Ear Mites in Cats & Kittens: Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

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What You Should Know About Ear Mites in Cats!
Ear mites are parasites that typically live in the ear canal but can also live on the skin’s surface,. They can be challenging to see with the naked eye, but you may see little white specks moving in the ear.  These mitesy are transferred from cat to cat by direct contact and are considered highly contagious.

SignsKitten walking

Ear mites are a common cause of ear problems in cats. Although all cats in a household may be affected, ear mites usually are seen in kittens and outdoor pets.

Signs to watch for:

  • Reddish-black material in the ear canal(s)
  • Rubbing and scratching the affected ear
  • Ear twitching and head shaking
  • Occasionally, ear mites infest other parts of a cat’s body. Hair loss in a particular area and reddened, scratched skin suggest such an infestation.

Diagnosis by your veterinarian

The diagnosis will be confirmed by your veterinarian when they examine your cat’s ear canals with a special magnifying instrument called an otoscope. Ear mites can be found during the examination or may also be found by examining your cat’s earwax under a microscope.

Treatment and Home Care

Your veterinarian will likely need to clean your cat's ears before treatment will be effective. Debris in the ear canal may block medications from reaching the ear mites.There are different medications to treat ear mites and your veterinarian will be able to recommend the one that will be best for your cat.  Make sure to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions for ear cleaning or medications your cat needs at home. 

Because ear mites are highly contagious, your veterinarian may want to examine and possibly treat the other pets living in your house.  A follow-up visit with your veterinarian in 2-3 weeks will help ensure the ear mites are gone.

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