When you see your cat often scratch its ears until it becomes a lesion, it can be caused by ear mites, or also known as otodectes cynotis. This mite is actually a microscopic parasite which can stay and live in cat’s ears. They ear the skin debris.
When a cat is infected by ear mites, the cat will feel itchy and once it keeps scratching, the skin will get irritation. The ear flap can also get swollen as well. That’s why treating ear mites as soon as possible will avoid further problems.
Another reason why it needs immediate treatment is because ear mites re highly contagious. If you have more than one pet in your family, then it’s better to quarantine the infected cat and treat it with smart approach.
Please know that ear mites could not only infect cats, but dogs too. The parasites look like spider, and they burrow into the infected animal’s ears. If it remains untreated for a long time, ear mites will lead to ear infection.
When it comes to the species, there are otodectes (which also infect rabbits, ferrets, and dogs) and notoedres (which infect only cat’s body and ears).
If the mites infect your cat, you can see these as the symptoms; unpleasant odor inside the ears, excessive shaking head of your cat, white dots inside the ears, dried blood in the ear canal, and excessive scratching.
Those annoying parasites will surely make your cat frustrated. So, here are the smart ways to kill ear mites.
Warning: in treatment of how to get rid of ear mites in cats, you need to 100% sure that your cat has been infected by ear mites. Use a cotton ball to get the crumbly debris from the cat’s ear canal. After that, spread it on a piece or dark surface or observe it under a bright light with magnifier.
If you don’t see anything in the surface of the cat’s ear but suspect your cat has ear mites, that’s maybe because the ear mites stay deep inside the ear canal. You have to massage the back of your cat’s ear gently. Normal cats will like it, or maybe just a bit fussy and try to go away. But the infected cat will scratch excessively.
You can also observe from the posture of your cat. If your cat frequently tilt its head to one side, that’s a common sign of ear discomfort (usually not only caused by ear mites). To make it even surer, it’s recommended to visit a vet though.
So how to get rid of ear mites in cats? If you have already got a prescription, it will be most likely you get ear drops which are highly effective to kill ear mites (this is only when the vet has verified the ear drum is still complete).
There are also over the counter ear drops which you can find easily in the pet store, but unprescribed drugs are commonly less effective and sometimes can be harmful, because you don’t know your overall cat’s health. That’s why it’s better using only the drugs your vet recommended.
Before applying the drops, always read the instruction in the label. It contains frequency and number of drops needed. However, generally it only needs 7-10 days to use the ear drops.
Treating your cat with ear drops need a careful preparation. You have to prepare a flat surface (better yet, a table). Spread over a large towel upon the table to avoid your cat slipping over. Prepare some cotton balls as well.
Even though the treatment usually can be handled by one person, if you think you can’t make it by yourself, you can ask someone to help you holding the cat.
Before applying, you need to clean the cat’s ear first. It’s always good to consult with your vet about how to clean your cat’s ear safely. There are various over the counter ear cleaning products. You can buy one of them and follow the instruction thoroughly.
Why you need to clean your cat’s ears first? Because commonly the infected cat has excessive ear wax, and if you don’t clean the wax, it can be a cocoon for the mites which shield them from the ear drop you’re going to apply. Thus, the medication will be less effective.
Put your cat on the table with head’s up, facing forward you. Then drip several drops (based on the instruction) to your cat’s ear canal. Once the drops have been dripped, rub your cat’s ear gently using your thumb and fingers. This will help the medication spread in all over your cat’s ear.
If your cat keeps trying to move away when you treat it, wrap it in a bath towel which can make it comfortable and immobilize it as well. Never force your cat roughly in order to avoid further problems with its body.
Once you’re done, don’t forget to wipe your cat’s ear using cotton ball to clean the ear wax which may be brought up to the ear’s surface.
Warning: don’t you ever push the cotton ball to your cat’s ear canal. Make sure when you clean its ear, the cat won’t move because when the cat’s moving, the cotton ball may be accidentally go too deep inside the ear canal. It can hurt your cat.
Repeat the treatment as instructed. Commonly, you need to repeat the treatment daily consecutive in a week. If you see no improvement after a week, you have to take your cat back to your vet to know what’s wrong.
If your cat tilt its head always during the treatment period, you have to contact your vet and discontinue the treatment. Some cats are overly sensitive to the main ingredients of the ear drops. The treatment can affect the balance and lead to further problems, even if your cat’s eardrums are still intact. Thus, contact your vet as soon as possible.
Dripping the ear drops to your cat’s ear is sometimes not enough. It’s because the mites can travel along the cat’s body, especially if it’s from the species notoedres. So you have to bathe your cat twice a week (until 6 weeks) with anti-flea shampoo.
You can also treat your cat naturally with natural ingredients. However, please know that sometimes natural treatments don’t work exactly like you expected. Plus, sometimes it takes a longer time for the natural ingredients to finally kick in.
However, some cat’s owners swore that these natural ingredients are as effective as over the counter products, with less or zero risk, even for the sensitive cats. You may want to give it a try.
Olive oil and garlic are the most used natural treatment for ear mites in cats. First, heat the olive oil in the stove (you have to make sure the olive oil is not too hot to be dropped inside your cat’s ear), then drip it to your cat’s ear about two drops twice a day.
To double the effect, take four cloves of garlic. Then crush them. Let the crushed garlic seep into the olive oil in a cup overnight. In the morning, remove the crushed garlic, heat the oil, and drip it into the cat’s ear. This can be used for several usages.
You can even also use baby oil or mineral oil. Those kinds of oil are also effective to clean the cat’s ear. Heat the oil and after warm enough, apply it to the cat’s ear. It is effective to remove the gunk.
The usage of mineral and baby oil is sometimes only used as ear cleaning products. Heat it and after it’s warm enough, drip it to the cat’s ear one hour before the medication. The oil will soften the harden debris and wax, so the medication can seep easier to the mites’ bodies and effectively kill them.
However, some cat’s owners stated that only by mineral or baby oil, the ear mites can be effectively killed. Dripping the oil everyday until a month is highly recommended to kill the entire population of ear mites.
Mineral oil can be effective because it can drown the mites until they die of suffocation. This may work indirectly, but some people think it’s not efficient because they have to warm up the oil every now and then for a month. Plus, the application is a bit messy.
This product can kill the mites both in the cat’s ear surface and inside the ear canal as well. Internal parasitic infections can also be healed using Revolution. This product is not only useful to kill ear mites, but also to control it, so it can prevent further infection by applying it every once in a month. Revolution can be used even for 8-week old kittens. However, before using this, it’s better to discuss it with your vet.
This product is actually not only for cats, but also for other pets, like ferrets, rabbits, and dogs over 12 week old. What’s good about this product is it contains natural ingredient: ale vera, which is highly efficient to kill ear mites once it’s processed rightly. This product is recommended if you have more than one pet in the house, you can treat them all with this product. Even if the other pets are not infected yet, it’s still better to apply this to them to prevent the infection.
If you want an elimination of cat’s ear mites in the most effective, gentlest, and safest way, then you should use Otomite Plus. This product has non-irritating and non-greasy formula. Plus, it contains pyrethrin to kill ear mites effectively without irritating the cats.
Commonly, any over the counter product containing pyrethrin can be used to kill cat’s ear mites. Yet, not all of them can be effective because the percentage content in each product may be different. Pyrethrin products are made from chrysanthemums, and are considerably safe, even for kittens.
No matter what kind of product you use, make sure you massage the base part of the ear so the product can seep into the skin. Massage for about 3 minutes. Please notice your cat’s behavior during the treatment, because some cats are allergic to pyrethrin and may develop side effects.
Selamectin is a widely used medication to treat cats after the healing process of ear mites infection. This is a parasite controller which can prevent contamination of not only ear mites, but also heart-worm, fleas, and other intestinal parasites.
There are various topical treatments containing selamectin, like Revolution. Selamectin will keep your cat from being reinfected again, and prevent other pets in your house from being infected.
Warning: never apply selamectin in the cat’s ear. The topical treatment should always be applied in the cat’s back neck.
It’s also important to protect your cat’s paws. Spray the hind of cat’s paw with fipronil. It’s a topical medication which is effective to kill parasites like lice, fleas, mites, and ticks. If your cat scratched the infected area of mites, sometimes the mites get stuck in the cat’s fur in the paws. By using fipronil, the mites can be killed instantly.
If the cat has scratched another ear which is still not infected by ear mites with the paw which still have mites on it, then it can start the infection. Thus, it’s highly recommended to protect your cat’s paws.
There are various over the counter products containing fipronil. You can use EasySpot, Barricade, Effipro, and Frontline. It’s even better to consult your vet to get the best protection for your cat.
Selamectin based topical treatment can also be used to kill ear mites, not only preventing it. Once it has been applied, selamectin will seep in the bloodstream and spread over in the ear canal, where it can directly kill ear mites. Single application is enough to overcome the infection.
However, still ear drops are highly recommended when treating ear mites, because ear drops contains antibiotic and anti-inflammatory substance to get rid of indirect bacterial infections.
Unlike ringworm, ear mites in cats cannot infect human because the parasites cannot live in human’s ears.