Cats are known to be susceptible to ear mites, especially if they have access to the outdoors. If your cat or kitten has suddenly started that tell-tale scratching caused by the little parasites you should seek treatment right away. You can easily soothe your pet from the torment and irritation, and even eliminate ear mites completely with home remedies for ear mites in cats.
How Did Your Cat Get Ear Mites?
The mites that are most commonly seen amongst domesticated animals, especially cats, are scientifically classified as ‘Otodectes Cynotis’. These ear mites are tiny, crab-like creatures that will feed on dead skin cells, waxy build, and even latch on and drink blood from your pet. The eight legged parasite is barely visible to the naked eye and can be seen in cats of any age.
Ear mites are highly contagious and can be spread either through direct or indirect contact. Ear mites will most likely affect your cat if they have ideal conditions for food sources and reproduction. Another common factor of ear mite infestation is coming in contact with another animal that has been affected by ear mites.
Since it is most common for cats to contract ear mites, it is important to check your cat’s ears regularly. Risk factors of ear mites for cats include:
- Coming into contact with other animals with ear mites
- Having regular access to the outdoors
- Waxy build-up in the ears
- Ears that are kept unclean for long periods of time
- Living amongst other cats
Signs and Symptoms of Ear Mites in Cats (Otodectes Cynotis)
When your cat has contracted ear mites, there are several signs and symptoms associated with these parasites. Signs and symptoms of ear mites in cats include:
- Redness in the ears
- Unstoppable urge to scratch the ears
- Tilting the head to the side for long periods of time
- Black or reddish brown build-up in the ears that has a similar texture and look as coffee grounds
- Sensitivity and even pain when touching the ears
- Large amounts of waxy build-up
- Strong, musty odor
- Unusual amount of head shaking
- A thick and crusty discharge
- Black and/or brown waxy secretion
- Ears that have become crusted over or scabby
If your cat is exhibiting one or more of the above signs and symptoms, it is most likely they have contracted ear mites.
Ear mites are barely visible to the naked eye, yet you can spot them inside your cat’s ears with the assistance of a magnifying lens. If you look inside the ear by gently folding back the ear flap, you can spot tiny, white specks amongst the reddish-brown debris. Those tiny, white specks are in fact the adult ear mites present in the ear.
If you cannot spot any ear mites even with the assistance of a magnifying lens, it is possible that the ear mites have made their way to the inner ear canal. At this stage, it is necessary to visit your vet to allow your cat to receive an ‘otoscope’. This simple procedure will let the vet see deep inside your cat’s ear canal and diagnose ear mites or any other under lying ear conditions present.
Once you have a proper diagnosis, whether from your vet or from seeing ear mites for yourself, you will need to begin treatment right away. Immediately starting a treatment regime will prevent further spread of ear mites and soothe and heal your cat from these parasites.
12 Home Remedies for Ear Mites in Cats
Many times ear mites are treated with harsh chemicals. However, with the use of herbal remedies, you can naturally and gently eliminate these pests.
Before you begin any home remedy, it is important to gather the proper tools. Items that could come in handy for treating your cat for ear mites are:
- Cotton balls
- Small towel or tissues
- Small bowl
- Cotton swabs
It is also important to ensure that you cleanse your cat’s ears as much as possible before administering any home remedy.
1. Cleaning Bedding and Cages
One of the first things that should be done is cleaning any bedding or cages that your cat has access to. You will need to wash and dry (on high heat) any bedding that your cat has slept on since the ear mites have been discovered. Additionally, you can use bleach to sanitize any hard surfaces your cat has access to.
Vacuuming your home every day while your cat has the ear mites is also necessary. This is especially true if you have carpet, drapes, and soft furniture.
2. Apple cider vinegar has anti-bacterial properties
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular home remedy for various human ailments, but it also can help your cat. Does apple cider vinegar kill ear mites in cats? ACV is perfect for dealing with ear mites because of its acidity and its anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.
Moreover, ACV is usually safe for pets as long as it’s administered properly. However, since apple cider vinegar is too acidic, you must always dilute it with water before applying it topically or giving it internally.
Here’s how to use apple cider vinegar to treat ear mites in cats.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Paper towels/ a squeeze bottle
- Someone to hold the cat
- Mix apple cider vinegar and water in 50/50 proportions.
- Soak a paper towel into the solution.
- Get your cat. You might want somebody else to hold your pet while you’re administering the treatment. Otherwise, wrap the cat in a towel to protect yourself from injuries.
- Use the soaked paper towel to squeeze a few drops into your cat’s ear. You can also use a squeeze bottle to administer the mixture.
- Treat the infected ear well and then release the cat.
- Repeat the treatment every day for a week. If there is no improvement, you must go to your vet.
Notes: Apple cider vinegar might irritate your cat’s sensitive skin. So, you should increase the water in the mixture and stop the treatment if you notice any sudden skin redness or itchiness. In addition to this, do not use apple cider vinegar on cats that have kidney problems.
Moreover, apple cider vinegar is usually very effective for mild to moderate ear mite infections. However, you’ll need a vet help for more serious infestations.
3. Directly Applying Honey
The naturally occurring properties of honey are wonderful for healing any wounds or tears caused by the scratching. This is due to the high levels of anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agents present in honey. Directly applying honey will also smother any present adult ear mites as well as prevent any eggs or larvae from further developing.
- 1 tablespoon of organic honey
- Cotton Swab
- Warm wet cloth
- Dip the cotton swab into the honey.
- Gently wipe the cotton swab throughout the ear and ear canals.
- Leave the honey in place for 10-15 minutes at a time.
- After the honey has had time to set in the ears, take the warm wet cloth and gently wipe and dab throughout the ears.
- Repeat this treatment 1-2 times per day until there are no more ear mites or wounds caused from the scratching present.
Notes: Using organically sourced honey is known to be more potent, but it is not necessary.
4. Directly Applying Vaseline for ear mites in cats
Vaseline is a great way to smother any adult ear mites present, as well as take away their food source. Vaseline will also provide moisture to the ears which will also promote healing.
- Cotton swab
- Take a small amount of Vaseline on the cotton swab.
- Gently wipe the cotton swab throughout the ears.
- Leave the Vaseline to fully absorb.
- Repeat once per day throughout the ear mite infestation.
5. Directly Applying Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a great way to dry out your cat’s ears while at the same time eliminating any present ear mites.
- Any brand of hand sanitizer
- Gather a small amount of hand sanitizer and place directly in the ear.
- Massage the ear at the base to allow the hand sanitizer to fully come in contact with the entire ear area.
- Repeat once or twice per day until you notice results.
Notes: Many times cat owners who use this remedy will see results within two to three days.
6. Directly Applying Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera will give your cat the moisture and healing its ear will need. Whether you use fresh or bottled Aloe Vera, this potent plant will prevent ear mites from returning.
- One leaf of fresh Aloe Vera or ½ tablespoon of bottled Aloe Vera
- Directly apply the Aloe Vera to the cat’s ears.
- Massage the ears at the base.
- Repeat once per day for at least three days to see results.
7. Directly Applying Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for ear mites
Diatomaceous Earth is a powerful agent in combating ear mites in cats. The food grade Diatomaceous Earth will kill any adult or newly hatched ear mites present, but not the eggs. This is why it is important to continue this treatment for at least one month to ensure you have broken the ear mite’s cycle.
- One pinch of Diatomaceous Earth
- Warm water
- Eye dropper
- Add the Diatomaceous Earth to the warm water.
- Take a few drops and place them directly into your cat’s ears.
- Massage your cat’s ears at the base.
- Repeat once daily for at least one month for best results.
8. Directly Applying Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide will help prevent further infection due to scratching caused by the ear mites. In addition, the hydrogen peroxide will break up any build-up of wax and/or debris in the ears.
- Cotton balls
- 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide
- Soak a cotton ball with the hydrogen peroxide.
- Gently wipe the cotton ball inside the ears.
- Repeat twice per day until the ear mites have ceased.
Notes: Do not use an eye dropper to administer the hydrogen peroxide as this can cause the hydrogen peroxide to drip into your cat’s eyes which will cause severe pain.
9. Directly Applying White Vinegar
The acidity in the white vinegar will help remove dirt and debris left behind from the ear mites, as well as maintaining a healthy equilibrium in the ears. Any adolescent or adult ear mites will be killed once they come in contact with the vinegar.
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- Cotton balls
- 1 tablespoon of warm water
- Small dish
- Add the vinegar to the small dish and add the warm water to dilute.
- Take the cotton ball and soak with the mixture.
- Gently wipe the cotton ball in the ears and massage at the base.
- Repeat once each day for at least 7 days.
Notes: It is important to avoid using this remedy on cat’s who have open sores, cuts, or scabs present in the ears as the white vinegar can cause a painful, burning effect.
10. Directly Applying Almond Oil Combined with Vitamin E
- ½ an ounce of Almond Oil
- 400 IU’s of Vitamin E
- Eye dropper
- Small bowl
- Cotton balls
- Combine the Almond Oil and the vitamin E in a small bowl.
- Fill the eye dropper halfway and administer this amount in each ear.
- Massage the ears at the base to ensure the mixture fully reaches all areas of the ears.
- Remove any excess debris or wax with a cotton ball.
- Repeat this remedy every other day for at least one week for best results.
- Monitor the condition of your cat’s ears and repeat for another week as needed.
11. Directly Applying Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is a great way to smother any present ear mites as well as soothe the inflamed ears. Mineral oil provides moisture and promotes healing in the ears.
According to a study done by Otomax, a mineral-oil based otic ointment has been shown to have some apparent effect against ear mites in cats. As part of a trial testing the efficacy of the mineral-oil based compound, one of the authors used 2 ml of mineral oil and 30 seconds of external massage of the base of the ear in the control cats, and found that after two treatments one week apart, there were no mites found in any of the control cats three-weeks after the second treatment.
- Cotton balls/swabs
- Eye dropper
- 16 ounces of mineral oil
- Fill the eye dropper halfway with mineral oil.
- Directly apply the drops into the ear canal.
- Massage the ear at the base.
- Take a cotton ball/swab and spread the mineral oil throughout the ears.
- Repeat twice per week for a minimum of one month.
12. Directly Applying Psorinum or Sulfur
Although Psorinum and Sulfur are known to be quite odorous, both of them are highly effective in treating ear mites gently and quickly. Using Psorinum or Sulfur will help ease any irritation and itching caused by the ear mites as well as promotes healing within the ears.
- ½ teaspoon of Psorinum or Sulfur
- Cotton swab
- Take a small amount of the Sulfur or Psorinum and place directly into your cat’s ears.
- Use the cotton swab to gently spread the Sulfur or Psorinum throughout the ears.
- Leave in the ears to fully absorb.
- Repeat every three days as needed until the ear mites are no longer present.
When your cat has caught the dreaded ear mites, you can easily heal and soothe your cat’s irritated ears with the help of this list. You will find using any of the above home remedies will not only allow you to avoid the use of harsh chemicals but will be gentle on your cat’s delicate ears.