Cats can have ear mites in their ears at any age. Since kittens don't develop ear flaps until they are about six weeks old, they are not a problem for kittens.
Ear mites are a common cause of ear discomfort in cats. Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal. Although they don’t usually cause much trouble for your cat, they can sometimes lead to pain, itching, and excessive scratching. That’s why it’s important to know how to recognize them and treat them quickly with the right pet meds so your pet isn’t suffering any longer than necessary.
Ear mites are not dangerous, but they can be very uncomfortable for your pet if left untreated or if you try treating them without first consulting a vet.
Cats Of Any Age May Develop Ear Mite Infections
Ear mites can be found in the ears of cats at any age. They are not a concern for kittens since they do not have ear flaps until they are about six weeks old. Older cats that have lost their hearing or are having other problems with their ears tend to be more susceptible to an ear mite infestation. Adult cats can also develop ear mites.
Ear mites cause itching and scratching around the ears and head, but they will not show up on a physical exam unless you look very closely at your cat's skin around its head and neck area.
Symptoms Of Ear Mites
Ear mites are tiny parasites that cause irritation and inflammation in a cat's ears. Ear mites are extremely common in cats because they like to spend time in the outer ear canal, which is warm and moist.
Ear mites feed on skin cells from the inside of your cat’s ears, making it itch and feel irritated. The ear canals become inflamed as your cat tries to scratch at the irritation, and if you see brown or black debris in your cat’s ears, you may have an ear mite infestation.
There May Be Odor From The Cat's Ears
There may be odor from the cat's ears due to yeast growth secondary to inflammation and bacterial infection. This can be treated with an antifungal pet medication like Animax ointment. Yeast infections are common in diabetic cats, so check your kitty for signs of diabetes if there is a strong odor coming from her ears. An ear mite infestation can also cause an odor, but this will often dissipate when the mites have been removed by treatment.
If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your cat's ears, take him to see his vet immediately so they can diagnose the cause of that stench and treat it accordingly.
Examine Your Pet For Signs Of Ear Mite Infection
Your veterinarian will examine your pet's ears for signs of ear mite infection. She'll look to see if there are any small, dark brownish or blackish parasites in the cat's ears—and she might take a sample or two of them to send off to a lab for testing. An ear swab is usually used for this procedure; it involves rolling a cotton ball into the canal or down on top of the head and gathering some material for analysis. If your vet sees any unusual discharge coming from either one of your cat’s ears (or both), she may also want to test it as well.
Diagnosis is based on finding the mite or eggs in your cat's ear canal or on the surface of his eardrum (tympanic membrane). The mite or eggs are not always visible, so a microscope is used to identify them. If you notice that your cat has signs of ear mites and you want to check for them, take him to see your veterinarian and get the right pet supplies from the pet pharmacy as soon as possible.
Remember, if you suspect that your cat has ear mites, it is important to seek professional help immediately. Ear mites can be treated with specific medications, and the sooner treatment and pet medicines begin, the better for all concerned. If your cat is seriously infested with ear mites, there may be other complications, such as secondary infections or yeast growth which require medical attention from a veterinarian as well.