Feline Ear Mites: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Feline Ear Mites

Feline ear mites are parasitic, spider-like creatures that infest your cat’s ear and survive by feeding off of the wax and oil inside their ears.

Ear mites are very tiny, only about the size of a head of a pin, they can spend their entire life cycle from hatching to reproducing and death on your cat.


Ear mites are a fairly common cat health problems and can be passed from one animal species to another. Feline ear mites are usually caused by direct contact with another cat who has ear mites. As a result of the highly contagious nature of ear mites it is especially important that once your cat is diagnosed, to make sure to wash all of your cat's blankets, toys and bedding to prevent the ear mites from recurring or infecting other pets in the household.


There are several different symptoms to be aware of that help to indicate if your cat may be suffering from an ear mite’s infestation. Symptoms such as;

  • Brown or red coloured crust formed on the inside of your cat's ear
  • A foul odor coming from the ear
  • Bleeding from the ear
  • Your cat's ears becoming irritated and inflamed
  • Your cat repeatedly pawing at their ears
  • Aggressively shaking their head

Although feline ear mites are difficult to see with the naked eye, if you look closely inside your cat's ear you may see dry dark wax that resembles coffee grounds.

If you notice any of the above symptoms it’s important to take your cat to the vets, a quick diagnosis and treatment of feline ear mites is ideal because they can travel farther down into your cat's ear canal and possibly reproduce. Once ear mites move further down into the ear, they can cause an infection of the middle ear. Your cat's veterinarian will diagnose ear mites by taking a sample of ear wax from your cat’s ear and examine it under a microscope.


Treatment of feline ear mites varies depending on the severity of the condition. It is important to visit your cat's veterinarian to see how extensive the problem is and receive a proper diagnosis. Your cat’s vet may start by cleansing your cat's ear with a mixture of warm water and a mild cleanser, or by placing a few drops of mineral oil or vegetable oil and massaging the ear in order to soften the debris inside the ear before applying or prescribing medication.

Although cleansing your cat’s ear may sound like something you could do at home, it's important to allow your vet to conduct this type of treatment to ensure that you don’t damage your cat’s ear drum or push the ear mites further into their ear canal.

Your vet will likely prescribe a topical medication to treat feline ear mites. Although there are over-the-counter medications available, your vet will be able to prescribe a more effective medication to get rid of the infestation.

Although some home remedies can be effective, we recommend not taking a chance with home remedies when it comes to feline ear mites, get rid of the condition faster and effectively by taking your cat to the vet. Most medication take about two weeks to treat ear mites, so although you may no longer see the ear mites after a couple of days, it’s important to continue the treatment for as long as your vet instructed.

Feline ear mites are the leading cause of ear infections in cats. Being an observant cat owner and responding quickly enough to this type of condition, will help to prevent further damage and complications to your cat’s ear.

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