It’s common to see kitty giving her ears a good ol’ scratch. However, if your cat is scratching excessively, she might have a case of ear mites. But what exactly are cat ear mites and how can you spot them?

What are ear mites?

Cat ear mites are tiny, crab-like parasites that can infest a cat’s ear canal. Ear mites love to feed on the ears’ oils and wax, making your kitty very uncomfortable. Symptoms of ear mites include excessive ear scratching, head shaking, a brown waxy secretion, scabs around the ear, and a foul odor. Your cat may also take on a “lopsided” look, favoring one ear over the other. Inside the canal you may notice a substance that resembles coffee grounds. Though usually not serious, ear mites left untreated can cause damage to the eardrum.

Where do they come from?

Highly contagious, ear mites usually come from other cats. While both indoor and outdoor cats are susceptible, outdoor cats are more prone as they’re more likely to run into other cats. Because ear mites spread so easily, you will need to check any other pets for symptoms if your cat gets infected. Though ear mites prefer cats, they can also infect dogs, rabbits, and hamsters.

How can they be prevented?

If you suspect your cat has mites, bring them to the vet to make sure it’s mites and not another type of ear infection. Once properly diagnosed, ear mites can easily be treated with medications and a thorough ear cleaning. However, the absolute best treatment is to prevent cat ear mites before they happen. Check your cat’s ears regularly for any signs or symptoms. You can also apply topical medications like Revolution to ensure your cat is protected from ear mites and other unpleasant critters.

Our sitters take careful note of your cat’s health and appearance. If anything looks off, they’ll be sure to notify you right away. Call to schedule today!

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on pixabay.