Ear Mites in Cats: Symptoms & Treatment

While they are not life-threatening, ear mites in cats can cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort. This article will discuss the symptoms of ear mites in cats, how they can be treated and how to protect your cat.

ear mites in cats
ear mites in cats

What are ear mites in cats?

Ear mites are tiny parasites that inhabit the ear canals and surrounding skin of cats and dogs. They prefer to live on the surface of the skin rather than burrowing further inside the skin like some other mites. Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease in cats, especially in kittens.

What do ear mites look like in cats?

You may be wondering what do ear mites look like? Ear mites are actually so small that it’s unlikely you will be able to see them with the naked eye. Your veterinarian can use an otoscope or microscope to spot an infestation. It’s best to look out for the signs of ear mites in cats rather than the mites themselves.

Symptoms of ear mites in cats

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Cats with ear mites may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Scratching around the ears, head, and neck
  • A dark and waxy discharge in the ears
  • Skin irritation in and around the ears
  • Head shaking
  • An unpleasant odour from the ears

There are other potential causes of these symptoms, such as a yeast infection, a bacterial infection, or allergic skin disease. Your vet can examine your cat to rule out some of the other potential causes by looking at a sample of your cat’s ear wax down the microscope.

mites - portrait mites - portrait

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How to treat ear mites in cats

So how can you get rid of ear mites in cats? If your vet diagnoses ear mites, they will recommend a product to treat ear mites in cats. For example, a single dose of NexGard SPECTRA® Spot-On for Cats is highly effective at treating ear mites in cats.

How to prevent ear mites in cats

Monthly treatment with NexGard SPECTRA® protects cats against ear mites and mange, as well as fleas, ticks, heartworm, lungworm and intestinal worms (including tapeworms). It provides the most complete parasite protection, all in one easy, monthly application.

Nexgard spectra for cats - portrait Nexgard spectra for cats - portrait


  • Are cat ear mites contagious to humans?

    Ear mites can be transmitted between cats and dogs but they are not contagious to humans.

  • How do you know if your cat has ear mites?

    If your cat has ear irritation, they may have ear mites. However, there are several potential causes of ear irritation in cats. If your cat has a problem with one or both ears, you should consult your vet so they can examine your cat to identify the cause.

  • How long does it take to get rid of ear mites in cats?

    A single dose of NexGard SPECTRA® is highly effective at treating ear mites in cats. If the ear irritation persists, it’s best to consult with your vet as there may be another issue that needs to be addressed (such as a secondary ear infection).



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NEXGARD SPECTRA®, NEXGARD®, HEARTGARD30® and PARAGARD® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group.
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