Ear Mites in Cats

Education / Blog / Ear Mites in Cats

Ear Mites in Cats

Ear mites are actually a type of mange called Otodectic Mange. It is caused by a mite parasite called Otodectes cynotismites. These mites often infest the external ear, causing inflammation of the ear canal. Although ear mites do infest dogs, they are much more common in cats. Ear mites are usually found deep in the external ear canal, but they are sometimes seen on the body. The infested animal will shake its head and scratch its ear(s). The external ear may droop. The intensity of the itching varies. In severe cases, the external ear may be inflamed and produce pus; a torn eardrum is also possible.

What To Look For

  • Itching of the ears, head and neck
  • Sometimes generalized itching
  • Excessive scratching at ears and around head
  • Frequently shaking the head
  • Thick red-brown or black crusts in the outer ear
  • Coffee ground like bumps in the ear canal
  • Abrasions and scratches on the back side of the ears
  • Crusting and scale on the neck, rump and tail

How To Deal With Ear Mites In Cats

If you suspect your cat has ear mites, bring your cat to the vet. Once ear mites have been diagnosed, your cats ears will need to be cleaned and medicated to kill all the mites and eggs. Ear mites are very contagious to pets so all animals in the same household will need to be treated for ear mites even if they don’t show symptoms and the environment cleaned very thoroughly. Mites do not survive long away from the animal's body, so a thorough house cleaning should be enough.


Parasite prevention products like Feline Revolution offer protection from ear mites in addition to protection from fleas, heartworms, and intestinal worms. Ask your vet what product will be right for your cat.

Video courtesy of Dr. Chris Adolph, Southpark Veterinary Hospital
source Companion Animal Parasite Council
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2015