For cat parents, seeing their cat or kittens in discomfort is a terrible feeling. A cat scratching at her ears more often than usual may be a sign that something’s wrong. The scratching could indicate an ear mite infestation, microscopic parasites that can cause a whole host of health problems if left untreated. Here’s what cat parents need to know about ear mites, including how to get rid of them.
What Are Ear Mites?
Ear mites are an all-too-common cat health problem. They’re tiny, barely visible parasites that take up residence in a cat’s ear. They feed on ear wax and debris, causing irritation and swelling inside the ear canal. As a result, the cat’s ears become itchy and uncomfortable. While outdoor cats have the highest risk of getting ear mites, they can affect cats of all breeds, sizes, and ages.
How Do Cats Get Ear Mites?
A cat can pick up ear mites from almost anywhere. One of the most common ways they pass is from one cat to another. They get into a cat’s fur and crawl to the ears, where they begin making trouble.
Ear mites can also survive for short periods away from a host. For this reason, outdoor cats are more likely to contract them than felines that live indoors.
Symptoms of Ear Mites In Cats
Ear mites cause irritation and itchiness, which can cause a cat to scratch at her ears and shake her head for relief. Other symptoms may include:
- Discharge from the ears
- Redness or infections in the ears
- Lesions around the ears
How to Get Rid of Cat Ear Mites
There are a few at-home remedies that pet parents can use to help treat ear mites. Home treatments may include:
Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Pet parents can make a 1:1 mix of apple cider vinegar and water to help treat a mild infestation.
Oils. Oils like coconut or olive can suffocate ear mites, which may be able to eliminate the problem.
Over-the-counter ear drops. Pet parents can find Over The Counter (OTC) ear medications that can help a cat find relief. They should follow the instructions for application guidance and consult an online vet for the best results.
When to Seek Professional Guidance from a Vet
While home remedies can help to treat mild ear mite infestations, they may not always be effective. Additionally, the symptoms of ear mites may also indicate other ear-related issues. If the problem persists, pet parents should contact their primary vet for a professional diagnosis, anti-itch medicine for cats, and cat advice to help restore their feline’s happiness and health.
Pet parents in a pinch can consult an online veterinarian like Fuzzy for recommendations, medication application guidance, and treatment followups as their cat’s ear mite infestation responds to treatment.
Get Advice for All Cat Medical Questions
For cat pet parents, nothing is more important than the health of their felines. If they’re dealing with cat ear problems such as ear mites or need answers to other feline health questions, they should consult a vet rather than trying random products. Working with professional vets, pet parents can help to keep their cats happy and healthy.