ear mites in cats

What are Ear Mites in Cats?

What is it?

Ear mites in cats are tiny external parasites that live in the ear canal and feed on the skin debris and wax in the ear. They can cause irritation, discomfort, and infections in the ear and may spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. In addition, ear mites are highly contagious and can be easily transmitted between cats, making prompt treatment and preventative measures necessary for managing and preventing infestations.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of ear mites in cats typically involves using medicated ear drops or ointments specifically formulated to kill the mites and soothe the affected area. The ears may also need to be cleaned to remove debris and discharge. In severe cases, additional antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may be necessary to manage complications such as infections or inflammation.

Breed Predispositions

 Ear mites can affect any cat breed ad is typically more common in outdoor or stray cats due to their increased exposure to other cats and animals that may be carriers of the mites.


One evening, while cuddling with her affectionate Siamese cat, Nala, Jenny noticed her feline friend excessively scratching her ears and shaking her head. Upon closer inspection, Jenny spotted tiny, dark specks in Nala’s ears, prompting her to visit the veterinarian for a thorough examination. The vet quickly identified the problem: Nala had ear mites, a common issue affecting cats of all breeds.

Ear mites in cats are tiny parasites in the ear canal and outer ear folds. They are small and look like white specks. They have eight legs and two body segments. Their bodies contain mouthparts called chelicerae, which allow them to feed on blood, tissue, and hair debris. This causes inflammation and irritation of the ear canal. In addition to causing discomfort, ear mites can spread bacteria into the bloodstream, leading to potentially life-threatening conditions.

They are highly contagious within cat colonies. They can affect both indoor and outdoor cats. If left untreated, ear infections can lead to severe complications such as secondary bacterial infection, otitis externa, and even death.

Ear mites infestations are one of the cats’ most common causes of upper respiratory infections. They also cause skin irritation and itching, especially around the face and ears. Parasitic mites cause the condition in the cat’s external auditory canal. These mites feed off dead cells in the ear canal and produce allergens that irritate the cat’s sensitive mucous membranes. Ear mites are often found in young, free-ranging cats, dogs, and animals with outdoor access. However, up to 25 percent of pet cats and 6 percent of pet dogs are affected.

In most cases, They are harmless and don’t pose any health risks. However, severe infections can lead to secondary bacterial infections and ear damage.

There are two types of ear mites – internal and external.

  1. Internal ear termites are located inside the ear canal. These mites cannot be seen without opening up the ear canal. They are caused mainly by the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii. Cats become infected by eating undercooked meat containing tissue cysts of T. gondii. After ingestion, the parasite travels to the brain, reproducing and multiplying. It then moves down the spinal cord and enters the central nervous system. Once in the central nervous system, the parasite produces antibodies, causing the cat to develop symptoms similar to rabies.
  2. External ear mites are usually found outside the ear canal, visible when the cat opens their mouth. They are caused by the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis. This fungus grows on the surface of the cat’s skin and produces microscopic hairs called Trichoderma. When these hairs come into contact with the cat’s ear canal, they attach themselves to the ear canal wall and feed on the cells lining the walls. As mites increase, the cat becomes uncomfortable and starts rubbing against objects such as furniture or carpeting.

Causes of Ear Mites in Cats

External ear mites are caused by direct contact with another animal or person who has them. They get a type of parasitic fly called the chigoe. These insects lay eggs on the outer surface of the cat’s ear canal. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the ear and feed on the cat’s tissue. As they grow, the larvae create a thick layer of waxy material that covers the cat’s ear canal and prevents water from draining correctly.

Internal ear mites are spread via airborne particles, including dust, dirt, pollen, and pet dander. They are caused primarily by fleas. Fleas bite the cat’s ear canal, causing inflammation and swelling. Over time, the flea saliva dries out the ear canal, creating a humid environment where the mites thrive.

There are also other reasons for a cat to get mites. For example, breed, environment, and genetics play a role in its development.

Causes of ear mites in cats

Environment plays a big part too. For example, if your cat lives in a household with multiple pets, it may pick up these from another animal.

Genetics also come into play. Certain genetic traits can predispose your cat to develop ear mites. For instance, some cats are more likely to develop them due to a recessive gene mutation. One parent must be a mutation carrier for the offspring to inherit the trait.

This is called dominant inheritance. Other cats have a higher chance of developing ear mites due to dominant genes. These cats have two copies of the same allele, meaning each copy carries the same gene.

Symptoms of Ear Mites in Felines

Signs of ear mites usually appear within two weeks after exposure. These include excessive scratching, redness, swelling, and crusting of the skin and are often accompanied by a foul smell. Other signs include excessive shedding, itching, and discharge from the ears.

Sometimes, your cat shakes his head repeatedly or even bleeds from his ears. In addition, he may scratch his ears excessively or rub them against furniture or objects. This behavior indicates a hypersensitivity reaction.

If your cat scratches his ears hard enough to break the skin, he could develop an infection. In addition, some cats develop secondary infections, including yeast, bacteria, and ringworm. A study of pet cats from seven different European countries found that ear mites were the second most common parasite in 17.3 percent of cats and more frequently detected than fleas.

An aural hematoma is a complication of ear mites. This occurs when blood vessels rupture because of irritation. Your vet may recommend treatment if there is bleeding inside the ear.

Diagnosis of Cats with Ear Mites

To diagnose, veterinarians thoroughly examine your pet’s ears and look for signs of inflammation. In addition, they look for evidence of scratching, rubbing, or licking of the ears. They may also examine the fur around and behind the ears to detect abnormalities. They might also scrape the ear canal to collect samples for analysis.

Once they’ve determined that your cat does indeed have ear mites, they’ll recommend treatment options.

Treatments for Feline Ear Mites

There are several different types of treatments available, depending on your cat’s age and overall condition. Some medications are topical, while others are oral.

For internal ear mites, oral medication is required. Several options include prescription drugs, homeopathic remedies, and herbal supplements. Most veterinarians recommend treating both types together to prevent a recurrence. Oral medications usually require daily administration. Some of these medications can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset.

Some oral medications include:

  • Milbemycin oxime is given subcutaneously. It eliminates O. bacoti but does not kill any other species of ear mites.
  • Ivermectin is an oral medication used to treat ear mite infections. This is administered orally every 14 days. This is effective against most species of ear mites but does not eliminate all types.

External ear mites can be treated with topical medications. They can be applied every few days. They come in liquid form and work well because they go directly into the ear canal where the mite lives. However, these can irritate the eyes, mouth, nose, and throat.

Some topical medications include:

  • Ivermectin is a topical medication applied directly to the affected area. This is effective against most species of ear mites but does not eliminate all types.
  • Selamectin is administered orally. It kills all known species of ear mites except for Ornithonyssus bacoti.

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Felines?

How to prevent ear mites in felines?

Prevention requires regular ear cleaning. The most effective way to do this is to bathe your cat at least once weekly. Bathing should include washing the entire body, including the face, head, neck, back, tail, paws, and genitals. If you have multiple cats, they should all receive the same bath. You can use a shampoo designed specifically for cats or any pet shampoo. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after bathing.

If your cat has been exposed to another cat with ear mites, you should wash its ears immediately. This includes washing the area around the external opening of each ear. Cleaning the ears regularly helps reduce the risk of infection.

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and playtime. Also, avoid giving your pet food treats that contain corn syrup. Corn syrup is known to attract pests such as ants and cockroaches.

Finally, consider getting your pet spayed or neutered. These procedures can eliminate the possibility of contracting ear mites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we have listed some effective natural remedies for ear mites.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar has been known to kill ear mites naturally. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water and apply it to your affected ear twice daily. This mixture should be left overnight before washing out with lukewarm water. Repeat the process once every day until you see improvement.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is another excellent option for treating ear mites. Mix equal amounts of tea tree and olive oil and then use them as drops. You may repeat this treatment every week.
  • Garlic – Garlic is a powerful herb that helps fight ear mites. Crush garlic cloves and add them to boiling water. Let it cook for 5 minutes, and then strain it. Use this solution as drops in your affected ear. Repeat this procedure thrice weekly.
  • Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe vera gel is an excellent herbal remedy for ear mites. Take aloe vera gel and rub it gently onto your affected ear. Leave it there for at least 20 minutes. Then wash it with lukewarm water.

The time required to treat ear mites depends on several factors, including the number of mites present, how severe the problem is, and whether your cat has been treated before. Most ear mites resolve themselves after two weeks to three months of treatment. Once your cat has been treated, he should recover completely. However, some cats may have recurring infections even after being treated successfully.

Your cat may exhibit several signs indicating ear mites, including scratching at her ears excessively; redness and inflammation around the ears; increased discharge from the ears (which can be either watery or yellow); inability to hear well in one or both ears. If you suspect your cat has ear mites, please consult your veterinarian, who will prescribe treatment.

Some people think cat ear mites go away independently, but most experts believe they may need to be treated with a topical antiparasitic medication.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that inhabit the ears of cats. To check for ear mites, gently touch your cat’s ears and examine them closely for signs of redness or irritation. If you find any signs of infestation, take your cat to a veterinarian for an evaluation.

If cat ear mites are left untreated, they will spread to other body parts and cause serious health problems. They may also be able to damage your pet’s hearing.

There is no concrete answer to this question, as ear mites can cause health problems in cats and humans. However, some potential symptoms of an ear mite infestation include inflammation, redness, decreased hearing ability, difficulty breathing, sneezing, and coughing. If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it may be wise to schedule a visit with your veterinarian for further evaluation.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ears of cats. They are not harmful to cats but can cause irritation and redness around the ear canal.

Ear mites can be contagious to cats, but the risk of transmission is low. Ear mites are tiny creatures that live in the ears of cats and other animals. They suck blood from the ear canal and may cause irritation, discharge, or infection.

Ear mites are often visible to the naked eye in cats. They can be found on the ears and around the openings of the ear canal.

If you have eliminated all the cats’ bedding and furnishings in their living areas and they still show signs of ear mites, then it is likely that the mites are not gone. Therefore, you may need to treat them with an over-the-counter medication such as selenium or pyrethrin.

Ear mites can cause a cat to vomit, as they may irritate the stomach and intestines. However, this is only a minor side effect and does not necessarily mean that ear mites are causing the vomiting.

Ear mites can cause hair loss in cats, but it is not always clear why. The infection may start by damaging the cat’s ear canal and spreading to the hair follicles inside the ears. Over time, these damaged cells may not be able to produce average amounts of oil, which can lead to balding or thinning hair around the affected area.

Ear mites in cats can be a severe problem. Ear mites feed on the sebum (oil) produced by the cat’s skin, which can cause significant discomfort and damage to the ear canal. They also have an inflammatory response in the ear that may result in clinical signs such as discharge from the ears, reduced hearing ability, or even partial or total deafness. Therefore, treatment of mites should always be considered if there are any signs of infection, and affected cats should only go with treatment once this has been confirmed.

Ear mites can cause diarrhea in cats, but it’s not always the case. Some cats only develop diarrhea after being treated for ear mites.

Ear mites are not an emergency but should always be brought up as potential causes of possible underlying health problems. For example, if your cat is scratching, has discharge from the ears, or appears to have other signs of illness, it may be necessary to take it to the veterinarian for further evaluation.

If your cat scratches their head excessively, it may be in distress. This could indicate something wrong with the hair on the back of their neck or skull, and professional help may be necessary to determine the cause.

The life cycle of the ear mite is as follows: an egg is deposited on the cat’s skin, which hatches and creates a larva. The larva attaches itself to a hair shaft in the ear, eats its way through the inner ear canal, and molts into an adult.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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