Ear Mites in Cats: How to Control Them

Ear Mites in Cats: How to Control Them

Ear Mites in Cats

There are several types of ear mites in cats. The most common, though, is Otodectes cynotis, which are tiny eight-legged parasites that feed on the wax and oils in the cat’s ear canal. In order for you to determine if your cat has ear mites, check for a dark brown crumbly substance inside his ear.

Causes of Ear Mites in Cats

Ear mites can be easily transmitted from one animal to another. The most common form of propagation is between cats. Dogs can also transmit the parasites. However, ear mites are much more common in cats than in dogs.

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If you observe some of the following symptoms in your cat, inspect his ears and confirm with your veterinarian.

  • Head shaking
  • Excessive scratching of ears
  • Brown or black scratchy secretion
  • Dermatitis and hair loss
  • Ear inflammation
  • Strong odor
  • Scabs or scratches on the ear

If ear mites in cats are not treated early, besides inflammation and infections, they can cause blood vessels inside a cat’s ear to rupture. This is caused by the excess scratching and head shaking and is know as aural hematoma. If you suspect your cat got complications from ear mites, take him to the veterinarian. Surgery is usually necessary to correct aural hematoma.


It is important for you to take your cat to the veterinarian if you suspect your cat has ear mites. He will take a discharge sample with a swab and take a look under a microscope.  This is important since some bacteria can mimic infections by ear mites. If you try to diagnose, you might get your cat started on a wrong treatment.

Treatment against ear mites in cats will include a topical medication that your veterinarian will prescribe for you to apply on his skin or products to directly apply in the ear. Depending on the cat’s personality and amount of buildup, your veterinarian will clean the ear with cotton and an ear cleanser.

After the first applications, your cat will start feeling relief and reduce the frequency of scratching. However, it is important to complete the full course of treatment to completely eradicate the parasite.

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