What Are Ear Mites in Cats?
Ear mites in cats are quite common. In fact, about half of all cat ear infections are caused by an ear mite infestation. Dogs get infested with ear mites too, but on less frequent occasions than cats.
What does an Ear Mite Look Like in Cats?
Ear mites in cats appear as very small and moving dots or specks.
Because of their tiny size, they may not even be detectable by the naked eye. Under magnification (the veterinarian will use an otoscope or microscope), these tiny parasites are like eight-legged and crab-like creatures.
Cats with ear mite infestations will produce copious amounts of specific ear wax that is black and tarry and is usually described as coffee grounds.
How does a Cat Get Ear Mites?
Cats get ear mites through interactions with infected pets (other cats, dogs, ferrets, or rabbits). Ear mites and highly contagious and have a life cycle of three weeks, during which they multiply fast. rapidly.
The most common ear mite in cats and dogs (and humans) is Otodectes cynotis. Luckily, these tiny parasites cannot be transmitted to humans.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Has Ear Mites?
The telltale signs of ear mites in cats are constant head shaking, vigorous ear scratching, and the presence of black ear discharge (resembling coffee grounds). Scabs in the outer ear and hair loss around the ear are also possible.
If the itchiness and ear infection are severe, the cat may exhibit additional signs and symptoms like increased irritability, loss of appetite, disinterest in everyday activities, or even fever.
How Contagious Are Cat Ear Mites?
Ear mites are highly contagious as they can travel from the ears of an infected cat to any other cat that comes in close contact.
Ear mites in cats can also be picked up from the environment. This is more common in outdoor cats as they are brawling or cuddling with other cats.
How do You Get Rid of Ear Mites in Cats
There are several products that are available that can help counter ear mites in cats. Let us look at some of the most popular products that are recommended by vets and pet owners.
Four Paws Aloe Ear Mite Treatment for Cats. This cat ear mite treatment solution kills ear mites on contact as it is formulated with pyrethrin. It features calming aloe vera for cats’ irritated ears.
It also helps to remove excess wax, which might otherwise lead to a mite infestation. The product has been specially formulated to quickly kill ear mites on contact for fast relief.
Adams Ear Mite Treatment For Cats Over 12 Weeks. This product kills ear mites on contact and is suitable for dogs and cats 12 weeks and older. It also contains aloe and lanolin to help soothe irritated skin.
The product can be used daily for 7-10 days, and the treatment can be repeated in two weeks if necessary. Furthermore, the easy-to-use applicator tube makes it easy to treat your cat or dog‘s ears.
Bio-Groom Non-sticky Ear Mite Treatment. This non-sticky and non-oily lotion is formulated with aloe vera. It also helps in wax removal, which prevents ear mite infestations.
The product is safe for dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, and rabbits, as well as the environment. As a preventative treatment, apply this solution every 15 days to reduce ear mite and ear tick infestation and ear wax accumulation.
Sentry Hc Earmitefree Ear Miticide For Cats. This product eliminates mites in your cat’s ears and also relieves itching. This water-based product soothes the skin thanks to its non-oily formula.
Apply five drops into the ears twice a day until the mites are completely gone. The solution also contains pyrethrins (0.06%) and piperonyl butoxide technical (0.60%) as its active ingredients.
Arava Natural Ear Mite Infection Cleaner. The Arava premium dog ear mite solution contains nine all-natural oil and 26 Dead Sea minerals to effectively eliminate mite problems and keep your pet’s ears clean.
Use this pet ear mite cleaner for dogs and cats for at least ten days to ensure efficacy. The ear drops can be used in conjunction with the brand’s pet wipes, which are safe to use on daily basis.
What Happens If Cat Ear Mites are Left Untreated?
If left untreated, ear mites can have serious consequences.
For example, the constant head shaking can lead to rupture of the ear’s blood vessels and result in an aural hematoma (an ear pocket filled with blood). Aural hematomas require surgical correction.
Another possible consequence is a severe ear infection. At first, the infection will be limited to the outer ear (otitis externa). However, over time, it can spread and affect the middle (otitis media) and inner ear (otitis interna).
If the infection spreads to the eardrum, it can damage hearing. This can also affect the cat’s sense of balance.
How Long does it Take to Treat Ear Mites in Cats?
Since ear mites in cats have a life cycle of three weeks, usually, that is the timeframe needed for clearing the infestation. However, the symptoms of ear mites may start subsiding short after the systemic or topical medications are applied.
There are several treatment options for ear mites in cats, but the most popular ones include the drugs ivermectin, selamectin, moxidectin, and milbemycin. The treatment of ear mites in cats is simple and prevents the onset of additional ear problems.
How Can You Prevent Ear Mites in Cats?
Maintaining good ear hygiene is the best way of preventing ear mites in cats. Here are some things you can do to avoid ear mite infestations:
- Ear Cleaning Products. There are many ear drops and ear cleaning solutions that can be used regularly. They promote ear hygiene and health and help prevent ear problems.
- Using Natural Oils. Instead of special pet solutions, you can also use a cotton ball dampened in olive oil to clean the outer part of the ear.
- Topical Medications. The veterinarian can put a topical medication (with an active ingredient like ivermectin). Such products keep the cat protected from ear mites and other parasites for a specific period.
- Regular Vet Checkups. Make sure your cat gets checked by the vet on a regular basis. This is important to ensure optimal cat health and gives the opportunity to catch ear mite infestations and other issues early on.