Can my cat be harmed by a mouse?
Q. My elderly cat has been scratching her face, ever since she caught a mouse. Has she caught something from this mouse? I treat her for fleas regularly with a recommended spot-on product.
A. It is unlikely that she has caught any disease from the mouse or, given her age that she has just developed a food allergy, which is a common reason for cats scratching at their faces.
Most likely, she has caught mites. Two types of mite may cause this problem - ear mites and harvest mites. Ear mites cause a build-up of brown/black wax and dead skin in the ear canals and are very difficult to see without a microscope. They are transmitted by close physical contact such as when your cat has an encounter with another cat.
Harvest mites are tiny orange mites, which are visible to the naked eye and tend to gather in the little pouches on the front edge of the ear flaps of cats, or in between their toes. They suck blood from cats (and dogs) causing a nasty skin irritation.
You should take your cat to her vet who will be able to check if either of these mites are the culprits. Both mites are easy to treat. If untreated, there can be complications associated with self-trauma and deep skin infections.