Ear mites in cats and kittens
- Ear mites are tiny parasites that can affect ears.
- They are common in kittens but can also affect adult cats.
- Ear mites can be caught from other pets but can also climb into your cat’s ears from the environment.
- They cause an intense itch and often lead to ear infections.
- Treatment for ear mites usually involves a treatment to kill the mites and eardrops to settle any pain, inflammation and infection.
Killing the ear mites. Your cat will need a treatment to kill their ear mites. Your vet will be able to provide you with a safe and licenced product. This is likely to be in spot-on or tablet form. Treatment will often need repeating after a few weeks to make sure all mites are dead.
Treat all other pets. If you have any other pet cats, dogs or ferrets, treat them at the same time. Ear mites could be living in their ears or fur.
Ear drops. Your vet may prescribe eardrops to combat any inflammation, pain or infection. Make sure you follow the instructions and complete the course – even if your cat’s ears seem better part way through. Ear cleaning can also be helpful to clear out wax and discharge.
Treat your home. Wash all pet bedding and grooming equipment and treat your home. A household flea spray is a good way to kill ear mites in the home.
Never use a household flea spray directly on an animal; it is especially toxic to cats, birds and fish.
Home remedies for ear mites
There are many products on the market claiming to kill ear mites; however, the products that are available without a prescription are very likely to be less effective than a product from your vets. We recommend seeing your vet if you suspect your cat or kitten has ear mites – they will provide you with an effective treatment and check their ears for any other problems. Leaving ear disease untreated for too long can lead to serious ear disease.
Can ear mites cause deafness? Ear mites don’t directly cause deafness but left untreated they can lead to serious deep-seated ear disease. Serious ear disease can cause deafness.
Can ear mites cause seizures? Ear mites don’t cause seizures but left untreated they can lead to serious ear disease such as middle or inner ear infections. Serious ear disease often causes symptoms such as a head tilt or loss of balance.
Published: May 2019
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst