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6 Home Remedies for Treating Ear Mites in Cats
Home remedies are not an alternative to professional medical advice. If your pet has a serious issue, please consult your vet immediately.
Ear mites are not a pleasant part of pet ownership. Not only for you, the mess, the expense, and the ick factor, but your cat also isn’t having a good time with them! So, whether you can’t afford the medication or don’t like the idea of putting chemicals in your cat’s ears, we have six home remedies that can help treat ear mites.
However, you should not embark on treating ear mites without consulting your vet first. Ear mites can be dangerous and highly contagious to your other pets if not treated properly.
How Do You Know If It’s Ear Mites?
We look at the signs and symptoms of ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) before getting into treating them. It’s important to be sure that your cat has ear mites and not another issue with their ears. Signs include:
If you notice these signs on your cat, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. At this time, you can discuss the options for treating the ear mites.
How Does the Vet Treat Ear Mites?
Once the vet has determined that a cat has ear mites, they will have you treat all other animals in the household as well, and you’ll need to thoroughly clean the house.
Before treating, you’ll need to clean your cat’s ears well with an ear cleaner or a natural ear cleaner that are designed for pets. This is to remove as many of the ear mites as possible before treatment. Most ear mite treatments are typically a parasiticide with the ingredient pyrethrin, which you can buy without a prescription online or at your local pet store.
You place a specific number of drops in each of your cat’s ears and massage them in. This continues for 7 to 10 days and is only repeated when necessary.
Mites and fleas tend to flock together, so your cat should be treated for fleas as well. Always double-check your cat’s tail because the tail tends to lie close to their heads and ears.
Ear mites are parasites that if left untreated, will not only cause significant discomfort for your cat but can also lead to bacterial infections and eventually, either partial or total hearing loss.
If you’re not comfortable using a parasiticide on your cat, there are a few natural or home remedies that can help eradicate those ear mites.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is well known for its many health benefits, everything from killing bacteria (the bad kind) to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure in animals.
The vinegar must be diluted with water. Put half a portion of apple cider vinegar and half of water in a spray bottle, and shake well. You want the spray feature to be gentle because you don’t want the spray to hit anything but inside their ears (especially since this area is close to the eyes).
Spray gently inside your cat’s ears once or twice a day for up to 10 days. Also, keep in mind that vinegar is high in acidity and shouldn’t be used if your cat’s scratching has caused any open sores.
Coconut and olive oil can be used to get rid of those pesky ear mites. Coconut oil is famous for many of its health benefits. It’s known for its ability to lower the risk of heart disease, aid in weight loss, and kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Olive oil helps reduce inflammation and has strong antibacterial properties.
You start by gently warming up the oil, so it’s just slightly warm to the touch. You do not want to put hot oil into your cat’s ears! Gently massage a few drops of the oil into your cat’s ears several times a day for up to 10 days.
Some people like to add garlic to the oil, but you must be careful if you choose to do this, as garlic is quite toxic for cats. If your cat manages to lick some of the garlic oil from their ears, it could make your cat ill, so proceed with caution.
Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is effective in healing minor burns and cuts and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties.
Rub some Vaseline into your cat’s ears once or twice every day until the ear mites are gone. It will help ease any itchiness and swelling, but be careful around any abrasions.
While petroleum jelly can heal minor cuts, if they aren’t cleaned out well, you’ll end up trapping dirt and bacteria in the wound, which can lead to infection.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can get rid of the ear mites and will effectively ease some of the pain and inflammation on your cat’s ears. Just rub aloe vera in your cat’s ears until the ear mite problem clears up.
5. Yellow Dock Root
Yellow dock is an herb commonly used in salads, and the oil from its roots is used in natural remedies. It is effective against inflammation and bacterial infections and contains chemicals that can help eradicate fungus, bacteria, and parasites.
Dilute about 10 drops of yellow dock root oil in 1 tablespoon of water. Dab a cotton ball in this solution, and press it gently in your cat’s ears to distribute the solution. Do this once every day until the ear mites are gone.
6. Organic Honey
Organic or raw honey is honey that has not been put through pasteurization. While this process helps preserve honey for longer shelf life, it also tends to destroy many of its health benefits. If you opt to use honey for your cat’s ear mites, you need to make sure it is raw or organic and has not been pasteurized.
Raw honey has antioxidants, can heal wounds, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It contains a natural form of hydrogen peroxide and can act as an antiseptic.
Place a cotton ball in a small amount of honey, and rub it in your cat’s ears. Let the honey sit in the ears for about 20 to 30 minutes, and then gently wipe it away with warm water. If your cat will let you, repeat this process two times a day until the mites are eradicated.
Please speak to your vet before you attempt any of these remedies! Your cat might be sensitive to some of these ingredients, and you don’t want to see your cat have a bad reaction. Not properly treating the ear mites might result in your cat being in pain and losing some or all of their hearing.
Remember to thoroughly clean your cat’s ears with an ear cleaner meant for cats before you start any treatment. You don’t want to trap any dirt or bacteria underneath the ingredient, which will only cause further ear irritation. Your cat’s happiness and health are the most important things here.
Featured Image Credit: Todorean-Gabriel, Shutterstock
Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she’s not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.