what do ear mites look like

What Do Ear Mites Look Like – Suspicious Dirt Ears May Be Harmful

Ear mites are a real problem to cats, and knowing how to eradicate them is important for your feline friend’s wellbeing.

The real danger of dealing with ear mites is that it causes your cat to scratch its ears in an attempt to relieve the itching.

And if not handled properly, repeated itching can result in multiple deep wounds, and we are sure you wouldn’t like that.

Now, the million-dollar question is, how do you recognize ear mites in cats, and what should you do if you find out that your feline is suffering from ear mites attack?

Read on, and you’ll find all the answers to your question in today’s post.

What are ear mites?

Ear mites are one of the many parasites that affects both dogs and cats.

They are microscopic and infectious organisms that look like tiny white dots in appearance.

Because of their minuscule size, ear mites can barely be seen using the naked eye.

To catch a glimpse of these parasites, you’ll have to detect them using a microscope.

Ear mites are known to live on the skin of the ear canal and feed off skin oils and ear wax.

An adult ear mite can survive for two long months.

The not so cool thing about these parasites is that they multiply quickly, with their eggs taking only four days to hatch.

Plus, a newly hatched ear mite takes only three weeks to develop into a full-blown adult mite that is ready to breed.

How can I tell if my cat has ear mites?

Detecting ear mites’ infection in cats can be sometimes tricky as some pet owners often attribute their cat’s itching to inflammation.

But not to worry, we have put together some tell-tale signs that should help you know when your cat is suffering from an ear mites infection.

To start with, ear mites can cause your feline’s ears to itch.

This often leads to your cat shaking her head vigorously or scratching her ears continuously using her paws.

When your cat suffers from ear mites, you may notice wax and irritations around your pet’s ear.

Not just that, their ears may also appear red and inflamed.

Usually, ear mites also produce a kind of dry black ear discharge, and in some cases, you may notice some unusual odor.

While suspecting that your cat may be suffering from an ear mites attack, please keep in mind that some irritations in your cat’s ears may be caused by allergies that may cause infections other than ear mites, so it’s important that you take your pet to the vets for proper diagnosis, especially considering that parasites aren’t easily detected using the naked eye.

Diagnosing ear mites isn’t all that difficult.

Using an otoscope to look inside your cat’s ear, a veterinarian can instantly tell if your cat is under attack from ear mites.

Without proper diagnosis by a professional to detect ear mites, many pet owners are unsure if their feline friend is suffering from a bacterial or yeast ear infection.

This can result in weeks of inappropriate treatment that may cause the condition of your cat to worsen.

How do cats catch ear mites?

Since ear mites are known to transfer between animals or hosts easily, close contact with other animals can cause ear mites in cats.

This can even worsen in a multi-cat home where cats mingle with one another freely.

Are ear mites contagious to other pets?

One of the not so cool things about ear mites is that they are contagious to other cats and animals in your households.

And even if your furry friends aren’t showing any visible symptoms of ear mite infection, it’s important to have them treated simultaneously.

Due to their lifestyle, cats a very prone to catching ear mites.

Can humans be affected by ear mites from cats?

While it is very rare for humans to catch ear mites from their cat, it’s been reported that some pet owners develop skin rashes if their furry friend has ear mites.

And just so you know, the ear mites that affect cats are very different from the parasite that affects humans.

What treatments can be explored to treat ear mites?

Dealing with ear mites can be super tiring as these parasites aren’t easily eradicated.

That said, many spot-on flea treatments have proven to help prevent and treat ear mites.

And should your vet recommend this, it is by far the best and easiest way to protect your cat from these parasites.

A few applications usually get the job done.

Plus, it is a lot gentle and less stressful for your cat and yourself than ear drops.

While spot-on treatments are among the popular remedies for ear mites, ear drops are also thought to treat ear mites effectively.

The only caveat with ear drop is that it requires nearly three weeks to a month to get the job done.

And that’s because ear drops don’t kill the parasites’ eggs, which can develop into a full-blown adult in 21 days.

Whether you are using spot-on flea treatments or ear drops, it’s super important that you use it as prescribed and for the recommended period.

Other topical treatments for ear mites work between 10 -14 days and are a lot stronger as they kill both the eggs and the adult mites.

Not just that, topical medications are designed to tackle infections caused by parasites.

Frequently asked questions

How long can mites survive?

Mites can survive for up to two long months.

Plus, they are known to multiply quickly as their eggs hatch within four days.

More so, these parasites can develop into adults within 21 days.

How do indoor cats catch ear mites?

Like we stated earlier, ear mites are very contagious, and your cat can get easily infected by the environment or another animal.

And because these parasites are not specie specific, your feline can pick them up from dogs or cats.

What happens if ear mites are left untreated?

If left untreated, ear mites can cause severe damage and infection.

The resulting damage to your cat’s eardrum can result in permanent ear loss.

But if handled promptly, they should be defeated in a couple of weeks.


Ear mites can be tricky to handle, and it’s important to spot these parasites before they cause severe damage to your cat’s eardrum while affecting their quality of life.

If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from an ear mite infection, please visit the vet for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

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