Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Are Ear Mites Bugging Your Cat?

by | Sep 2, 2016 | Cat Behavior & Care | 6 comments

EAR MITES LOVE CATS (DOGS, TOO)

Pets often suffer from earaches from ear infections.  Sometimes infection results from parasites like ear mites. These tiny parasites are common in cats, and causes otodectic mange, more commonly known as ear mite infestation. Ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) are a kind of arthropod that are actually related to and look something like spiders. The first four legs of all stages bear unjointed short stalks and suckers, and adult males also have suckers on the rear legs. Ewwww!

Dogs and cats with itchy ears often invite ear rubbing marathons. Read about doggy moans and groans of ear-rubbing delight here.

ear mites

Ear mites are so tiny, the “evidence” may not be seen except under a microscope.

I’m sharing this information from my EAR MITES entry from Cat Facts, The Series 5 (E): The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia which includes these topics:

Ear Mites, Ears, Eating, Eclampsia (Milk Fever), Electrical Shock, Elizabethan Collar, Endoscope, Enteritis, Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex, Epilepsy, Euthanasia, and Eyes

I’ve broken the massive CAT FACTS book into catnip-size alpha-chapter sections. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every week or so, but ONLY for subscribers on my Amy’s Newsletter Of course, you can still get the entire CAT FACTS book either in Kindle or 540+ pages of print.

EAR MITE LIFE CYCLE

The mites live on the surface of the skin of the ear and ear canal. Adult females lay eggs with cement that sticks them in place. After incubating four days, eggs hatch into six-legged larvae. Larvae feed for three to ten days, consuming the debris of the ear canal, and piercing the skin to suck lymph. Each larva hatches into an eight-legged protonymph, which then molts into a deutonymph. The deutonymph becomes attached to an adult male end to end by the suckers on their rear legs. If a female adult emerges from the deutonymph, fertilization occurs and the female becomes egg bearing. The life cycle lasts three weeks.

ear mites cause scratching

Intense itching with resultant scratching can damage the ear.

CONSEQUENCES OF EAR MITES

Ear mites are the most common cause of ear inflammation. Symptoms of ear mite infestation include brown, waxy debris in the ear canal, and/or crust formation. The crawling mites inside the ear canal produce intense itching and discomfort. Infested cats will shake their heads, dig at their ears, and show a variety of restless behavior.

Excessive head shaking or scratching at the ears caused by ear mites can result in secondary trauma to the pinna, the external portion of your cat’s ear. This can cause a kind of blood blister called a hematoma.

DIAGNOSING EAR MITES

Ear mites are extremely contagious, and outdoor cats are most commonly affected. These parasites aren’t selective; they infest many species, including cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets and other pets. Kittens often acquire ear mites from their mother.

If one pet is diagnosed with ear mites, all the animals in a multi-pet household must be treated to prevent reinfestation. When left untreated, ear mites can cause severe problems of the middle and inner ear, which may affect the cat’s hearing and balance.

Diagnosis is made by actually seeing the mite. The parasite is tiny, white, and nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. Generally, the veterinarian will make a slide of a sample of the ear debris, and examine it under the microscope to identify the parasite.

HOW TO TREAT CAT EAR MITES

Treatment consists of flushing out the debris, and applying insecticide to kill the mites. Bland oil, like mineral oil squirted into the ear canal followed by gentle massage helps flush out the crumbly material. Because of the three week lifespan of the mites, more than one treatment may be necessary to kill the mites as they hatch.

A number of over the counter ear drop medications are available for treating ear mites in cats. Many of them contain insecticides such as carbaryl or pyrethrins in a mineral oil solution. Sometimes, steroids are necessary to help the inflammation subside, and antibiotic ointment may be indicated to treat bacterial infections.

NATURAL OPTIONS FOR TREATING EAR MITES

Holistic veterinarians may recommend using a green tea rinse, since it’s a natural antiseptic and can gently remove the ear debris caused by the mites. Steep a tablespoon of green tea leaves in a cup of hot water for three or four minutes, strain it, and allow to cool to room temperature. Flush your pet’s ear canal with the tea, using a small dropper.

A natural traditional way to treat ear mites is to suffocate the bugs with oil. Place two or three drops of vegetable oil in the pet’s ears, and massage. The oil also soothes the itch, but you’ll need to treat the ears daily for at least a month to catch all the maturing bugs, and your cat’s oily head may not be to his (or your) liking.

VETERINARY INTERVENTION

When the cat’s ears are very sore, sedation may be necessary to properly clean his ears. Even when ear drops are effective, some cats object to having their ears cleaned and treated, and unless the entire course of treatment is completed, the problem will recur. In addition, some cats are resistant to certain medications, or are hard for owners to handle and medicate at home.

For these stubborn cases, an injectable medication may be the answer. One or two beneath-the-skin injections of an insecticide called Ivermectin is effective, but not FDA approved for this use. Veterinarians may use the drug “off label” with the informed consent of their clients.

Has your cat ever suffered from ear mites? How did you get rid of them? Please share your experiences! (Oh, and I hope you’ll forward this post to those who need the info…)


YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

6 Comments

  1. Leslie

    I chanced upon your site when searching for information regarding clearing dog mites. I figured the information that you have provided might be useful for me. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Yes, much of the information applies to dogs, too.

      Reply
  2. jenniferlawrance

    Yellow dock herb works as an anti-inflammatory, purifier, and astringent. These combinations of medicinal effects make it an outstanding choice for eradicating ear mites in cats. More Info: https://goo.gl/A0tDNq

    Reply
  3. naturalmedicationsssmithy22956@gmail.com

    Olive oil is one of the best ways to treat ear mites in cats. This is due to the presence of two active compounds named oleocanthal & squalene, which are known to have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

    Reply
  4. Joseph aquila

    My cat is aout door cat i use treatment on him it appears to high or discordant for awhile i think it helps a little let him out side he comes in a itchs i hate watching him itch and can’t help him i brush him all over he likes his face and chine little by his ears do ihave to put a couple drops of cooking oil in his ear every day and if istart this prosise if i stop doing. will it make it worse

    Reply
    • Amy Shojai

      Joseph, if the treatment isn’t helping for long, you should seek a veterinarian and a diagnosis. There’s likely something else going on there. Good luck!

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. First Aid Medicine Chest: Home Remedies to Save Pet Lives - […] Olive oil: to suffocate/kill ear mites […]
  2. Karma's Ear Boo-Boo: Aural Hematoma Cat Care & What to DoAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] hematomas, those occurring in the skin of the ear flap (pinna), often appear because of ear mite parasites or…

Leave a Reply

Categories:

Recent Posts

TOP 10 DO’s & DON’Ts WHEN ADOPTING A PET for ADOPT A DOG MONTH

It’s Adopt A Dog Month! If a new fur-kid is in your future, remember that more goes into adopting a dog than picking the “prettiest” or just plopping food in a bowl. I’ve written about shelter adoptions before, but here are more specific tips. Follow these do’s and don’ts to ensure your furry love connection lasts past the honeymoon and endures for the lifetime of that pet.

10 DO’s & DON’Ts for Adopting a Dog (or Cat)

Don’t adopt too early. Kittens and puppies adopted too young bite and claw more than those corrected by Mom and siblings. Wait to adopt furry until they are at least 8-10 weeks old for pups and 12 to 16 weeks for kittens…

What Makes Humans Happy? And Where Do Pets Fit In?

When we look at the principles of Positive Psychology (the study of what human wellbeing and fulfillment is made of – including happiness) it’s easy to see why so many of us attribute our happiness and wellness to our pets! I’ve frequently written about how pets show love, and what dogs want out of life. So why not explore what makes humans happy, too?

Read on to learn about th 5 Elements of Human Well-being According to Positive Psychology…

How to Prepare for a Disaster: Pet Preparedness & Tips

With the latest hurricane and more on the way, it’s time to revisit your pet disaster plan. You do have one, right? After Katrina and Harvey, everyone should understand the importance of disaster preparation.

I posted this in June for National Pet Preparedness Month. September is Disaster Preparation Month. Hurricane Ian drives home the importance of having a disaster plan not only for yourself when Mother Nature throws a tantrum but also to keep your pets safe. Whether you must deal with tornadoes, floods, landslides, typhoons, wildfires, or other emergencies, there’s a rule that we must always PLAN FOR THE WORST.

And then pray it doesn’t happen. For those going through issues now, refer to these resources:

Florida Animal Shelter Emergency Response
Mobile Phone: 941-525-8035.
Office Phone: 863-577-4605.
Email: sthayer@spcaflorida.org.

Florida Animal Shelter Emergency Response

American Humane Red Star Disaster Response

American Red Cross

Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief (Government)

What Cats Want Out of Life & What Cats Need

Whether you share your pillow with a kitty, or care for feral, stray or community cats, always consider what cats want out of life. I’ve written about what makes humans happy, as well as what dogs want out of life, and it’s time for the cats. We love our cats all year long, but sometimes lose sight of what cats need out of life. It’s important to channel your “inner kitty” to learn how to keep the purrs rumbling 24/7 to provide what cats need.

Dark Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Books Galore! Booksweeps Giveaway, Emily Kimelman & More!

👀 I spy a steal…If you haven’t read my first September & Shadow Thriller, you can enter to win it on BookSweeps today — plus 55 exciting Dark Mysteries, Thrillers & Suspense books from a great collection of authors… AND a brand new eReader 😀

I’ve teamed up with fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of mysteries and suspense thrillers to 2 lucky winners!

Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁

Adopting “Other-Abled” and Less Adoptable Pets

September 19-25 is National Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Week, founded by PetFinder.com. The organization encourages shelters and rescues to create special week-long events devoted to giving overlooked pets like those with disabilities a better chance at finding homes.

This struck a chord with me, especially after living with a tri-pawd dog when Bravo lost his leg. He didn’t act disabled, though. Have you ever adopted an other-abled pet or less adoptable pet?

What Is A Less Adoptable Pet

Why less adoptable? They’re the wrong breed or have special needs. Overlooked pets include deaf dogs or deaf cats, blind pets, or those missing a limb. Many folks prefer the ‘perfect’ cute puppy or kitten and don’t want a crippled pet, or just don’t like the color of the dog or cat. Of course, we know black dogs and cats, and those with only one eye, or three legs, still love us with all their furry hearts! Read on…

Do Pets See In Color?

I love this question. What do you think? Today’s Ask Amy topic is Do dogs see in color? What about cats and dogs, do they see things differently?

Today, take a fun look at this YouTube video discussing the question. And weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments–does color matter to your fur kids?

How to Manage Fur Shedding

When dog shedding and cat shedding creates hairy tumbleweeds, it creates a fur-ocious mess you need to manage. At one time, our German Shepherd Magic’s fur shedding turned our cream carpet to gray. Today we live with two short-haired pets. But Karma-Kat’s silver fur and the Shadow-Pup’s undercoat become furry dust mice on the kitchen’s slate floor, float through the air, and cling to upholstery and clothing. Knowing what to do goes beyond keeping the house clean. Proper fur care can prevent skin problems and also help manage hairballs.

Exposure to sunlight or artificial light determines the timing and amount of shedding. “It is a normal process which can be accelerated under certain circumstances,” says Steven Melman, VMD, an internationally known expert on veterinary dermatology and the founder of DermaZoo.com. In fact, indoor pets exposed to artificial light shed nonstop, even during triple-digit summer or frigid winter months.

Whatever time of year shedding occurs, it’s aggravating, and a nonstop cleaning challenge. Why do pets shed fur, and how can we manage the mess?

DON’T Hug Your Dog on National Hug Your Hound Day! Here’s Why

Several years ago when I wrote for the puppies.about.com site (now TheSprucePets) I took issue with a promotion advertised by a big-name pet food company that encouraged people to post pictures of themselves hugging dogs. Hoo-boy…Oh dear heaven, by the comments I received you’d think that I said cute babies are evil, apple pie is poison and advocated BEATING YOUR DOG! Part of that has to do with folks reading only the title and ignoring the content of the message. Oh well. That drives home the importance of titles, I suppose.

The promo really struck a chord with pet lovers. After all, who doesn’t love a hug? Hugs mean love, hugs mean happy happy happy, hugs are tail-wagging expressions of the joy we share with dogs. Right? RIGHT?!

Uh, no. And glory be, the promotion lives on, declaring September 11 as “Hug Your Hound Day.” Before you tar-and-feather me, read on to learn WHY hugging your dog can put you, and your dog, in danger…

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): Treatment Hope On The Horizon

Since September celebrates Happy Cat Month, I wanted to share some recent good news about FIP. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease of cats first described in the late 1950s that continues to challenge our understanding today. Until recently, FIP was considered a death sentence and veterinarians had little help for diagnosing the disease. On September 1, 2022, The American Association of Feline Practitioners and EveryCat Health Foundation announced the publication of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Diagnosis Guidelines appearing in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. PLEASE let your veterinarian know.

Dr. Niels Pedersen, now professor emeritus at U.C. Davis, California, has studied FIP since the 1960s. I had the honor to interview Dr. Pederson for an article about FIP that appeared in CATS Magazine (no longer printed) back in the 1990s, and later to hear him speak at prestigious veterinary conferences and at the Cat Writers’ Association events. You can read a 2017 Winn Feline Foundation recap of one of Dr. Pedersen’s sessions on the topic here.  

Today, FIP can be treated, and some cats like Wizard (in the pictures) possibly cured of the disease.

Visit Amy’s Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This