Ear Mites In Cats

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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. In this article we will discuss ear mites infections in cats and how to treat them.

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. 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

Mites should only be treated after a veterinarian has made an expert diagnosis. If there are no mites, using anti-mites preparations may aggravate an infection in the ear. Mites on a cat’s skin are treated by applying a medical shampoo under a veterinarian’s supervision.

Ear mites are treated with special eardrops, which can be obtained from your veterinarian and in some pet shops. It is very important to apply the drops in the ears when they are clean, so that the drops affect the mites directly. Before the drops are administered, you should clean the outer part of the ear, using a piece of cotton wool dampened with a special solution for cleaning cats’ ears. The folds of the outer ear can be cleaned using Q-tips, soaked in the same solution.

Note: Never insert the cotton bud (on a Q-tip or otherwise) inside the inner parts of the ear.

Once the ear is clean, you should put several drops of the anti-mite medication into each ear. The precise dosage and frequency should be set by your veterinarian. The cat will immediately try to shake its head. In order to keep the drops from being expelled, the cat should be held firmly at this point and the ear should be held closed and gently massaged for several seconds so that as much of the medication as possible gets deep down inside. A bit of the stuff mixed with remains of the “dirt” may still be expelled from the ears, so don’t wear your best clothes for this procedure!

If you find that your cat reacts violently – the medication often stings a little – you can use a heavy towel to immobilize the legs against the cat’s body. This will save you from being scratched. It also helps to soothe the cat with your voice throughout.

Mites can be transmitted from cats to dogs. If there are other cats and/or dogs in the house, they should also be examined for mites and treated simultaneously.

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

15 comments on “Ear Mites In Cats

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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