Early Signs of Ear Mites in Cats

Early Signs of Ear Mites in Cats

Ear mites are minute parasites that take habitat inside and outside cat ears. Though there are many types, the most common in cats is the Otodectes Cynotis. They can also affect other pets. Apart from causing immense discomfort for your pet, they are also dangerous and can lead to serious infections. It is utterly important to tell the early signs of these hazardous parasites so they can be managed in time before causing irreparable damage.

Early Signs

Ear mites can take a while to manifest in your pet. There are signs that can shed light to an ear mite infestation in your pet. These include:

  • Frequent scratching or rubbing of the ears
  • Scratch injuries around the ear
  • Frequent shaking of the head
  • Loss of hair
  • Waxy secretion in brown or black colors
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Inflammation of the ear
  • Favoring of one ear by the cat
  • Lack of balance
  • Blockage of the ear with debris that appears coffee-like.


Ear mites are extremely contagious. They move from pet to pet. Once they find a new host, they hatch. The eggs take three weeks to become adults. Adults reproduce and the cycle continues if unchecked. Some wander to the skin and the infestation continues.

Risk Factors

Outdoor cats and kittens are more at risk. Most humans are immune to ear mites and though some may get a rash at contact, there have been no long term infections associated.


There are a number of complications to look out for including:

  • Discomfort for the pet
  • Skin infection
  • Ear infection
  • Aural hematoma due to excessive scratching
  • Partial hearing loss
  • Complete hearing loss

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you suspect ear mites, it is recommended that you take your pet to the vet. There are different infections that might mimic the early signs mites present. This therefore makes it very hard for you to diagnose your pet as you might treat the wrong cause. Once your cat is diagnosed by a vet, treatment can take one or two of these forms;

  • Cleansing of the cat’s ear either by the vet or you depending on your pets temperament
  • Application medication for the skin or ears
  • Ear drops and antibiotics in case of infections
  • Home remedies that can help provide some relief for your cat


The risk of your pet being affected can be minimized through keeping their ears and habitats clean. You can also managing interactions with other pets to prevent them getting infected. Other pets as well as the environment should be treated following an earlier infestation as failing to do so will be counteractive. These mites cannot survive long without a host so it is possible to prevent further infestation by treating all pets and their home.

Bottom Line

Your ability to prevent and catch the problem in time to save your pet the adverse effects of an infestation is key to a happy, healthy pet. The knowledge of the early signs is thus most important in caring for your cat. Caught early, ear mites can be effectively treated and your pet will be as good as new.