Why Is Your Cat Always Scratching At His Ears?

Posted on: 2 August 2016

Does your cat always seem to be itching his ears with his paws or shaking his head? He may yowl or meow a bit as he does this. Frequent ear itching in cats is usually caused by ear mites. Here's a closer look at this condition and how to address it.

What are ear mites?

Ear mites are tiny parasites that take up residence in cats' ears. They live mostly in the outer and middle ear canal, where they bite the ears and feed on the blood that emerges. Ear mites only live for a few weeks, but they lay their eggs and live their entire life cycle within your cat's ears. These tiny parasites cannot be seen with the naked eye.

How do cats get ear mites?

The mites are spread from cat to cat by physical contact. If your cat rubs up against another cat with ear mites, he or she may contract them, too. The mites may also be passed on if your cat uses another cat's bedding, cage or other items. Ear mites are common in cats who have been adopted from shelters or kept at a kennel since they are passed easily from cat to cat in these facilities.

What are the other signs of ear mites?

In addition to making your cat's ears itchy, ear mites cause a characteristic brown discharge to build up in your cat's ears. If you peek inside your cat's ear and see some brown gunk that looks like coffee grounds, your cat has ear mites. In some cases, the cat's ears may smell and your cat may experience some hair loss around the ears.

How are ear mites diagnosed and treated?

Your vet will likely take a swab of your cat's ear and look at it under the microscope in order to confirm that ear mites are indeed causing your cat's problems. Then, they will rinse your cat's ears out with a special solution before applying a special insecticide to kill the mites. You'll probably be sent home with an additional dose or two of the insecticide. You'll need to apply it (simply by squeezing it into your cat's ears) a week or two after the vet appointment, depending on your vet's instruction.

If your cat is always itching his ears, there's a good chance ear mites are to blame. Schedule an appointment with your vet, and start treating the problem today. To learn more, visit a website like http://www.1stPetVet.com