Ear Mites In Cats – Decoding The Itch And How to Stop It

Get ready for a little journey into the world of your cat's ears! There's a tiny bug, called an ear mite, that likes to move in and make a big fuss.

A stray cat with infectious ear discharge

You can't see these little critters, but your cat sure can feel them. They make your kitty scratch their ears and shake their head - it's no fun at all!

But don't worry, we've got the scoop on these pesky mites and how to send them packing. So stick around, and let's dive into the world of ear mites in cats. We've got your back, and your cat's ears too!

What Are Ear Mites?

Mites are microscopic white insects that might be found on a cat's skin or inside its ears.

Ear mites are a specific kind of this insect, which infects cats' ears. Their Latin name is "Otodectes Cynotis" and they are quite common.

There are other kinds of mites that can affect a cat's skin and these are often referred to as mange. The mites themselves are invisible to the naked eye.

A veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis by taking a sample from the infected area and examining it under a microscope.

You may sometimes be able to observe the mites at home by taking a bit of the "dirt" in the cat's ear, placing it on a dark surface, and looking at it through a high-quality magnifying glass or a simple microscope.

Symptoms Of Ear Mites In Cats

Ear mites not only generate irritation and scratching but also increase the secretion of earwax, which can make the inside of the ear look dirty.

Kitten with ear mites

The cat then tends to scratch its ears and shake its head. Secondary bacterial or fungal infections may be created in the ears as well.

Stray cats and kittens are especially susceptible to ear mites. Ear mites are very infectious between cats and dogs - cats in pet shops are often infected with the parasite.

Treatment Of Ear Mites In Cats

When dealing with ear mites in cats, it's important to follow a systematic approach to ensure the mites are effectively eradicated and the cat's discomfort is minimized.

The following steps provide a comprehensive guide on how to correctly diagnose, treat, and prevent ear mites in cats.

This process involves professional vet consultation, careful cleaning, medication application, and managing the cat's reactions during treatment.

Remember, if you have other pets at home, they should also be checked as mites can spread easily between animals.

1. Obtain a Veterinarian Diagnosis

Before initiating any treatment for mites, it's crucial to have a professional diagnosis from a veterinarian.

Little kitten cat for examination of the ear on the table by the veterinarian

The symptoms of mites can be similar to other ear conditions, and a proper diagnosis ensures you're treating the right issue.


2. Avoid Unnecessary Anti-Mite Preparations

If the diagnosis confirms there are no mites, avoid using anti-mite preparations.

These could potentially aggravate an existing infection in the cat's ear. Always follow the veterinarian's recommendations for treatment.

3. Treat Skin Mites with Medical Shampoo

If the cat has mites on its skin, the treatment usually involves the application of a medical shampoo. This should be done under the supervision of a veterinarian to ensure safety and effectiveness.

4. Obtain Special Eardrops for Ear Mites

Ear mites are generally treated with special eardrops that can be procured from a veterinarian or some pet shops. Make sure you understand the instructions for use.

The veterinarian instills special ear drops for animals in the cat's ear. The veterinarian examines the cat. Cat at the vet's appointment. Animal clinic.

5. Clean the Ears Before Treatment

Before applying the eardrops, it's important to clean the cat's ears. Clean ears ensure the drops can directly affect the mites, improving the effectiveness of the treatment.

6. Use a Special Solution for Ear Cleaning

To clean the outer part of the ear, use a piece of cotton wool dampened with a special solution designed for cleaning cats' ears. The solution helps remove debris and prepare the ear for treatment.

7. Clean Outer Ear Folds with Q-Tips

For the folds of the outer ear, Q-tips soaked in the ear-cleaning solution can be used.

Click here to see this pack of Q-tips on Amazon.

However, caution is necessary to avoid inserting the Q-tip into the inner parts of the ear, which can cause damage.

Closeup picture. The cat is cleaned with dirt ears

8. Apply Anti-Mite Medication

Once the ears are clean, apply several drops of the anti-mite medication to each ear. Your veterinarian will provide guidance on the precise dosage and frequency of application.

9. Prevent the Cat from Shaking Out Medication

Cats may try to shake out the medication immediately after application.

To prevent this, hold the cat firmly and keep its ear closed. Gently massage the ear for several seconds to help the medication penetrate deeper.

10. Prepare for Possible Medication Expulsion

Despite your best efforts, some of the medication may still be expelled from the cat's ears. To avoid potential stains, don't wear your best clothes during this procedure.

11. Handle Violent Reactions Carefully

If your cat reacts violently—perhaps because the medication stings—use a heavy towel to immobilize its legs. This can protect you from scratches and can also help to soothe the cat.

A veterinarian in gloves is cleaning the ears of a gray cat. Close-up.

12. Soothe the Cat Throughout the Procedure

Speaking to your cat in a soothing voice throughout the procedure can help keep it calm. This makes the process easier for both you and your cat.

13. Check Other Pets for Mites

Finally, keep in mind that mites can be transmitted from cats to dogs.

Therefore, it's important to have any other cats or dogs in the house examined for mites and treated simultaneously, if necessary, to prevent re-infestation.

Ear Mites in Cats: Final Notes

Venturing into the world of your cat's ears and the tiny, trouble-causing ear mite is crucial for the well-being of our feline friends.

With proper knowledge and professional assistance, treating ear mite infestations becomes a manageable task.

Remember, prevention is key. Regular grooming, routinely inspecting your cat's ears, and maintaining a clean environment can help prevent an outbreak.

If ear mites do appear, patience and consistency in treatment are vital for success. While the process might be tiresome, the outcome—a mite-free, healthy, and comfortable cat—makes it all worthwhile.

Don't forget that ear mites can easily spread among pets. Ensuring all household animals are checked and treated if necessary is crucial.

Together, we can keep our pets healthy and free from the discomfort caused by these pesky pests.

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!


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16 comments on “Ear Mites In Cats – Decoding The Itch And How to Stop It

Yahirluvscats February 23, 2022
my cats ear has a infection i think :'(
SeventhHeaven February 14, 2016
I clean their ears with apple cider vinegar - tiny dab with diluted warm water on a Q tip, gently swab inside ear and around, never had ear problems. *Cleaning purposes only 
sophie79 May 16, 2014
You can get Hexamite at the vets...it is a brown liquid that works really well. Don't buy the other stuff at the pet stores. I tried it on my cat and he had severe irritation. It caused the skin outside his ears to flake and the fur actually fell out. I have also heard that olive oil works and is obviously more natural and safe.
only1sandy May 8, 2014
(SheriT) mix quarter of the oil with warm water in a small clean sprayer bottle .use the sprayer before bathing your cat .spray carefully you will notice cat wont be happy,use cotton bad to clean cat's ear .shampoo the suurounding ear area and then rinse with water. And I absolutely agree with (Anne) you should consult your vet before trying on your cats. Good day for all,......
Anne May 7, 2014
I would definitely advocate talking to your vet before putting anything in a cat's ear. 
sherit May 7, 2014
Also thanks to the cat ownner above  for telling us about the older vet who mentioned Sweet Oil for ear  mites nice to know about that also!
sherit May 7, 2014
Sandy, I want to try the olive oil too..can you tell me how to mix it and what part of olive oil to use with warm water and how often..daily and how many days .. Does the ear clear out the oil residue well and return to normal at the opening and in the ear canal eventually? I use no chemicals on my 3 cats..thanks sheri
only1sandy April 7, 2014
I used olive oil mixed with warm water and dropping inside the walls of her ears with a help of cooton swap .it worked she stoped rubbing her ears
catzendogs April 4, 2014
When my 3 indoor-only cats somehow got ear mites, I didn't want to use a chemical pesticide/insecticide, so I searched for a homeopathic solution. I am very sensitive to chemicals, and I just have a difficult time using them on my pets since reading about so many adverse reactions. Anyways, to make a long story short, I used 100% Neem oil. I put the closed bottle into a container of hot water for about 6 minutes to warm it up, then put half a dropper-full of the Neem oil into each cat's ear, massaged each ear for about a minute, then wiped away the excess with a cotton ball. Worked like magic! I cleaned each ear first with a mixture of pure olive oil and vitamin e oil.
only1sandy April 1, 2014
Can Mites be transmitted from cats to humans
pdbudd February 20, 2014
An old, very old, vet told us to go to the pharmacy and buy Sweet Oil. The thing you are doing is suffocating the mites in the ears.
themelyssak December 10, 2013
One of my previous cats had ear mites. I was pretty young and remember some yellow solution or was told about it that the vet used to clean his ears. He didn't like the eardrops, I remember THAT much!
Anne December 7, 2013
@segelkatt  Ear mites sure can make a cat miserable. I have never heard of a case where the ears fold down and close up though. I'm also not aware of any connection between ear mites and fleas. May I suggest you start a thread about this in the Health Forum and bring links to scientific data to back up this claim. Thanks!
segelkatt December 7, 2013
Ear mites are usually cause by a cat having fleas. Getting rid of the fleas does not get rid of the ear mites. They are also going to jump on your other cats if you don't get rid of them right away. Eventually they will make your cat's ear fold down and tight together. Get Revolution, put it on the cats scruff and that will keep them off besides fleas etc. Also use the stuff the vet prescribes against the ear mites. A cat with ear mites will be miserable so get rid of them.   
Anne December 5, 2013
Please make sure you post questions on the forums. We can definitely try and help out there :) 
catchya May 22, 2013
We have a new kitten we named Maximus (new to a household with two other cats already) and had him neutered a week ago. While there, it was discovered that he had ear mites. They told us he needs to wear the cone (e-collar) for up to 14 days to keep him away from where his little nuggets used to be. He has adjusted REALLY well to it, learning how to potty, eat and find his little kitty snack when it drops on the floor. My question/comment is about the ear mite situation. I want to take the cone off soon but I'm worried about his kicking/scratching at his ears. The dosage is 5 drops per ear for 4 weeks. Does this mean he has to wear that thing for that long? Or can I take it off and hope for the best. After I use the drops and gently massage them in, his poor ears look so pink and sore. And that's WITH the cone! What do I do?

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