Ask The Expert (5)

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Topics Covered In Experts (1) Include:

  • Itching and hair loss
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Blood in the stool
  • Acne
  • Squinting
  • Sneezing
  • Sculpting
  • Swatting
  • Eye and wound grooming powder
  • Selling kittens
  • Letting go
  • Baytril
  • Misaligned bite
  • Heterozygous vs homozygous for SH Exotics

Topic: Itching and Hair Loss
HELP!!! My 3 year old Himmy has a horrible itch problem. It started under her chin, spread to the ears and now started around the corners of her mouth. I just had her spayed, thinking it might be hormonal and also they did a skin graft test which showed negative to mites, fleas and ringworm. I am at a loss! She has no more hair in those areas and she scratches until
she bleeds. I don't want to keep giving her steroids for fear of destroying her liver and kidneys. I feed her in a glass dish and have tried different foods. I will be ever soooooo grateful for your help. Thanking you, in advance... Ann

Answer: There are two things I would recommend to you Ann. First, if she has flakey skin as well as the itching, I would suspect the problem could be fur mites even though no mites were found in the skin scraping. Mites are notoriously difficult to find in a scraping. In fact, missing the diagnosis of fur mites is one of the most common mistakes made by vets when presented with a scratching cat. I would give her 3 shots of Ivermectin sub-Q with a week between shots and see if that stops her itching. Read the Members article titled The Mite Fight for complete details on the Ivermectin protocol.

If she shows no improvement after being given Ivermectin, the next thing I would suspect is a possible Food Allergy. Put her on a strict hypoallergenic prescription diet and see if her itching problems lessen. It can sometimes require quite a bit of detective work to discover the problem food that your cat is reacting to... but hang in there. You may even need to go to a veterinary specialist in dermatology to find an answer.

Topic: Vaginal Discharge
We have a 2 and a half year old spayed female cat. She gave birth over a year and a half ago. We had her spayed when the kittens were 8 weeks old. Since then she has had a reoccurring brown vaginal discharge - no weakness, fatigue or lack of appetite - only the discharge. The vet is perplexed. Now one of her female kittens is a year and a half and the same thing is happening to her. Any ideas? Vicky

Answer: Have you had any tests done on the discharge, Vicky? Ask your vet to run both cytology and a culture of the vaginal discharge. It is important for you to obtain a proper diagnosis of the problem. Did the same vet spay both cats? There is a possibility that there may be a technical problem with his surgical technique.

Topic: Blood in the Stool
My kitten I just bought a week ago has a lot of blood in his droppings. Do you know what are the possible causes of this? Kuaika

Answer: There can be a number of causes for blood in stool. The reasons include parasites, a change in diet and even the stress of changing homes. If the blood is dark it is old, dried blood and there is no need to panic. If the blood is bright red it is fresh and if there is a lot, you need to take your cat to the vet immediately. Take a fresh stool sample with your for you vet to test for parasites. Contact the breeder you purchased your cat from to see if the kitten had diarrhea or bloody stool problems previously. Check also to see if your cat's littermates are having a problem with blood in their stool.

Topic: Acne
My cat has feline acne and we have tried everything from shaving her chin, mirracoat, synulox tablets, clearisil face wash (too strong, it burned the skin). Can you suggest anything at all? Panalog cream has been recommended - what results have you had with this cream? Michelle

Answer: Chine acne is a common problem with some cats. Have you removed all plastic from her environment? That includes bowls, toys, anything your cat's face could come in contact with that is made of plastic. Feed her from glass or metal bowls and make sure to clean them daily.

For bad outbreaks of chin acne, I have had good success with twice daily scrubs with hibitane or benzyl peroxide shampoo. She may also need a course of oral antibiotics if she is forming abscesses. If she has abscesses, squeeze the pustules and apply a topical preparation like Panalog cream.

To keep bad outbreaks at bay, try a routine of scrubbing her chin daily or every-other-day scrubs with hibitane and 2-3 times a weeks apply a 0.5% benzyl peroxide gel, available over the counter in the acne section of your local pharmacy. Be sure to use a 0.5% solution NOT the 1% gel as it is too strong for most problems of the skin on a cat. For more suggestions, read the Members article, Chin Acne & Stud Tail.

Topic: Squinting
I have a Persian kitten that is 6 months old. He doesn't always open his eyes real wide, and the breeder stated they had trouble getting pictures of him because of this. Is there anything I can do or use that will help to open up his eyes, especially in the show ring? Vicki

Answer: If a cat never opens its eyes wide, that is the way of that cat and nothing you can do will make it open its eyes wide. However, if your cat opens his eyes wide some of the time, then not at other times - like for photos or at the cat show - there are some simple things you can try to help him show his eyes off better.

One of the unusual characteristics of cats is that when they are under stress, they may get dry eyes. Dry eyes are sore eyes, and so your cat closes them to help re-moisturize. You can help keep his eyes well lubricated by using a light, moisturizing eye drop in your kitten's eyes just before photographing him or taking him up to the judging ring. It may help him open his eyes. Try different brands of drops with him at home to see if a certain brand works better for him. I like to test eye drops in my own eyes before using them on one of my cats. Some eye drops have a momentary slight sting - I avoid those.

I like using Celluhist individual plastic packets of drops or Isoptotears 1% but different products work better on different cats. Go to the moisturizing eye drop section of the drug store and there is a large selection from which to choose. Experiment at home to find which product works best with your kitty.

Topic: Sneezing
Is it normal for Persian cats to sneeze a lot? There is no sign of continual discharge, just an occasional sneeze of white mucus. Most of the sneezing results in a spray of water which frightens the other cats. The sneezing cat is a 14 weeks old kitten who has have two of the three vaccinations. Bev

Answer: Persians and Exotics (and dogs with shortened noses and pug faces) often have secretions that gather in folds of their nasal passages. The sneezing "clears" the pathways. So depending on your particular cat's nose structure, he may sneeze more or less than the average cat and still be perfectly healthy. While it may be frightening to your other cats, they will become accustomed to it over time. If you cat is constantly sneezing or sneezing blood, have him examined by your veterinarian. Of course if the sneezing is accompanied by lethargy, loss of appetite, or runny eyes, take him to your vet immediately.

Topic: Sculpting
How do I sculpt a longhaired cat for showing? Adele

Answer: Asking how to sculpt a Persian is a bit like asking a carpenter how to build a house. It is too big a question to be answered easily. has an outstanding series of articles that teach you exactly how to sculpt you cat's face. Click on Sculpting a Persian in our Article Subject Index to see descriptions and links to all our sculpting articles. The first article in the series is accessible to our visitors however the other articles are reserved for members of

If you decide to become a member just fill out the form on our Membership Page.

Topic: Swatting
I've always thought that when one cat swats at another, the swatter is telling the swattee to back off, or warning the swattee not to approach. Today I noticed my male cat swatting at my female cat, with whom he just had a passionate interlude (breeding her). What does THAT mean? Morticia

Answer: Well, while I cannot read the mind of your male, his batting at his girlfriend may mean he is reacting to the aggressive behavior of the female following their romantic interlude. After breeding it is not unusual for a female to let out a scream, smack her lover and then roll vigorously. Especially if she made contact when she swiped at her "fella", when the male is ready to approach her again, he may "test" the girl to see if she is up to another breeding before he makes another attempt. If she is still feeling the aftermath of irritation from the previous breeding, he will wait a bit longer before whispering sweet nothings in her ear.

You do want to take care that a male and female do not become antagonistic towards one another. This can lead to a pair of cats who will not breed with one another... and sometimes it leads to a male refusing to breed any girls for fear of being attacked. You may want to separate a male and female following a breeding until they both are obviously in the mood again. Better safe than sorry :-).

Topic: Eye and Wound Grooming Powder
I have been reading a lot about the use of eye grooming powder. What is the purpose of the powder and do you comb it out? Christina

Answer:'s Eye and Wound Grooming Powder is used to prevent and reduce stains on your show cat. The most application popular technique is to actually "pack" around the eye area with the powder, leaving it in place and repeating once or twice daily. For a complete article on how to use our powder read the free access article Packing Your Cat's Eyes To Prevent Staining.

Topic: Selling Kittens
What age should I sell my kittens? Bethany

Answer: Reputable breeders never place a kitten before the age of 12 weeks when the kitten is emotionally and physically ready to deal with the stress of a new home and after the kitten has received a second vaccination booster shot. If a kitten must be shipped to its new owner, the minimum age for flying in cargo should be 16 weeks. Read the Members article titled At What Age Should Kittens Go To a New Home? which explains exactly the best age for kittens to be places in a new home... and the risks you take if you send them to a new home earlier.

Topic: Letting Go
My 19 yr old female cat has been in kidney failure for over a year. She's very thin and her fur mats constantly now. Otherwise, she seems like herself: she purrs, jumps on the sofa (even the kitchen table). How will I know if she's in any pain? How will I know its time to let her go? My other concern is that our 1 year old kittie has become aggressive with her. I don't want to extend her life beyond what may be tolerable for her. Bettie

Answer: You must allow your cat's medical condition and her quality of life to be the guide in your decision. 19 is a ripe old age for your girl to have lived. You have taken good care of her for her to have lived so long... and now you are asking the right questions about how to determine her future. While you should consult with your veterinarian following a general checkup for her, only you can make a final decision. There is good advice to help your make the right decision in our free access article, Saying Good-bye.

Topic: Baytril
I had to give Baytril to a kitten at 3 months of age and she is the smallest in her litter. I have heard that Baytril stunts the growth of kittens. Is this what happened to my cat? I also hear Baytril can make your cat blind. It seems to me that Baytril is very dangerous. Linda

Answer: The studies showing that Baytril inhibits the growth and formation of cartilage was done on large breed dogs. Similar results have NOT been proven to occur in cats. In fact, there has been research showing Baytril has no detrimental effect on the growth of kittens. It is important to not assume that a medical reaction that occurs in one species may not hold true for another.

Regarding the vision problems associated with Baytril, NEVER dose Baytril at amounts greater than the recommended 5 mg/kg/day. Higher dosages of Baytril have caused retinal damage leading to blindness in cats.

Topic: Misaligned Bite
I have had two litters of Persian kitten for a total of 6 kittens. Out of these litters I have had 3 (or one-half) of these kittens born with misaligned bites. Is this an inherited factor and if so how can you know if the fault is inherited from the maternal or paternal side? Christina

Answer: Crooked bites can have a hereditary component. If both the parents of your litter have good bites, look to see if the grandparents or siblings and half siblings have bite problems. Cats with foreshortened faces can also have misaligned bites as young kittens that are the result of changes during growth spurts - and may self-correct. You didn't mention the age of the kittens with the crooked bites. It is not uncommon for very young kittens, under 4 months, to have a crooked bite that they will outgrow as their heads and jaws grow larger. You may need to make sure that there is no obstruction to the bite realigning correctly. Look for more in-depth information in the Members article Clipping Your Kitten's Teeth.

Topic: Heterozygous vs Homozygous for SH Exotics
I have a question for breeders :-) Very soon I am going to buy a male for my cattery. And I was looking at many web sites of many breeders. What I found out is that most people use an Exotic x Persian type of breeding. What about Exotic x Exotic?? Will I have problems with my future Exotics using heterozygous by a short hair stud?? Natalie

Answer: Many Exotic breeders feel they get better coats on the Exotics when breeding LH to SH - in other words, all the SH Exotics produced from such a breeding will be heterozygous for SH. On the other hand, there are breeders such as Becky Orlando of Becton Exotics, who have bred SH to SH for 3 and 4 generations or more, producing homozygous for SH Exotics and the cats still had a plush coat. The advantage of breeding SH to SH is you get more SH Exotics. The advantage of purchasing a homozygous for SH Exotic male would mean that whether you breed him to a Persian or another Exotic, all your resulting kittens will be SH Exotics.
More Expert Questions & Answers

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