Cat Ear Mites

Ear Mites on Cats

Cat ear mites


These critters are parasites belonging to the mange family that infest the ears of cats. The ears will look black and dirty  inside, with the crud resembling small coffee grounds. Extremely contagious to other animals. With some cats, it can be difficult to treat and get rid of. Extremely common problem for cats.

Shaking the head often, holding the head at an angle, scratching the ears, holding the ears in weird positions and twitching the ears constantly are other signs of ear mites or other problems with the ears.

A veterinarian can examine the ears, and if necessary take some of that black crud and place it under a microscope to confirm the presence of ear mites. Sometimes ear mites cause actual ear infections but not all ear infections are due to ear mites, whether you see the black stuff inside their ears or not. Many times an ear infection will have a foul smell and maybe excess icky fluid is noticed, especially if they shake their head and it flings out (uck!).

In case you’re wondering what that black crumbly crud is inside their ears…if it’s due to ear mites, then the black stuff consists of: ear wax, blood, ear mite waste and the ear mites themselves. Yummy, huh?

When mites are present, there are a number of effective medications that can be used to get rid of them. If possible, clean the ears with cat ear wipes to remove the excess debris. Some people use a cotton ball covered with olive oil  to clean the inside of the ears and use the prescribed medication to kill the mites.

I’ve read where some cat owners claim they’ve used olive oil for several weeks (maybe skipping a day here and there) to basically smother the mites. Another person tried the olive oil method, got rid of the mites, but caused a temporary inner and outer ear skin irritation making most of the hair fall off the poor cat’s ears! 

It is important to treat your cat with a flea product at the same time you’re treating the ear mites because the mites can sometimes move out of the ears and live on the body. The flea control medication will kill them, too. 

Again, if you try home remedies, and don’t see results within a week or two, or you see redness and irritation, at that point you better get the cat to the veterinarian. Your cat will likely be prescribed a specific medication to treat the ear mites. There are a few choices of treatment and each vet has their preference. Placing the cat on a regular topical flea control product that specifically states it helps to treat and control mites is your best bet for maintaining mite-free ears! 


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Jessie says: I confess to the world…I had the dreaded ear mites. My human helped free me of them but I didn’t like my ears being messed with in the process.

Gina says: So true. I sat on the floor holding her between my legs so she wouldn’t squirm away anytime I needed to clean inside her ears. And a note on that black stuff: it’s impossible to get it all out with cotton balls or ear wipes. Don’t use Q-tips as your cat could jerk and you could poke her in the eardrum. After the ear mites are gone, over time, the black stuff eventually falls out, gets scratched out with her toenails, wiped out with her paws as she cleans and wiped out with whatever ear wipes you use.

7 responses to “Cat Ear Mites

  1. M kitty Peaches, had sores under the chin and I had cats with that before. I just use a clean wet cloth and clean that area and wash her face. It comes from having her chin in her hard catfood. Got rid of the sores, and I think the above face itching is just from her washing her face after eating. Also my kitty Panda. has the black and itching in the ears so I put a wash I have from the vet that is called Dermapet. Works great. I put a few drops in the ear, squish it and use a cotton ball to wipe and do use a Q tip just carefully and got tons out. I have a well behaved cat and she don’t squirm. They are 15 years young and rescued from a shelter 14 1/2 years ago.

  2. Hi there I have a 20 week old kitten he got ill Treated b4 and we’ve had him his covered in fleas and got black wax n mites in his ears and very skinny I need help got no money I clean them with cotton wool. N warm luke. Water but he hates it poor thing. I don’t think he can hear very well I’m always crying so upsetting :'(

    • I feel very sad for you and the kitty :( Sometimes going to a shelter and explaining the situation, and that YOU ARE wanting to take care of him but don’t have money, they might be able to help somehow! Or ask family & friends for help. Or even go the vet, tell them you’re broke, and they might setup a deal with you to help the cat!

  3. i am wondering why my male cat has scratched his head on the walls so bad he has rubbed all the fur off above his eyes,i have checked and there is no ear mites all nice pink and healthy looking inside.i noticed he had rubbed so much yesterday that he had a nasty looking red sore above his eye.can any one tell me what may be wrong.

  4. If the pet is scratching the outer ear, causing sores, call your veterinarian or buy a small Elizabethan collar (E-collar). This is the cone-shaped collar that protects the pet’s head.

    • Yes, I agree! Definitely get rid of the ear mites – which usually isn’t an overnight fix – and in the meantime, keep a close eye on how much scratching your cat is doing!

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