Ear Mites in Cats – Cause and Symptoms

ear mites in catsThe most common mites that can live in cats’ ears are Otodectes cynotis, small spider-like parasites that feed on the oils and wax in an ear canal. Although they cause irritation and inflammation, these parasites are barely detectable by the naked eye. If left untreated, ear mites can lead to more serious ear and skin infections, which produce a characteristic dark discharge. In the worst scenario, your cat’s ear canal can become entirely obstructed by this debris. 

How can your cat get ear mites? Usually, these highly contagious parasites are passed from pet to pet in casual contact outside or at home. This infection is possible both in cats and dogs, even though they are much more common in cats. In fact, ear mites are responsible for more than a half of all feline ear infections. In general, people are immune to these parasites.

When it comes to symptoms of ear mites in cats, they include head shaking, as well as excessive rubbing and scratching of ears. It’s important to understand that this infection is rather uncomfortable for your pet; it feels like thousands of small bugs are running around in your cat’s ears. Brown or black waxy secretion, dermatitis and hair loss also occur, accompanied with strong odor and scratches near ears. In more severe cases, symptoms may include obstruction of ear canals with excessive debris and inflammation of the ear.

Even though ear mites can infect all cats, outdoor cats and kittens are more prone to these parasites. Because of intense head shaking and scratching, this infection can cause an aural hematoma, the rupture of blood vessels inside an ear canal. If that happens, a surgery is inevitable.

If you think that your cat has ear mites, a visit to the vet’s is a must. Since some bacterial infection can look the same as the symptoms of ear mites, it’s better to avoid self-diagnosis. Once your vet tells you the diagnosis, you’ll get the advice on how to get rid of ear mites in cats.