Ear mites may be small but they can cause big problems for your cat. The best ear mite treatment tackles the infestation while reducing symptoms, giving your cat relief from itching and inflammation.
Because it’s affordable and effective and popular among cat owners, PetArmor Medication for Ear Mites for Cats is our top choice. Keep reading to learn more and to see our other picks.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Ear Mite Treatment for Cats
We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Before we get into the details for PetArmor Medication for Ear Mites for Cats and the rest of our top recommendations, let’s talk about ear mites in cats including what they are, how to identify them, and how to treat them.
Does Your Cat Have Ear Mites?
Cats get ear wax just like we do, but if your cats ears develop a dark, foul-smelling discharge accompanied by itching and inflammation, it could be something more.
Ear mites – also known as Otodectes cynotis – are microscopic parasites that live in and around the ears of cats. They’re barely visible to the naked eye, though you may see them as tiny white specks if you look very closely. You’re more likely to notice the symptoms of ear mites than the mites themselves.
Symptoms of ear mites include the following:
- Brown or reddish-brown discharge
- Dark, waxy crust inside or around the ears
- Foul odor coming from the ears
- Head shaking or excessive scratching
- Hair loss around the ears
Ear mites can’t hop or fly, but they can crawl and once they set up shop in your cat’s ears and start to breed, they can be difficult to eradicate.
An adult ear mite lives for about 2 months and lays eggs continuously throughout its lifespan. The eggs take about three weeks to mature to adulthood at which point they start laying eggs of their own. Not only do ear mites breed quickly, but they are very contagious and can be passed to other pets in your household. Transmission to humans, however, is incredibly rare.
Before you treat your cat for ear mites, pay a visit to your veterinarian to confirm that’s what it is. A common cat ear infection, otitis externa, is often confused for ear mites.
How Do You Get Rid of Ear Mites?
Once your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with ear mites, there are a few treatment options available. In most cases, however, treatment begins with a thorough cleaning of the cat’s ears.
When cleaning your cat’s ears, it’s a good idea to choose a high-quality ear cleaner designed specifically for that purpose. Avoid products that contain irritating ingredients like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and follow the instructions carefully.
We recommend a cat ear cleaner like Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Cats and Dogs. It’s a safe, non-irritating formula made with salicylic acid to help gently remove debris and excessive wax from the ear canal. Shake the product well then apply liberally into the cat’s ear canal. Rub the base of the ear to distribute the fluid then wipe the interior of the ear clean with cotton swab or a clean cloth.
Cleaning your cat’s ears removes anything that might prevent topical medications from reaching the mites. Veterinarians generally recommend a ear mite medicine that contains an antiparasitic like ivermectin or cat-safe insecticides like pyrethins as the active ingredient.
Remember, if you’re treating one pet in your household for ear mites, it’s best to treat all of them. Even if none of your other pets exhibit an active infection, they could transmit the mites back to your cat and restart the cycle. You may also need to repeat treatment for long-term management of ear mites.
Another option for getting rid of ear mites is to use a flea or tick medication. While many of these products aren’t labeled for ear mites, they can be an effective treatment.
Our top pick for the best over-the-counter flea medication is Sentry Fiproguard Flea and Tick Topical for Cats. Sold in 3- and 6-dose packages, this topical treatment kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice and it starts working in just 30 minutes after application. For more long-term protection, consider the Bayer Seresto Flea & Tick Collar which provides 8 continuous months of protection.
Also Read: 8 Best Flea Treatments for Cats
Our Top Picks for the Best Ear Mite Treatment for Cats
Now that you have a better understanding of what ear mites are and how to treat them, you’re probably eager to learn more about the products we recommend for treatment.
Here are our top picks for the best ear mite treatment for cats you should consider:
Ear Mites vs. Ear Infection in Cats
It’s important to properly diagnose your cat before starting any form of treatment. The trouble with ear mites is that the symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other ear infections like otitis media.
So, how do you tell the difference between an ear mite infestation and an ear infection?
First and foremost, you should know that ear infections are relatively uncommon in cats (though the same can’t be said for dogs). Ear infections are typically characterized by inflammation of the external ear canal and may be accompanied by itching, head shaking, discharge, and foul odor.
Sound familiar? Ear mites and ear infections cause similar symptoms which isn’t surprising given ear mites are a potential cause for cat ear infections.
Cat ear infections can also be caused by allergies, bacteria, yeast, or fungal infections but the most common cause is ear mites. These tiny parasites feed on the wax buildup and dead skin cells inside the ear, all the while causing significant irritation. Ear infections caused by yeast and bacteria are not contagious, but ear mites definitely are, so prompt treatment is important.
Whether your cat’s symptoms are caused by ear mites or another type of ear infection, it’s not a problem you should ignore. Not only can these issues cause significant discomfort (even pain), but the condition can worsen to the point that it causes damage to the internal structure of your cat’s ears.
It’s always worth taking your cat to the vet just to be safe. Your vet will use an otoscope to look inside your cat’s ear canal and may take samples of discharge to check for mites.
Are There Any Herbal Remedies for Ear Mites?
While pyrethrin-based ear mite medication is highly effective, some pet owners prefer more natural options. Giving your cat’s ears a good cleaning could be enough to keep minor infestations under control, but a little extra help never hurts.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in natural remedies for humans and pets alike. It is highly acidic and has natural antibacterial properties. To use apple cider vinegar for ear mites, mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and apply to your cat’s ears once or twice a day. Use just a few drops and rub the base of your cat’s ears to distribute it before wiping away the excess.
Avoid home remedies using essential oils as these can be toxic for cats. You can, however, try warming coconut oil and adding 8 to 10 drops to your cat’s ears before massaging it in.