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Q:  I have a 5 year old indoor male cat.  A couple months ago he began developing scabs inside both of his ear flaps.  I want to bring him to the vet for a check-up but it’s impossible to get him into a carrier.  Do you have any ideas what this could be and what I can do to cure it?  It doesn’t look like it bothers him.   I don’t see him scratching the area or shaking his head.

A:  Unfortunately it is very difficult to diagnose the problem without seeing the pet.  This could be anything from an ear infection to parasites to something more serious like an ear tumor or an immune mediated problem.  So it is essential that you get your cat to your veterinarian.

I can give you some advice on how to get your cat in the carrier.  First off, leave the carrier out in the open when you are not planning on going anywhere.  This will allow him to explore it and decide that it is not always a bad thing.  Also, you can make it more inviting by placing a towel or blanket inside or even a favorite toy.  Sometimes a sprinkling of catnip or some treats may do the trick.  There is also a pheromone spray (Fellway) that you could try which has a calmative effect on cats.  Another thing you can try is using a different type of carrier.  It may be very difficult to get a cat into a front loading carrier and you may want to try one that opens from the top.  Many veterinary clinics sell inexpensive cardboard carriers which are top loading.  This may give you a chance to experiment with what works best for your guy.

If all else fails, you may be able to ask your veterinarian for a mild sedative to help take the edge off your cat so you can get him to the office.  Also, a house call veterinarian may be another option if you cat determines that traveling is completely out of the question. 

Good luck getting him the care that he needs.

Reena Shah, DVM (I-131)

Dr. Shah graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital and since then has remained on staff. Dr. Shah is involved with Oradell Animal Hospital's radioactive iodine program for the treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats. She likes to cook and spend time with her family.