The truth is that treating cat ear mites is more difficult than people think. People search for ways of treating cat ear mites naturally, or treating cat ear mites at home, or treating cat ear mites with mineral oil. These are all home remedies demonstrating a cat owner’s wish to treat this feline health condition themselves. On this website I have a popular page on home remedies for ear mites but frankly speaking I don’t believe, in retrospect, that it is a good page as it encourages unrealistic behavior. It was written years ago.

I happen to believe that it is unwise and often impossible to treat cat ear mites at home. It may be worse than that. Trying to treat cat ear mites at home may result in harm being done to a cat. It should be said that an ear mite infection is one of the most common health problems seen in cats.

The truth is that ear mites are a serious health problem for a cat and they are very distressing and uncomfortable for a cat. This means that the problem should be tackled quickly and properly. It is the sort of problem that people can push to one side because sometimes the only symptom one can see in one’s cat is some scratching and headshaking. Cats do that anyway and people are reluctant to take their cat to their veterinarian. If this happens a cat can be left in acute discomfort for a long time.

Cat ear mite picture

Ear mites are tiny insects that live in the ear canal and they feed by piercing the skin. Not only does this nasty parasite cause a cat to be distressed through irritation it can also cause an allergic reaction, a complicating factor.

You may be aware that what you will see in the cat’s ear when this parasite is present is a dry, crumbly, dark brown, waxy substance when you look into the cat’s ear. There may be a foul smell. The initial problem may be compounded by the fact that the cat is scratching her ear so much that it causes a wound which becomes infected with bacteria.

The reason why this parasite is a serious problem is because they crawl deep into the canal where they can be difficult to get at and treat. I have already mentioned secondary infections of bacteria. Another problem is that during treatment mites can travel from the canal and move to other parts of the cat causing itching and scratching there.

Therefore, it is not only important to treat the whole cat with a safe, topical insecticide, the cat’s owner should also seek a veterinarian’s confirmation that the cat is, in fact, infested with the ear mite. It could be something else and if one tries to treat at home you may have zero success and at the same time you may create other health problems.

As a result, it seems clear to me that if one’s cat is scratching her ears and shaking her head and the other symptoms for a mite infestation are present, then without hesitation or delay the cat’s owner should take their cat to the vet to deal with this nasty problem properly.

There are other problems. Other ear ailments can be made more complicated when using the medication is that kill ear mites.

The recommendation, in the book that I have¹, is that the ear should be cleaned before applying medication. In fact, it is described as being essential to do that. This is because dirty ear canals contain wax and debris which shelters the parasite, which makes it difficult for the medication to kill them.

Personally, I would find cleaning my cat’s ears a problem. I don’t like sticking something down my cat’s ears. You can make things worse. Personally, I do not believe that a cat owner should try and clean her cat’s ears unless she/he is absolutely sure that she knows what she is doing and better still has some experience in doing this sort of thing. Remember that it won’t be enough to simply clean the top part of the canal, the bit that one can see easily. And if one is prodding and poking around deep into the ear canal damage is likely to be done.

If cleaning cat ears is potentially hazardous to the cat (when it is done by the cat’s owner), that in itself is enough to suggest that the only course of action is for the owner to take her cat to her veterinarian and for her veterinarian to carry out the entire treatment and/or supervise home treatment.

On the basis that the cat’s owner has the experience and skill then after cleaning the ears (as instructed by her veterinarian) the ears should be medicated with medicines chosen by her veterinarian. The dosage and frequency of application should be strictly followed and it is important to complete the entire treatment because if not this nasty parasite is likely to return.

To conclude, I would not recommend that a person tries to treat his or her cat based upon information on the Internet and neither should the treatment solely be based upon natural or home remedies. I do not believe that, in the case of this parasite, these are enough. Also great care should be exercised when applying any pesticide to a cat as they are poisonous. Pesticides can cause health problems unless applied very carefully. Veterinarian supervision is a necessity as far as I’m concerned.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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