Q. Is there any way that I can keep my 6-month-old neutered cat from crying and howling at night? He does go out in the daytime but is kept in at night. I thought that getting him fixed would stop all this noise.
Nancy Wilmers, Orange
A. Your young male cat wants to join the neighborhood cats. Unfortunately, this often leads to fights or other injuries. Even though he is neutered, he may still feel it is necessary to defend his home turf and express his displeasure at intruders by vocalizing his complaints.
Keeping him in at night is wise if there are other cats in the area that would start fights with him. If possible, keep the curtains or blinds drawn. If you see any cats hanging around, chase them away. If they are stray cats, use a humane trap to capture them and turn them over to animal control or the humane society.
In some cases, mild sedatives can be used to reduce your cat's anxiety. You might have him examined by your veterinarian to make sure that he has no physical problems that might be causing him discomfort. In many cases, these episodes resolve with time and patience.
Q. What is the best way to keep my cat's ears clean? He has begun to scratch at them more than he used to. He will let me start to use a Q-Tip but after a few tries, he puts up a fight. I have used Mitox before and this seemed to help but now he gets angrier and acts as if his ears hurt. Is there something else I can use? I really don't want to cart him off to the vet if I don't have to.
Jeff Stobins, Costa Mesa
A. Any time your pet acts as if his ears hurt and won't let you touch them, it is time to have him checked by your veterinarian. He might have a foreign body such as a foxtail in the ear which cannot be easily removed. If he has a severe ear mite infection, it will be necessary to gently wash and then medicate the ears. If there is an infection, antibiotics will be necessary. A cat's ears are very sensitive and must be gently cleaned. A Q-Tip may only be packing the debris in farther and creating more pain. Do him a favor and get him treated right away.