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Imagine one day while petting your cat and ruffling its ears, you suddenly observe a tiny black creature scuttling across on its skin. Your first reaction would be that of shock followed by apprehension as to what might be the deeper implication. Just in case you have been wondering, it implies that your beloved feline is suffering from an infestation of ear mites and the problem needs to be attended to on a priority.
Having spotted a tiny black creature roaming your cat’s fur, your next step should be to cultivate awareness, ascertain the extent of the problem and figure out ways by which it could be overcome. To this effect, you might come across several options all of which would claim to be effective in clearing your cat’s ears off mites, but how about using a simple home remedy which is both simple and convenient? With a tried and tested home remedy, not only will you be able to get rid of ear mites the first time but also use it repetitively to ensure that the infestation does not occur again.
What Are Ear Mites?
Scientifically known as Otodectes Cynotis, ear mites are tiny point-sized creatures that look like miniature spiders or crabs courtesy of their numerous limbs sticking out from the sides. These are parasitic by nature, meaning they live off other creatures – in this case your cat – wherein they feed on the skin and ear wax and even suck blood. Owing to their microscopic size, you would barely be able to notice them, the only evidence of their presence being a dark-brown and crumbly build-up on the inner flap of your cat’s ear.
Life cycle of an ear mite is about three weeks after which they start mating, your cat’s ear canal serving as an ideal locale. By this you can well imagine the extent to which they can grow and form colonies within a short time if not dealt with. Difficult that it is to get rid of these parasites, their presence can lead to infection, inflammation and even loss of hearing in some case. They cause incessant itching and when the cat shakes its head vigorously in reaction, it could lead to bursting of blood vessel, thus leading to severe complications.
How Did My Cat Get Ear Mites?
Most pet owners pose this question when faced with the problem of ear mites. Fact remains that cats are particularly susceptible to ear-mite infestation and some of the possible sources are:
- Spending time outdoor, in lawns, gardens, barns and so on;
- From fellow felines, like mother cat passing ear mites to her kittens or other cats that may be playmates or companions;
- Through interacting with other animals, especially dogs, rabbits and other rodents;
- Build-up of wax in the ears over a period of time;
- Unclean ears and general lack of hygiene;
Ear Mites – Symptoms and How to Check
Presence of ear mites is manifested through several tell-tale signs which could range from simple redness to something more serious like discharge and odor. As a pet owner, you must immediately suspect an ear-mite infestation if:
- Your cat is constantly scratching its ears, shaking its head or keeping its head tilted to one side for long durations;
- Redness and inflammation in the ears, leading to increased sensitivity wherein your cat flinches at the slightest touch;
- Too much wax in the ears accompanied by a waxy secretion;
- Powdery build-up in the cat’s ears that resembles coffee grounds;
- Formation of crusts or scabs in and around the ears;
Assuming that you have noticed these symptoms, your next step should be to take a peek inside your cat’s ears by gently folding its ear flaps. You should be able to spot tiny dots immediately, but in case you don’t then take a magnifying glass and look again. At times, ear mites retreat into the ear canal; in such a situation you can swipe the inward portion of the ear with a cotton swab dipped in vegetable oil and the presence of ear mites would be revealed.
Home Remedies for Treating Ear Mites
Now that you have detected the presence of ear mites, it is time to relieve your cat off their presence and discussed as follows are some home remedies that will help you achieve this objective:
Apple Cider Vinegar Diluted in Water
Dilute Apple Cider Vinegar with equal quantity of water and you must ensure that the proportion of both liquids in the solution should be 1:1. Pour this in a spray bottle and spray it into your cat’s ears at least once a day for 10 days at a stretch.
ACV is naturally laden with a number of elements and volatile oils that are effective in eliminating parasites and fleas and impeding further growth. The only word of caution entails making sure that your cat is allergic to ACV.
Massaging organic honey on your cat’s ear for about 30 minutes every day would chase away the ear mites. However, you must ensure that the honey used is organic since processed honey is not likely to make any difference.
Garlic with Olive Oil
Chop some garlic cloves and soak them in olive oil for a day or two. Smear the mixture in and around your cat’s ears and watch as it clears away the ear mites owing to the pungent odor and soothes inflammation courtesy of its antibiotic properties.
Effective though this remedy is, it will not work on cats that have a habit of swallowing everything that they lick or are allergic to either of the two ingredients.
All you need to do is rub some Vaseline on your cat’s ears on a daily basis till it is absorbed well. Not only does it take care of the ear mite infestation but also any redness or irritation that might have been bothering your cat.
Among its multiple therapeutic properties is Aloe Vera’s ability to neutralize ear mites and prevent them from returning. You can either directly massage the Aloe Vera on to your cat’s ears or use a lotion for achieving the same results.
Usually these home remedies are effective during the initial stages of ear-mite infestation but there is always an outside chance that your kitty may not respond to any of these. In such a situation, it is time to take the pet to the vet so that the problem is stemmed before it can aggravate any further and lead to complications.
- 10 Best Home Remedies For Ear Mites In Cats , Live a Little Longer
- 12 Amazing Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Cats That Will Stop Ear Mites in Their Tracks , eHome Remedies
- Ear Mites in Cats – Easy Treatment, Common Questions , Common Sense Home
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How to Treat Ear Mites in Cats
Ear mites are painful invaders that leave cats shaking their heads — literally. Our feline friends are understandably distressed by these crawly creatures living in their ear canals. With most cats afflicted at some point in their lives, all cat owners should know how to spot ear mites and what to do about them. Treatment of ear mites is fairly simple, and keeping them away from your cat requires just a little effort. Here’s how to fight those mites:
These tiny parasites, the size of a pinpoint or a comma, live and breed in the cat’s ear canal, causing the cat discomfort and itching. They can spread to his head, skin, back, neck and tail. Ear mites thrive on ear canal secretions and tissue debris, and multiply by the thousands. They can live their entire life cycle on their host cat. Highly contagious, and as common to cats as fleas, ear mites can lead to bacterial and fungal infections, and cause inflammation of the cat’s outer ear canal. In extreme cases, untreated ear mites can cause a ruptured eardrum or permanent hearing loss. While cats of any age are susceptible to ear mites, they are most often seen in kittens.
Easily spread from one animal to another, ear mites are present in roughly half the dog and cat populations. Kittens usually contract them from their mothers, because a kitten’s immune system is still fragile, and ear mites are so contagious. Cats that go outdoors are very susceptible to contracting ear mites from other cats or dogs they encounter. Foxes and rabbits are also carriers. If your cat has ear mites, your dog or other pets will likely have them as well. In pet shops, catteries or shelters, where cats live in close proximity, ear mites are a common problem.
A cat with ear mites, distressed by the itching they cause, will shake his head and scratch at his ears vigorously. He may scratch so hard that his ears will bleed or blood vessels may break. Ear mites can cause a cat to flatten or tuck his ears back, and the cat may cry if you touch them. His ears will also give off a foul odor. Taking a peek inside his ear may show you a buildup of brownish or black specks that resemble coffee grounds. This crusty debris is formed by ear wax, dried blood and dead ear mites.
Since cats are subject to other ear ailments such as bacterial or yeast infections, your vet should first examine the cat to confirm that it has ear mites. While ear mites are invisible to the naked eye, your vet can see them with an instrument called an otoscope. Once confirmed, the cat’s ears should be cleaned by a veterinary professional, to ensure the ear canal isn’t damaged. The vet will rub mineral oil gently into the ears to soften the crusty debris, then flush the cat’s ears with warm water. After that, the vet will prescribe ear mite medication — usually drops containing an insecticide like pyrethrin — that you should put in the cat’s ears.
You’ll need to massage the ears to distribute the liquid, which will be given daily for several days. The vet will need to repeat the cleaning twice more at week-long intervals to remove the full lifecycle of adult ear mites and eggs. To be thorough, you should also ask the vet to clean the cat’s tail — and keep it clean yourself — because cats sleep with their tails curled close to their ears, and ear mites can live on tails as well as in ear canals.
A month after your vet has treated your cat for ear mites, she’ll want to swab the cat’s ears to be certain the infection is gone. To prevent the return of ear mites, always thoroughly dry your cat’s ears after bathing him, because ear mites thrive in a moist, warm environment. Inspect his ears regularly for any signs of dirt, and keep them clean; ask your vet to demonstrate the proper cleaning procedure. At the first sign of any feline ear problem, consult your vet. Wash the cat’s bedding often, especially if you have multiple pets. Topical flea preventatives, applied to the cat’s skin once a month, also prevent ear mite infestation.