Ear mites, also known as Otodectes cynotis, are one of those common external parasites found in cats. They are microscopic crab-like creatures who love to thrive inside the dark and warm ear canals of a cat. They usually eat the skin and organic matter that are present inside. Ear mites make your cat scratch and paw their ears and may ultimately lead to swollen ear flaps and skin infections. They are harmful but easy to get rid of. 

How Do You Know Your Cat Has Ear Mites? 

Due to the fact that there are other common parasites who may infest your cat, it’s not always easy to say whether your cat has ear mites or not. Here are some points about how you can determine that. 

Check For Excess Wax 

This is the first sign that indicates something is wrong with your cat’s ears. If your cat is building up excessive wax, he might be dealing with ear problems. Cats generally produce minimal wax, black/brown substance. In fact, the wax is a substance produced to fight attacks in their ears. But when it is present in larger amounts, there’s likely a problem. 

Your cat’s ear might also have tiny coffee grounds like flecks or black dirt. That also indicates the presence of ear mites. Wax can be smelly and you may also observe fluid discharge from her ears. 

Scratching and Pawing 

Due to irritation, your cat will try to scratch his ears with the back of his paws. Also, the irritation can make your cat drag his head on furniture and the carpet and shake his head. In addition, your cat’s sharp claws 

may break the skin surface causing bleeding or soreness and introduce bacterial and yeast infections. 

Your cat may develop inflammatory polyps, small lumps, or other disease in his ear canals. Another sign would blisters and dried blood on the ear flaps to in the ear canals. 

This includes your cats’ eardrums may be torn or inflamed and produce puss. This may also result in balance issues for your feline 

Check Your Other Pets 

If you have multiple pets, check their ears. Your cat might have gotten ear mites from his feline friends or a dog. Moreover, if one of your pets has ear mites, you can take precautonary steps to prevent ear mites in your other animals. 

What You Can Expect From Your Vet? 

Your vet will diagnose the ear problem using one of the techniques: 

The veterinarian will use an auroscope, a flashlight-like instrument with magnification ability that allows them to look deep down in the ear canal. The scurry of white mites can be easily observed under the bright light. 

Another method your vet might use is examining ear wax. He would collect a sample of wax using a cotton ball and smear it on a microscope slide. The presence of mites is easily be identified under the microscope. 

In addition, your vet will check your cat’s eardrums before she starts any treatment. If they are torn, ear drops will be able to enter the middle-ear causing balance issues for your kitty. Let’s hope the infestation didn’t go that far. 

How To Prevent Reoccurrence Of Ear Mites 

Once you visit your vet, your cat will have to go through treatment. Moreover, your vet will also instruct you on how to treat ear mites at home. Please follow all the instructions strictly to get rid of mites. 

But how do you ensure that ear mites do not return? Treat all your cats with selamectin. This substance deters mites, heartworms, fleas, and some intestinal parasites from your cats. There are some topical selamectin-based treatments available in the market to choose from. 

Do follow the instructions given on the package of the medication. Remember that this medication is to be applied on the back of the neck and not inside the ears. This will help all your felines to stay resistant to ear mites. 

If you have dogs and they seem to have been infected with ear mites from your cat, the cat’s treatment won’t be helpful. Seek veterinary help. 


I hope the steps I have mentioned here have helped you determine the presence of ear mites and their potential harmful impact. Your vet will immediately start the treatment to get rid of mites from your kitty. Moreover, you can also take preventive measures as mentioned in the previous section. 

Apart from the previous steps mentioned, you can spray your cat’s hind paws with a topical treatment substance fipronil. It can kill lice, ticks, mites, fleas, and some other parasites. When your cat scratches on her coat, the medicine present can kill the mites directly. 

Guest blogger: Ethan Roniel 

Ethan Roneil is a cat-lover. His self-taught cat care has come from years of research. He shares his knowledge of felines on Catlovesbest.com.