Mites in Cats: Everything you need to know

One of the greatest threats to the general well-being of our pets are the annoying mites in cats.

And, if we analyze, we can imagine how irritating it must be to have these small organisms spreading on their skin or inside their ears.

One of these parasites that can annoy our cats the most are the mites, which are very frequent ectoparasites in cats. We can even attribute more than half of the cases of ear infections in cats to these tiny animals.

Although it is worth mentioning that ear infections in cats are not as common as some other cat diseases, but, undoubtedly, most of them are due to the intrusion of mites.

Mites in Cats

These mites in cats can generate a lot of damage if they are not treated in time in the right way.

That is why it is important that you know and have all the necessary information about it, the symptoms, treatments and prevention. So you can give your cat a good care. And this will be possible if you continue reading this post.

What are mites?

First of all, you should know what mites are. Well, mites are ectoparasites that can be found on the skin of cats, they feed on it. Some mites are in charge of making tunnels in the skin of the small kittens to be able to live and facilitate their reproduction and feeding.

The reproduction of mites in cats is really fast, and if that is not enough, they reproduce in masses, of course, if the conditions in which they are found are adequate. If so, their proliferation will be such that it will cause an immense infestation in the host of the parasite.

In cats, there are several types of mites, but the most common is the one capable of causing mange and otitis.

Among the mites that most affect cats we can find:

  • Demodex cati
  • Demodex gatoi
  • Notoedres cati
  • Cheyletiella
  • Otodectes cynotis, the latter being the most common of all those mentioned above.

The Otodectes cynotis is a very, very tiny spider, which is able to adapt to almost any environment, this mite is able to live in cats as well as in dogs. The mite would cause the most common external parasitosis among cats.

Three weeks are enough for the life cycle of mites in the ears of cats, and their life cycle is as follows: first the mite eggs hatch inside the ear of the kitty, the larva that hatches from these eggs feeds on the skin there, after about 21 days, the larva is already a full adult able to continue to reproduce.

The average life span of the mite is about 3 weeks, it is not that long, but during this time they reproduce massively. The mites that attack our kitten, are white or brown, do not exceed 0.5 mm, the females are larger than the males.

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They are not microscopic, they can be easily observed inside the cat’s ear with an otoscope or not necessarily with one, if your cat allows it, you can observe these tiny parasites.

Naturally these parasites lodge in the feline’s ears, however, if the infestation is massive, they can be found on the cat’s head and face. Even one or the other can be found in another area of the body, of course, this is not common.

These ear mites in cats, as mentioned above, feed on the skin and earwax generated in the ears, and the saliva they generate causes irritation and itching.

The cats most prone to have mites are young cats with long hair. A cat with mites is the equivalent of a child with lice.

So, if you notice that your beloved kitty is having discharges in his ears, you should take the appropriate measures and check if it is mites, take him to a veterinarian and get him treated as soon as possible.

If this is not treated in time, it can cause a total obstruction of the auditory canal, due to stenosis or widening of the canal walls.

Remember that it is normal for your cat’s ears to be pale pink, and without any substance coming out of them.

Symptoms of Mites in Cats

Now that I have told you what ear mites are, you are probably wondering how do I know if my cat has ear mites?

Detecting these little parasites is not that complicated, your cat will give clear signs that it is infested with ear mites. And maybe you don’t know exactly what these signs are, and don’t worry, we will mention them below:

  • You will be able to observe a kind of dark-colored earwax in your cat’s ears, and they will also be inflamed. The presence of these mites will cause bleeding in your cat’s ears. This is due to the rupture they cause in the blood vessels present in the auricular cartilage, which is why you will find the presence of fresh or dried blood. Note that dried blood takes the appearance of small coffee particles. Normally, your cat’s ears will be pale pink and without any discharge.
  • You will notice that your cat is much more restless than usual, and will shake and tilt its head repeatedly: this is probably because it is very itchy in the ear. Mites are really annoying and if they are present in your cat, he will feel very uncomfortable.
  • Your cat’s ears will be flattened and will give off a very unpleasant odor. This is because the earwax produced inside your cat’s ears will take on a strong, unpleasant and characteristic odor due to the infection produced by the mites.
  • Your kitty will scratch his ears a lot and very hard: the mites generate itching and itching, so your cat will scratch with the intention of relieving the itching. And it will do it so intensely that it can cause wounds.
  • You will see wounds and scabs on your cat from scratching. You will usually see them on the back of the ears, above the eyes, on the cheeks, and you may even find some on the neck area.
  • Also if you look very closely inside your cats’ ears you will be able to see tiny white dots moving. These are nothing more than the mites themselves roaming freely in their new habitat. They are very tiny, but, even so, they can be captured by the human eye without the need of any special instrument.
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You should know that, if the mite infestation is quite severe and very prolonged, it can generate other infections due to the appearance of fungi and bacteria in the area.

This will require you to give your cat some antibiotics or antifungals in addition to the anti-dust mite treatment. Of course, this treatment must first be prescribed by a veterinarian.

We also inform you that mites are highly contagious between cats, even they can be transmitted to dogs, which is not so common, but it is possible.

As for the contagion to humans, it is very unlikely to happen, of course it is not ruled out. There are extreme cases where the proliferation is so massive that the Noah’s Syndrome can occur.

Keep in mind that these symptoms may not occur all at the same time. But it is important that if you see that your cat has even one of the symptoms mentioned above, you take him/her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

So that he/she can give you a diagnosis and indicate the appropriate treatment to treat the mites in your cat as soon as possible.

Mites in Cats

mite treatment for cats

The Otodectes Cynotis is a type of mite that is quite difficult to get rid of. In its treatment, it is necessary to find a way to kill the parasite and at the same time to ensure that it does not damage the tissues that make up the cat’s ear.

That is to say, the treatment must eliminate the mites completely and regenerate the epithelium.

In addition, it must be indicated by a veterinarian, who will provide you with all the necessary information and the exact procedure to follow. However, here we will tell you more or less what the treatment is like:

The first thing you will be instructed to do is to perform a thorough cleaning of the cat’s ears in order to eliminate the secretions and facilitate the action of the acaricide. It is important to clean the ear and apply the acaricide.

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The veterinarian will tell you which ones to use. You must smear the special isopes or simply some cotton wool with the liquid to clean, you must do it very carefully and gently so as not to damage the area.

If the veterinarian can do it, it would be ideal, otherwise he/she should tell you how to do it correctly.

Ear cleaning should not be done daily as it can cause tissue damage and aggravate previous lesions caused by mites. This cleaner is a solution with characteristic properties that drown the parasite.

Now the acaricide is usually a selamectin pipette or a gel containing ivermectin. The veterinarian who is treating the infection will tell you how often to apply them.

If the mite infestation in your cat is very severe it is usually every 4 or 5 days, now if it is milder it can be applied once a week. It is also advisable to apply an insecticide on the cat to get rid of parasites outside the ear.

Commonly the treatment against mites usually lasts approximately 3 weeks, and after finishing it, it is advisable to apply it once more after three weeks.

This will ensure the total elimination of these annoying parasites that disturb the tranquility of your pet.

It is important to remind you again, that this treatment should be applied after a veterinarian has indicated it to you.

Do not do it by yourself, you must have the exact indications for this, for a greater effectiveness and to avoid any complication due to a bad application.

Prevention of Mites in Cats

The treatment applied for the elimination of mites is very effective and not so difficult to apply, however, it is much better to prevent the existence of these inside the ear of your cat.

Here we will give you some tips so that you can avoid the contagion of mites in your cat:

  • Make sure your cat’s diet is adequate, varied and balanced. If your kitten has a good diet, it will also have a very efficient immune system capable of fighting and avoiding any serious infection.
  • Try to take him to the veterinarian periodically, having a control over his health is very good to avoid a massive infestation and even much more serious diseases.
  • Try to keep the area where your cat walks very clean, keep the place where it lives very clean. This will prevent the arrival of these annoying parasites to their territory.

With these tips you can avoid a possible mite infestation in your beloved cat, always be very attentive to the behaviors of your cat and fill them with lots of love, with this you will make your cat lead a very happy life.