Ear mites are tiny creatures that like to live in the ears of cats. The ear is a warm, cozy home for them, but their presence will cause lots of irritation and distress to your cat. It is important to treat ear mites right away to prevent permanent damage to your pet's hearing.
Ear Mites Explained
Although they can be found elsewhere on your cat's body, ear mites generally live inside the outer ear or the ear canal. They flourish in areas where it is warm, moist, and has limited air flow. They are parasites that look similar to little spiders and live off the dead skin and ear wax in their host's ear.
Since they cause great discomfort to your cat, your cat will show several outward signs of an infestation. Your cat will experience intense itching and will scratch his ears a lot. He may also shake his head from side to side. As the infestation progresses, the cat's ears may lay back. He may cry in pain when scratching or when you touch him. An odor is also common. Physically, inside the ear, you will be able to see what looks like flecks of dark red or black flecks. This is dried blood. You can also see tiny white dots moving around which are the ear mites.
Effects of Ear Mites
Aside from the discomfort the ear mites will cause your pet, there are some other things of which you should be aware. If the mites are left untreated, they can cause serious and permanent hearing damage to your cat. Other infections can set in due to the decreased immune system. Your cat may develop bacterial or yeast infections. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a cat that experiences his ear lying back, may never hold the ear up right again.
There are many medications or treatments you can purchase from your local pet store or that can be prescribed by a vet. There are, however, some home remedies, too. With all of these remedies, you will add three to five drops of the treatment to your cat's ear. Then, gently massage the base of the ear to work the treatment in. You should use a cotton ball to lightly wipe away any excess fluids or debris that is brought out. Be aware your cat will be sensitive because of the irritation it has endured. With each of these treatment options, you should repeat it daily for a month's time. Before beginning any at-home treatment, you should discuss the options with your vet.
Green tea naturally cleans and kills germs. It will also help remove the blood flecks and other droppings left by the mites.
After you have cleaned your cat's ear with the green tea treatment, it is time to kill the mites themselves. Use of oil, such as mineral oil or olive oil, will kill them by suffocation. It also prevents them from getting the food they need to survive. Tree oils are dangerous for your pet and should be avoided.
If you are fighting a serious infestation, you can add three crushed garlic cloves to the oil you have chosen and leave them to soak overnight. Before putting the oil in the cat's ear, you should remove and discard the garlic cloves. The garlic destroys bacteria that are known to cause ear infections.
Since an infestation can lower your pet's immune system, she will be more susceptible to another attack. Giving her echinacea can help. Echinacea is a ground up flower that humans or animals can take to boost the immune system, and a stronger immune system makes survival harder for the mites. You can find it at your health food stores. The liquid form makes dosing easier. Give your your cat 15 to 30 drops of it, depending on your cat's size, three times a day. If you have difficulty administering the liquid, it can be added to a bit of canned food. Do not exceed six weeks of echinacea treatment at a time since it will lose its effectiveness. You can also help your cat by feeding it healthier food. Your vet can recommend high-quality, natural diets that will protect your pet not just from ear mites but from other feline diseases.