A healthy cat is a happy cat, and that’s why you want to make sure your furry friend is always in the best possible condition — but some problems, like your cat might have ear mites, which can be hard to spot at first.
If your kitty is shaking their head a lot or frequently scratching their ears then these could be tell-tale symptoms of mites. Don’t be worried if you find out that your cat does indeed have ear mites, because in the early stages the worst that will happen is that the pests will inflame the feline’s ears and make them uncomfortable. However, you need to treat mites when you find them because they can cause longer-term damage to the cat’s eardrums or lead to infections.
And thankfully it’s fairly simple to treat cat ear mites with some easily available medication. Check out the guide below for everything you need to know about cat ear mites, including steps to identify and treat them so that you can make sure your cat is a healthy as possible.
What Are They Exactly?
Cat ear mites have an elaborate scientific name, otodectes cynotis mites, but are commonly known by veterinarians and pet owners as ear mites. These annoying parasites like to set up home deep in your cat’s ear canal, although sometimes they infest other parts of the body.
These little boogers survive by eating your cat’s skin oils and the wax they generate in their ears. Although the average parasite has a life span of about eight weeks, they lay eggs that can catch within under five days – becoming an adult cat ear mite after about 21 days — which means the family of mites can quickly multiply and spread, possibly infesting both ears.
The short-term problems that your otherwise healthy cat might experience when they have mites include regular scratching of the ear and a droopy external ear.
The long-term problems that cat ear mites can cause include producing pus from inflammation of the ear, or tearing of the eardrum. Left untreated you run the risk of permanent damage to your cat’s ear, as well as the risk of infections that can cause even greater harm.
Cat ear mites can spread from one animal that has them to another, so if you have more than one pet in your household you’ll want to get them all checked if you find them in your cat’s ears. If your cat is often outside it’s possible they got the mites from another animal in the area.
If there are no other animals in your home and your cat never goes outside, but they still end up getting mites, they might have picked the mites up from a contaminated item that could include grooming or bedding tools. Or perhaps you put your kitty in a boarding home while you were on vacation and that’s where they picked up the mites. If so, let the business know.
Your cat will typically start to show various signs and symptoms if they have ear mites which should be enough to give you an idea that something is wrong inside their ear.
Some of the most common signals include:
- Ear flaps that droop down
- Visible signs of ear inflammation
- Build-up of brown, thick material in their ear
- Or build-up of pus in the ear canal
- Constantly shaking their head
- Repeatedly scratching at their ear
The reason why your cat will vigorously scratch at their ear is because the mites cause them major discomfort, and scratching is a way for your feline to temporarily relieve this.
If your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it’s recommended that you have a veterinarian check them out to confirm whether or not mites are indeed present. They will examine your pet’s ears for signs of the pests. And they will probably also want to take a swab of the ear or scrape the skin in and around the ear to see if there are signs of mites — whether that’s the bugs themselves or their eggs. If this evaluation doesn’t show physical proof of mites but your cat has the symptoms, the veterinarian will likely still recommend treatment.
What Are The Treatment Options For Cat Ear Mites?
As mentioned above, even if your cat has ear mites it’s a solvable problem.
There are widely available treatments available for cleaning your pet’s ears and killing off the cat ear mites to get your kitty feeling back to normal in no time. When you take your cat to the veterinarian they will discuss these various treatment options with you.
Many over the counter liquids are completely safe for your cat, and they will not only treat and remove the ear mites but also help their ear to heal quickly. Be sure to closely follow the instructions that come with the medicine to guarantee that you’ve completely eradicated the cat ear mites, otherwise you run the danger of them coming back and causing further problems.
Flea treatments for cats typically also work to kill mites, so you should have plenty of options if shopping online for the right solution. Typically this type of treatment only requires at most two applications, which makes it a simpler approach than having to use ear drops.
In more-severe cases of cat ear mites, your veterinarian might recommend that you use medicated ear drops to fix the problem. This course of treatment can take up to three weeks, because that’s the amount of time it takes a mite to become an adult after hatching. The duration of the treatment is designed to catch and kill all mites, even those that were eggs at the time you started applying the drops. As always with any prescription for your pet, be sure to follow the guidelines for use exactly in order to get back to having a perfectly healthy cat.
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