Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cat ear infections and muti-pet households

Eamon in a much too small cat bed
Eamon in a bed that's MUCH too small.
Since Beorn was hit by a car a few weeks ago, I've been spending most of my pet-related energy on helping him to heal and recover. He's made some great strides in the past few days (more on that soon!), but some of my other animals are now starting to demand a bit of my attention. Eamon, in particular, seems to be having a little trouble.

Eamon is an old and demanding cat who isn't afraid to express how he feels. Unfortunately, I'm not so great at understanding what in the hell he's talking about much of the time, and often it takes me a few days to really figure out what's going on with him. Over the weekend, he starting crying and yelling for no reason at all, for example, and on Monday I finally figured out that he was yelling about his left ear.

A cat ear is shaped a bit like the letter "L," and most cats really can't clean in there with any accuracy. They can scrape the tip of the ear with their paws, but they can't really dig in there and clean out the goo. Most of the time, this doesn't matter too much. Other times, however, this can be a problem. In Eamon's case, that ear was full of a black, waxy substance and his balance seemed a little off as a result. He couldn't begin to clean this out on his own.

I cleaned out that ear with a solution (I use Epi-Otic, which they SAY smells like apples and I think smells like nail polish), and I swabbed out the goo I could see with a cotton ball. Today, I did another treatment with the same stuff, and I followed that up with a treatment of Revolution. This stuff kills fleas, which could cause an allergic reaction and ear debris, but it also kills ear mites. If that black goo is caused by little critters in Eamon's ears, they should go away with this treatment.

The moral of this story? Living in a multiple-pet household is really hard. Living in a household with multiple senior pets is really hard. All of these creatures have delicate systems, and they all need quite a bit of help to keep on going, day in and day out. Being the human to this pack means budgeting both time and money to their well-being, and one little slip of focus could mean a health problem for the pet that is neglected.

I've been reading Cragislist and other animal forums lately, and I've seen quite a few messages from people who want to pull together households like mine, with multiple animals who all get along and who all help one another to stay healthy. It all sounds so idyllic, until one falls ill and the vet visits are needed. In general, it's best to keep pet numbers as small as possible. Really. Keeping up with all of their needs really can be too much to bear at times, and it's certainly not a situation I'll ever put myself in again in the future.

For now, I have to go heat up beds for the outdoor cats, walk the dog, make an acupuncture appointment for Beorn and clean Eamon's ears again.

Oh, and sleep. I need to do that, too.