter box so go elsewhere hoping not to experience discomfort.

2) Have a surface preference. meaning they are attracted to urinating on a particular surface. For some cats it is plastic but many seem to like cloth.

3) Their litter box is dirty, hard to get to or in or out of, not big enough to comfortably use, they don't like the litter in the box, or they don't have enough privacy in it or feel trapped in the location it is in.

4) Other cats (can be indoors or outdoor strays) or people are scaring them when they are in the box or trying to get to the box.

5) Social stress and overcrowding. Cats in the wild do not live together. It is socially stressful for them to have to be confined together. That is likely why many cats stop "marking territory once they are allowed to go outside. They are less "socially stressed" because they have more room and get more exercise. You have several cats and she may be low on the totem pole and thus not comfortable "marking" over the other, more dominant cats' urine.

First I recommend getting a larger, low sided litter box so she has plenty of room to go in and it is easy to get in and out of. The large low sided plastic containers for slipping under beds or furniture sometimes work well. I also recommend plastic matts set upside down (nubby side up) around the box to protect the floors so it is uncomfortable to stand and urinate on. You also need to make sure that the area that she has picked to go has been cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner, like Nature's Miracle. Although it may smell fine to you their noses are much better than ours and as long as the odor is there she will be attracted to the spot. The longer this goes on the more it becomes a habit so we do want to discourage his behavior.

I also highly recommend a physical examination to make sure all is well. Make sure her urine is checked for any signs of crystals or infection and cultured to make sure a subclinical low grade infection is not part of the problem. Cats with sterile inflammation of the bladder (Interstitial Cystitis) will also behave inappropriately because they are in pain. This condition tends to flare in response to stress. She is trying to be good, going near it, but perhaps going in it is either too painful or difficult for her to manage.

Make sure the litter boxes are spotlessly clean, scoop stools daily, change litter completely weekly and clean the box itself. If the litter box is older than a year definitely get a new one. Many cats don't like odor and an old litter box stinks to them. Ideally you should have one more box than the number of kitties to decrease the competition in the boxes.

Make sure she has privacy when she goes, yet also make sure the box is easy to get to and get in and out of. Many cats appreciate low sided boxes.

If you are using scented litter I recommend plain clay litter or plain scoop litter. Most cats find scented litter objectionable. I also recommend at least one more box than the number of cats. Some cats prefer to urinate and defecate in separate areas.

In most cases a cat that was previously well trained and is now not using their box has a medical condition or is socially stressed so please be patient with her.

To help ease social stress you can try using Feliway sprays or diffusors. These are synthetic pheromones which mimic those produced to mark areas as safe and many cats find them soothing. You can also use pheromone calming collars as well. See this link for some examples: http://www.amazon.com/Sentry-Behavior-Pheromone-Collar-Inches/dp/B0026JAKWG

If these measures aren't enough you can try a homeopathic calming oral medication called Bach's Rescue Remedy. See this link for further information:

http://www.bachflower.com/rescue-remedy-pets-bach-flower/

And you could discuss oral medications with your veterinarian as well such as fluoxetine or amitriptyline as calming agents to decrease her stress if we believe this is stress related.

Finally if she does better when allowed to go out you may wish to construct an outdoor cat pen so he can safely spend time outside. Here are some examples: https://www.google.com/search?q=cat+enclosures&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_tpLCuYDaAhVhyoMKHWhxBgMQ_AUICygC&biw=1423&bih=713

I understand that this is a frustrating problem for you but she is likely behaving this way for a reason. We just need to figure out how to help her.

It has been my pleasure to help you today, and I hope that I have earned my 5 star rating. Please remember to rate my service by selecting the 5 stars at the top of the screen (rating me now does not close your question). You are welcome to ask follow up questions about my response here until you are satisfied, simply use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,138
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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