Ear Mites in Cats: A Study of Diagnosis and Symptoms

By Tess Thompson

Ear mites can be a constant problem for any pet. The presence of ear mites can cause considerable anguish to the pet and the owner alike. Cat ear mites are contagious and can be passed on to other pets in the household. And, not just to other cats; they can spread to dogs and other animals too.

The way your cat reacts to ear mites can vary. Some cats do not react or exhibit external symptoms even when they are infected with a large number of mites. But, some cats may show extreme symptoms at the presence of a small number of ear mites. It is suspected that different breeds of cats show different levels of sensitivity towards this condition.

The first symptom that surfaces among cats when they have ear mites is the presence of excessive wax in the ears. Mites often stimulate wax producing glands in the ear and this in turn can lead to inflammation and further complications. Other symptoms that are often exhibited when your cat is infected with ear mites include excessive itching and scratching. Too much scratching can rupture tiny blood vessels in the outer ear and cause the ear to swell. This is defined as a condition called hematoma.

Cats with ear mites also seem to develop immunity towards this condition unlike dogs with ear mites. This is believed to be the case since older cats seem to suffer less than kittens and younger cats. It is not uncommon to see kittens showing restlessness and other external symptoms even when they are infested with a small number of ear mites; whereas some adult cats may not exhibit any signs of discomfort despite having a plethora of mites in the ears.

Other than itching and scratching, the build up of dark wax and unpleasant odor can also be tell-tale signs of the presence of cat ear mites. To confirm the presence of ear mites in your cat you need to perform a simple physical examination of the ear, or the wax taken from the ear. The large mites can sometimes be observed by the naked eye.

If the physical examination does not confirm that your cats has mites and symptoms like itching, scratching and excessive wax continue, a visit to the veterinarian becomes mandatory. A medical examination is generally warranted and involves the use of a magnifying otoscope to detect the presence of ear mites.

One you have determined that the mites are present, your cat will need medical treatment. Mites are not likely to vanish on their own and must be killed or removed. Timely treatment of the condition is a must to prevent further complications like bacterial or yeast infections that can lead to seizures, deafness or a rupture of the ear drum.

When you have a cat with ear mites, your options are similar to those available when you have a dog with ear mites. Owners must choose between conventional remedies and home remedies for dog ear mites before embarking on a treatment plan.

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