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C2003-33

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat’s ears are giving us a problem. He rubs his head against the furniture, but the vet checked him twice and found no infection. Any suggestions?

Christopher Responds

We cats rub our faces against furniture to mark it with our scent, so other cats know it’s our property. But excessive head rubbing usually means we’re itchy or uncomfortable.

It’s good you had him checked by his veterinarian to rule out ear mites and infections, common causes of itchy ears.

Other reasons for excessive head rubbing are:

· allergies to foods or inhalants, such as pollens, molds or dust mites;
· ear wax plugs or polyps deep in the ear canals;
· discomfort elsewhere, such as the mouth.

Let your veterinarian know the excessive head rubbing is continuing. You can investigate whether an allergy is at fault by treating your cat with an antihistamine or a short course of prednisolone and, if that’s not effective, by feeding him a prescription hypoallergenic diet for a few months.

Ear drops that dissolve wax are often quite effective. If these suggestions doesn’t solve the problem, talk with your veterinarian about anesthetizing your cat for a thorough examination of his ear canals and mouth. Ask your vet to scale and polish his teeth at the same time.

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