Easy Home Remedies for Treating Ear Mites in Cats

12 Minute Read
Updated July 12, 2021

Cats are avid groomers, but if you start to notice your cat paying particular attention to her ears, then you may be dealing with treat ear mites in cats. How do cats get treated with ear mites?

Ear mites in cats and dogs aren’t just a nuisance, if not treated properly, they can leave lasting damage. Unlike other common pests, like fleas on cats, you probably won’t see mites on your cat because they are just too small.

They aren’t quite microscopic, but they are pretty tough to spot. Instead, what you’ll see is the painful and frustrating symptoms of ear mites on cats and dogs. How to treat ear mites in cats?

What are Ear Mites in Cats?

So what are these invisible pests that have taken over your cat’s ears? Ear mites are parasites, scientifically named Otodectes cynotis. 

They thrive in moist, dark, and warm environments which is why your cat’s ears are the perfect home for ear mites to flourish. 

Ear mites bite into your cat's skin oil, cat's ear canal and latch on. They are a bit of a garbage pest, so they will feed on whatever debris passes by them, though blood and skin oils provide the most nutrients. These tiny little pests that can barely be seen by the naked eye can do a lot of damage as they live their full life cycle attached to your kitty.

Life Cycle of Ear Mites

Unlike many pests that drop their eggs, mites fulfill their entire life cycle of ear wax while attached to your pet. This ear conditions cycle takes about 3-4 weeks in total, going through 5 different stages:

    • Eggs
    • Larvae
    • Protonymphs (First Nymph Stage)
    • Duetonymphs (Second Nymph Stage)
    • Adult

The complete mite cycle takes approximately 21 days, and a female adult mite can lay 5 or more eggs per day, allowing them to populate and potentially spread very quickly. 

How Did Your Cat Get Ear Mites?

Mites are highly contagious and opportunistic, so your cat can easily get mites from contact with any other animal that has mites. Typically, because ear infection mites are highly contagious and complete their life cycle on their host, direct contact with an infected animal is the most likely way of contracting these pests, but they can spread without a live host in a very limited capacity. 

This could mean another pet owner in your house, a neighbor’s pet owner, or even a wild animal.  

If you are thinking - But my naked eye cat is indoors! He’s never interacted with another pet! - then the transitory host might be you or ear mites someone else in your house!

That’s right, cat owners can make a suitable host for mites, too, though it is quite rare. Rather than set up shop on your skin, the mites highly contagious may just use you as a means of travel to a more suitable and susceptible host, being your kitty. 


Symptoms of Ear Mites in Cats

mites on cats

If your cat starts tilting her head, it might look cute, but she could be dealing with an uncomfortable infestation. Cat ear mites are quite common and, fortunately, easily treatable. 

Some of the most common pests in dogs are typically less common in cats because many of our feline friends enjoy relaxing lives indoors, but there is one common pest that tends to affect outdoor cats and dogs more than dogs causes ear mites and ear infections. These tiny pests love the warm, moist naked-eye environment of your kitty’s ear flap canal. 

Before you see any pest activity, you will likely notice some common symptoms of ear canal infections in outdoor cats and dogs. Mites lead to severe itchiness that can drive your kitty nuts, so if you see your kitty favoring her ear's skin lesions, ear mites do a counter medications quick inspection to look for signs of pest activity. 

Here are some other visible symptoms of outer causes ear mites in cats you may notice:

    • Redness of the skin with severe irritation
    • Inflammation
    • Lesions or abrasions on the back of the outer ear drops and ear mites conditions from scratching with hind legs
    • Scabs or crusty debris
    • Tilting or head shaking their head

Aural Hematomas in Cats

Besides the usual skin conditions and reactions you typically see with severe irritation, you may see your kitty's ear drops starting to balloon. You may chalk it up to swelling from severe irritation, but excessive scratching and ear mites head shaking their head can actually lead to a more severe condition, called an aural hematoma. 

The force of scratching and head shaking are common ears can lead to small blood vessels bursting in the ears, causing blood to accumulate ear problems in between the layers of skin, inflating the causes of ear drops.

Aural hemotomas can be very painful and can lead to further damage and possibly permanent disfiguration of the ear.

If you notice your cat’s ear wax inflating, call your vet immediately. The longer you wait the more damage the hematoma can do. Treatment often requires ear problem surgery and ear mites to properly drain the fluid and flatten the skin back to the ear mites normal shape. 

Ear Mites vs Yeast Infections in Cats

Symptoms and signs of ear mites in your cats can be mistaken for other issues, like allergies or yeast infections. These similarities can make it challenging to diagnose mites at home. If you know what to look for, hair loss and ear problems then you can treat ear mites and eliminate these pests quickly and easily. 

Symptoms of allergies and yeast infections can be similar to causes of ear mites in cats, but yeast has one very obvious sign - its pungent smell. Yeast has a very well-known smell, one that can be quite off-putting. 

Yeast is a fungus that always lives on your pet’s skin, ear mites in cats are common but allergies and a poor diet can often allow the yeast to bloom quickly. Yeast, like mites, loves moist and warm areas, so ears are one of the best environments for yeast to thrive. 

How to Check for Ear Mites in Cats

ear mite treatment for cats

Even though ear mites are hard to see, it’s not impossible. They are small and very light in color and can resemble coffee grounds, so you might see small white specks wiggling around, but more likely coffee grounds, you will see the debris they leave behind. 

Ear mite poop is usually the easiest way to identify ear mite activity. They leave behind small dark specks that look like pepper in your cat’s ear wax. They can also cause excess ear wax build-up, so your cat’s ear may look dirty, and hair loss ear mites in cats even if you regularly clean your cat’s ears

Alone this doesn’t guarantee ear drops mites are common because it could just be regular causes of ear debris coffee grounds, but if you see what looks like pepper in your cat’s ear and you find your cat is suffering from some of the most common symptoms and signs of ear mites in cats, then you likely have a pretty accurate diagnosis. 

If you don't see any evidence of mite activity, it's still an ear drops a good idea to have your cat checked out by your vet to rule out other pests, allergies, or skin and coat issues that may need immediate attention. 

How to Get Rid of Ear Mites in Cats 

how to get rid of ear mites in cats

If you suspect your cat is suffering from a cat's ear mite infestation and ear mite infection, then don’t panic. Mites may be unpleasant, but they are fortunately pretty easy to evict. In many cases, you may start by treating the symptoms. ear mite treatment for cats

Trying to soothe the itch or preventing infection seems like it would be the most effective solution to your cat’s discomfort, the cat's ear canal but it’s only a temporary solution unless you treat the underlying issue. 

Fortunately, ear mite solution for ear conditions dogs, and cat's ear wax is a pretty easy-to-find, over-the-counter medication that most pet stores and vets can sell you. They are typically an oily formula that is dropped in the ear wax for a few days to a week to kill off the mites at all life stages. 

More severe infestations that have ear mite ear canal-caused secondary infection or damage may require an antibiotic, so talk to your vet if you aren’t sure of the right treatment for your cat’s itchy ear issues. 

Home Remedy for Cat Ear Mites

Natural treatments are quite popular, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show the effectiveness of natural remedies for cat ear mite infections. Like most natural remedies, they are effective in most cases, but it’s not a guaranteed cure for every case of ear discharge mites.

The best part about home remedies is not just that they are natural and free of chemicals; it’s also usually that they are made of ingredients that you probably already have at home. In some situations, a natural remedy may not always be the right solution. 

If you are dealing with a severe infestation or secondary complications of ear mite infection, then talk to your vet about all of the ear mites treatment options to make sure you choose the safest one for your kitty. 

Let’s take a look at 3 of the most popular home remedies for ear mites in cats:

Treating Ear Mites in Cats Olive Oil

One of the most well-known and effective natural home remedies for ear mites in dogs and cats is olive oil. It seems almost too simple to be true cat's ears and cat's ear canal, but it is!

Applying small amounts of olive oil to your cat’s ear discharge to basically suffocate the ear mites are common, prevent them from latching onto the skin, and make it easier to remove the mites and eggs by wiping ear mites in cats your cat’s ears out with a makeup pad or soft washcloth. 

The oil will also act as a soothing agent cat ear for the itchy reaction cleaning solution and will help to moisturize the skin and promote speedy healing. 

Essential Oils for Cat Ear Mites

If you already lean towards natural remedies, then you likely have an arsenal of essential oils in your home to cure various issues. If so, you probably cleaning solution ear irritation have an essential oil or two that can help soothe the itch and make your veterinarian may cat ears a less than ideal home outer ear for the mites. 

Here are a few essential oils that mites hate:

        • Tea Tree oil
        • Lavender Oil
        • Eucalyptus Oil

Essential oils have the potential to be dangerous when used on cats because they are so concentrated, so they need to be diluted with carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil, to be safe.

Also, keep in mind that these essential oils shouldn't be ingested; they should only be used topically in places where your cat's ear mites can't lick at them. If you are unsure of how to use essential oils with your cat safely, then we recommend a different treatment. 

Apple Cider Vinegar for Ear Mites in Cats

Apple cider vinegar is a long-used natural remedy for many ailments and conditions, but you may not know how useful it can be for treating ear mites in cats. 

It’s an effective anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, ear mite which can prevent and treat many secondary infections that can be caused by ear discharge mite infestations, like bacterial or yeast infections. Additionally, three weeks of apple cider vinegar can help to adjust the skin pH in your cat’s ears, making a less hospitable environment for the mites to survive. 

Apple cider vinegar alone may not be enough to completely ear mites in cats eliminate the ear mites in cats from your kitty when combined with one of the other natural ear mites solutions for veterinarian may cats. 

Untreated Ear Mites in Cats

how to treat mites on cats

Ear mites in cats may seem like a mild annoyance that’s easy to treat, and they are, but if they go untreated for too long, they will start to do some serious damage to your cat’s ears. 

Ear mites are literally feasting on your cat’s skin, and they will start to do real damage to the delicate skin of their ears and deep into the ear canal if you don’t act quickly. Your cat could end up with a bacterial infection that could do even further damage to ear mites in cats to the skin and spread beyond the ears. 

Mites love ears but will opportunistically spread to any parts of your veterinarian may cat body that provides a tasty food source. This could lead to intense itch and even manage ear mites in cats, the three weeks of disease ear mites in cats caused by a full-blown mite outbreak. 

Can Ear Mites Cause Deafness in Cats?

One of the worst consequences of a rampant ear discharge mite infection in cats is the risk of hearing damage. This damage can be either partial or full deafness in one or both ears. 

When bacteria makes its way down the ear canal and ear cleaning to the drum or auditory nerves, it can cause permanent damage resulting in hearing loss for your cat. Even swelling in the ear canal from your cat scratching can cause signs of ear mites and temporary hearing loss.

Timely treatment of the mites can protect your cat’s hearing and ear cleaning and reduce the risk of other secondary complications. 

How to Prevent Ear Mites in Cats

With the right, timely treatment and appropriate after-care, ear mites are usually a simple fix, but as we always say with any pest infestation, prevention is the best method. You can’t predict where mites will be or which animal they are traveling on, so the best way to protect your pet from mites is to keep them healthy. 

A strong immune system, healthy skin, and a good diet will make your cat a less ideal host for these opportunistic pests. Mites prefer an acidic environment, meaning low pH, so feeding a high-quality alkaline diet, like raw cat food, for three weeks will deter mite activity. 

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In addition, a regular grooming routine is a big part of your cat's overall skin and coat health. Routine ear care will help to protect the sensitive skin in your kitty's ears. 

Cat Ear Problems Mite AfterCare

Getting rid of mites is the first step, but depending on how bad the infestation is, and how much damage was done to your cat’s ears, you may need to consider different methods for helping to heal your cat’s ears after the mites have been eliminated. 

Residual itch, dry skin, open sores, and even fur loss will take time to heal, but you can help speed up the process and make your veterinarian may cat more comfortable. Here are some of the best topical treatments to support healing:

    • Aloe Vera - has natural soothing properties to eliminate itching and retain skin moisture.
    • Coconut Oil - soothes and conditions skin and contains anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties.
    • Fish Oils - Omega fatty acids help to condition skin and coat internally and reduce inflammation that causes the itch.
    • E-collars - sometimes your cat is her own worst enemy. They'll scratch at their ears and shake to try and soothe the itch, but they are actually making the issue worse. E-collars can stop your kitty from scratching long enough to allow the skin to heal.

Have you dealt with ear problems and mites in cats? Share your tips, struggles, and success stories with us in the comments below!

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Written by

Krystn Janisse

Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She is currently working for one very rebellious cat, Jack, and hanging out with a goofy but loveable doggo named Roxy.


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