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What Are Ear Mites In Cats?
Before getting to the ear mite remedy, I will fill you in with a little background information on these minute parasites. If you don’t want to know – just go down to the end of the post, for my favorite ear mite remedy cats handle well.
Cat ear mites are parasites that live inside the ear canal of a cat. They are very tiny and are not always visible to the naked eye. The scientific name of this organism is Otodectes cynotis. Ear mites live on the wax in your cat’s ear. They thrive in warm moist areas where the air flow is restricted. They feed on epidermal debris and ear wax. Although ear mites usually find their home in the ear canals, they can also live on other parts of the cat’s body.
More often than not, ear mites are usually the cause of cat ear infections – as identified by veterinarians. They accumulate inside the ear, triggering inflammation and redness, which the cat’s body responds to by producing more wax. In reality, ear mites can also be found in dogs but they are more commonly found in cats.
This short video shows what Cat Ear Mites look like!
A swab is taken from inside a cat’s ear and you can see a mass of wiggly ear mites under the microscope. Check out the pictures of ear mites!!
Cat Ear Mites Life Cycle
Ear mites spend their entire life on the host, but are able to survive off the host for several weeks. Ear mites don’t bite, or suck blood like fleas do. The female mite lays eggs inside and around the ear. The incubation time of the mite eggs is only four days. The mite larvae live on ear debris, wax and oil.
Ear mites have a short life cycle of around three weeks. The egg of an ear mite is capable of becoming an adult in just 21 days.
During most of their short life span, the ear mites stay living safely inside the cat’s ears. However, they can also move around the head, face, and body of the cat. Moreover, since cats have a tendency to sleep coiled and curled up with their tails around their heads, cat owners may also find ear mites in the tails of their cats.
If you have other pets aside from cats, be careful with them too. Cat ear mites can also spread to dogs, rabbits, and ferrets but close contact is required for this to happen since mites walk and do not jump.
Ear mites are the most common cause of ear infections in cats. They can very quickly spreading from one cat to another via direct contact. Therefore, if there is one cat in the household that harbors ear mites, close contact with the source will trigger other cats and pets to catch ear mites, also. A cat with no symptoms could infect a pet that had been recently treated again and again. As a consequence, it is important to treat all pets at the same time.
Keep in mind that young cats are vulnerable to more serious mite infestations and suffer more from inflammation. This is because the immunity of cats towards mites develops and builds up with age.
If you are worried for yourself as well you should know that its spread to humans is very rare. This means that your cat can still stay close to you, even during treatment.
Causes of Ear Mites in Cats
Ear mites cats are extremely contagious. The only cause of ear mites in your pets is through host to host transmission, that means by physical contact. Ear mite infection comes directly from some other animal host that your cat has been socializing with. Ear mites can also be transmitted from a mother cat to its litter.
Similarly, they can spread through other pets in the household which includes dogs, rabbits, hamsters, or mice. Mites migrate. Only a brief physical contact with an infected animal is enough to distribute these parasites. It is also possible for humans to become temporary carriers of ear mites from one pet to another although actual human infection is very rare.
Symptoms Ear Mites Cats
Cat ear mites are relatively easy to spot. More often than not, your cat will demonstrate noticeable signs that he is carrying ear mites. Does your cat habitually scratch his ears, shake his head, or rub his ears against your furniture? When you take a look at your cat’s ears, do you see a build-up of dark brown dirt or moist wax?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then your cat is likely to be infected with ear mites. You will see a dark brown discharge in the cat’s ears that bears a resemblance to ground coffee beans. These discharges are made up of damp epidermal debris, dried blood, tissue, and ear mites. It is foul-smelling debris and it can obstruct the ear canal over time, causing a cat to lose it’s sense of hearing.
The first sign of an infected cat is when he often shakes and scratches his head. Your cat’s ears may also be painful to touch and he may cry in pain while he is scratching them. Often, their ears will bleed as a result of this. Despite the fact that mites are microscopic, they are extremely irritating. They are dreadfully uncomfortable for your cat. Just imagine harboring and feeling numerous parasites that crawl inside your ears!
Ear mites bring about inflammatory symptoms which are similar to bacterial and yeast infections. Itching and redness of the cat’s ears suggest the presence of ear mites.
Other more severe problems like skin diseases in areas other than the ear like the neck and tail could also occur. Keep in mind that ear mite infections can become dangerous when untreated because they can result to damage to the ear canals, deformity of the ears, and possible hearing loss and even deafness.
A visit to the veterinarian is the best way to obtain a specific diagnosis. A vet will clean the ear and study the debris with the help of a microscope.
The reaction to mite infestation can vary from cat to cat. Some cats may not be bothered by a large amount of mites while other may have severe itching from only a small number. Cats that are hypersensitive may be allergic to mite saliva. Mites stimulate the wax producing glands in the ear causing a buildup of wax that can lead to inflammation and discomfort for the cat.
In ear mites in cats, eventually even the most hypersensitive cats will build a resistant and an immunity to mites. It is for this reason why young cats suffer more than older cats. For example, it is common for kittens to show all the signs for having mites while the mother cat shows no sign of discomfort even though she may be carrying them. Increasing immunity will occur over time. [via we-are-siamese.com]
Treatment of Cat Ear Mites
NOTE: I don’t use typical Veterinary Treatment for my own cats and I recommend owners choose drug-free methods of treatments for non-life threatening conditions. However, I understand many owners are not so sympathetic to natural remedies for cats. With that in mind, I offer the information on veterinary treatment for ear mites in cats.
There are a variety of anti-parasitic medications which are effective against cat ear mites. Today, there are already a number of prescription products available that can get rid of ear mite infection with just one, single use. Households with many ear mite infected pets can be treated with oral or injectable ivermectin. Ivermectin is a famous parasite treatment that is very effective for ear mites.
Other topical products are also available to control ear mites as well as fleas and intestinal worms. One product is Revolution. Revolution uses Selamectin as an active ingredient. Another product is Advantage Multi which is also known as “Advocate” outside of the United States. Advocate uses Moxidectin as an active ingredient.
Having supplied the above information – I am compelled to add my own thoughts. These are anti-parasitic, killing medications. They are not good for your cat! Some cats will react very badly to these. And in my humble opinion, natural remedies are a lot safer for your cat – and just as effective if used correctly. The safest approach is always a natural treatment without using harsh chemicals.
How To Treat A Cat’s Ear Mites Naturally
My first choice is an all natural remedy which contains a blend of natural, herbal ingredients in a medicinal olive oil base. It is also an ear mite remedy cats won’t object to, too much – as it is very mild! There it is pictured on the right of the page.
The remedy is designed to treat and prevent ear infections and ear mites in cats – without the side effects of prescription drugs and toxic pesticides.
PetAlive Ear Dr. can provide safe yet effective relief from your cat’s ear mites. It also helps to prevent the spread of mites from one cat to another pet.
As well as dealing to the ear mite infestation, Ear Dr. also reduces inflammation. And it can greatly reduce pain, itching and discomfort, therefore prevent your cat constantly scratching.
Home Remedy for EarMites In Cats
There are natural remedies for cat ear mites, which are completely successful and what is most important Non-toxic to cats. Try the following treatment using oils, which are effective by smothering the mites. Easy, gentle and safe! A good choice would be Coconut oil. Or you can also use Olive Oil. The addition of a capsule of Vitamin E oil mixed in will help with healing the interior of the ear.
- Use an equal amount of either oil and Vitamin E. Suck it up into a syringe, room temperature or slightly warmer is great. At body temperature is even better, as your cat won’t get a shock when it touches the inside of the ear.
- Make sure you have a good hold of your cat on your lap, gently secured in a towel if necessary. Slowly syringe the oil into your cat’s ears. Hold the top of the ear down over the opening with you thumb while rubbing softly. This will help disperse the oil and also prevent the cat shaking her head and flinging the oil everywhere!
- Doing this slowly and gently won’t upset the cat very much. Take your time, be patient and be gentle.
- Wait for a few minutes then gently massage base of the ear to ensure good coverage inside the ear. Then use a cotton swab to cleanse out the debris.
You will need to do this every day for at least one week.
The best thing about these type of natural remedies are that these products are safe enough to eat. You won’t waste anything as these are human grade food items. Winner!!!
NOTE: Never put anything pointed or sharp into your cats ears. Make sure your cat is not upset or unduly discomforted, and you won’t have any problems treating ear mites in cats.