Imagine one day while petting your cat and ruffling its ears, you suddenly observe a tiny black creature scuttling across on its skin. Your first reaction would be that of shock followed by apprehension as to what might be the deeper implication. Just in case you have been wondering, it implies that your beloved feline is suffering from an infestation of ear mites and the problem needs to be attended to on a priority.
Having spotted a tiny black creature roaming your cat’s fur, your next step should be to cultivate awareness, ascertain the extent of the problem and figure out ways by which it could be overcome. To this effect, you might come across several options all of which would claim to be effective in clearing your cat’s ears off mites, but how about using a simple home remedy which is both simple and convenient? With a tried and tested home remedy, not only will you be able to get rid of ear mites the first time but also use it repetitively to ensure that the infestation does not occur again.
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What Are Ear Mites?
Scientifically known as Otodectes Cynotis, ear mites are tiny point-sized creatures that look like miniature spiders or crabs courtesy of their numerous limbs sticking out from the sides. These are parasitic by nature, meaning they live off other creatures – in this case your cat – wherein they feed on the skin and ear wax and even suck blood. Owing to their microscopic size, you would barely be able to notice them, the only evidence of their presence being a dark-brown and crumbly build-up on the inner flap of your cat’s ear.
Life cycle of an ear mite is about three weeks after which they start mating, your cat’s ear canal serving as an ideal locale. By this you can well imagine the extent to which they can grow and form colonies within a short time if not dealt with. Difficult that it is to get rid of these parasites, their presence can lead to infection, inflammation and even loss of hearing in some case. They cause incessant itching and when the cat shakes its head vigorously in reaction, it could lead to bursting of blood vessel, thus leading to severe complications.
How Did My Cat Get Ear Mites?
Most pet owners pose this question when faced with the problem of ear mites. Fact remains that cats are particularly susceptible to ear-mite infestation and some of the possible sources are:
- Spending time outdoor, in lawns, gardens, barns and so on;
- From fellow felines, like mother cat passing ear mites to her kittens or other cats that may be playmates or companions;
- Through interacting with other animals, especially dogs, rabbits and other rodents;
- Build-up of wax in the ears over a period of time;
- Unclean ears and general lack of hygiene;
Ear Mites – Symptoms and How to Check
Presence of ear mites is manifested through several tell-tale signs which could range from simple redness to something more serious like discharge and odor. As a pet owner, you must immediately suspect an ear-mite infestation if:
- Your cat is constantly scratching its ears, shaking its head or keeping its head tilted to one side for long durations;
- Redness and inflammation in the ears, leading to increased sensitivity wherein your cat flinches at the slightest touch;
- Too much wax in the ears accompanied by a waxy secretion;
- Powdery build-up in the cat’s ears that resembles coffee grounds;
- Formation of crusts or scabs in and around the ears;
Assuming that you have noticed these symptoms, your next step should be to take a peek inside your cat’s ears by gently folding its ear flaps. You should be able to spot tiny dots immediately, but in case you don’t then take a magnifying glass and look again. At times, ear mites retreat into the ear canal; in such a situation you can swipe the inward portion of the ear with a cotton swab dipped in vegetable oil and the presence of ear mites would be revealed.
Home Remedies for Treating Ear Mites
Now that you have detected the presence of ear mites, it is time to relieve your cat off their presence and discussed as follows are some home remedies that will help you achieve this objective:
Apple Cider Vinegar Diluted in Water
Dilute Apple Cider Vinegar with equal quantity of water and you must ensure that the proportion of both liquids in the solution should be 1:1. Pour this in a spray bottle and spray it into your cat’s ears at least once a day for 10 days at a stretch.
ACV is naturally laden with a number of elements and volatile oils that are effective in eliminating parasites and fleas and impeding further growth. The only word of caution entails making sure that your cat is allergic to ACV.
Massaging organic honey on your cat’s ear for about 30 minutes every day would chase away the ear mites. However, you must ensure that the honey used is organic since processed honey is not likely to make any difference.
Garlic with Olive Oil
Chop some garlic cloves and soak them in olive oil for a day or two. Smear the mixture in and around your cat’s ears and watch as it clears away the ear mites owing to the pungent odor and soothes inflammation courtesy of its antibiotic properties.
Effective though this remedy is, it will not work on cats that have a habit of swallowing everything that they lick or are allergic to either of the two ingredients.
All you need to do is rub some Vaseline on your cat’s ears on a daily basis till it is absorbed well. Not only does it take care of the ear mite infestation but also any redness or irritation that might have been bothering your cat.
Among its multiple therapeutic properties is Aloe Vera’s ability to neutralize ear mites and prevent them from returning. You can either directly massage the Aloe Vera on to your cat’s ears or use a lotion for achieving the same results.
Usually these home remedies are effective during the initial stages of ear-mite infestation but there is always an outside chance that your kitty may not respond to any of these. In such a situation, it is time to take the pet to the vet so that the problem is stemmed before it can aggravate any further and lead to complications.