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How to Tell If Your Cat Has Ear Mites

Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by admin

Do you think your cat may have ear mites? Ear mites are a common issue in cats, and they can cause a lot of discomfort. In this article we’ll break down the signs and symptoms of ear mites so that you can tell if your cat has them. We’ll also provide tips on how to get rid of these pesky critters. Read on to learn more!

If you are concerned that your cat may have ear mites, you should look for a few key signs. Your cat may scratch or paw at its ears, or you may notice dark, dry discharge coming from the affected ear. The area around the ear may also be dirty and red, and you may even see a black or brown ear secretion. Hair loss or irritation around the ears is another potential sign of ear mite infestation. If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Excessive Ear Scratching

One of the more common signs that your cat might have ear mites is excessive scratching of the ears. If you notice your cat constantly scratching and shaking their head, this could be a sign that they have ear mites. The itching caused by the mites can be very uncomfortable for your cat, so it’s important to take them to the vet for a diagnosis if you suspect they may have ear mites. In addition to excessive scratching, you may also notice dirt and redness in the ear, as well as hair loss around the ears due to the itching or self-grooming. Furthermore, cats bugged by ear mites may shake their head or keep their head tilted at an angle—almost like they’re trying to alleviate the discomfort. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to take your cat to the vet for a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Visible Dirt and Redness in the Ear

If you notice dirt or redness in your cat’s ears, it could be a sign of mites. Gently fold back the outer ear and peek into the ear canal. If healthy, it will be pale pink in color, and have no odor, debris, and little to no wax. However, if there is an infection present, the inner ear may be red and inflamed with a dark wax or debris. This could indicate the presence of mites.

Hair Loss Around the Ears

If your cat has ear mites, you may notice hair loss around the ears and on the head. The mites can cause severe itching and hair loss due to irritation. This results in the cat losing hair on the ears and head. Note that hair loss can also be a sign of other skin conditions, so it is best to take your feline friend to a vet for diagnosis.


If your feline friend is shaking their head more than usual, it could be a sign of ear mites. Head shaking usually indicates a problem with the ears, so if you have noticed your cat shaking their head more than normal, it could be a good idea to book an appointment with your vet to rule out ear mites and other potential issues. Ear mites can cause several of these symptoms including a black discharge, scratching and head shaking, so it’s better to get it checked out as soon as possible. However, ear mite infections generally occur in kittens and cats that are not spayed or neutered, so make sure to get your kitty fixed to reduce the risk of infection.

Black or Brown Ear Secretions

If you notice your cat has an excessive amount of wax in their ears, it could be a sign of ear mites. Mites stimulate the wax producing glands inside the ear canal and create a black, crusty build-up that resembles coffee grounds. Different from healthy cats, the ears of cats with ear mites will have a dark brown to black ear discharge. This is often described as tiny coffee ground material and is an indication that your cat has an ear mite infection and needs to be treated by your vet.

Inflammation and Swelling of the Ear Canal

If your cat is showing signs of inflammation and swelling in the ear canal, it could be a sign of ear mites. This is often accompanied by redness and sensitivity. The vet will examine your cat’s ear canal for any signs of mites using an otoscope, and look for signs of inflammation, swelling, and discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your cat to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Discharge in the Ears

In addition to the other signs of ear mites, you may also notice a dry, crumbly, black or red-brown discharge in the ear canal. This is one of the most definitive signs that your cat has an ear mite infestation and is what will be seen under the microscope when it comes to diagnosis. If the mites have spread to other parts of your cat’s body, you may also notice skin crusting.

Visiting the Vet for Treatment Options

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above, visit the vet. Your vet will ask for your cat’s medical history and perform a physical examination. If your cat is diagnosed with ear mites, the vet will likely prescribe anti-parasitic medication to kill off the mites. Your vet may also suggest returning in a week or two to ensure the mites are gone and that further treatment is not necessary. Stay on top of your cat’s ear health care, so be sure to keep an eye out for any future signs of ear mites.

Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears Regularly

Cleaning your cat’s ears regularly is key to preventing any further ear mite issues. Not only can regular cleaning help prevent infection, but it also helps to reduce any discomfort your cat may be experiencing. Soak a cotton pad with feline ear cleaner and gently rub it along the inside of the ear and around the outside too. Make sure that you check both of their ears and be on the lookout for any indicators that your cat may have an ear infection such as discharge or a strange odor. Timely ear cleaning can help reduce any discomfort your cat may be feeling and will help keep their ears clean and healthy.

Keeping an Eye out for Future Symptoms

keep an eye out for any future symptoms that may indicate your cat has ear mites. These can include intense scratching and rubbing of the ears, thick black or brown earwax, scratches or scabs near the ear, a foul odor, head shaking and hair loss. In order to determine whether your cat has ear mites or not, it is best to take them to the vet. Your vet may be able to see the mites during an ear exam or they may need to take a swab and look at it under a microscope to confirm. Whichever method is used, get treated as soon as possible so your cat can avoid discomfort.