What do I do about cat ear mites?
Ear mites are a highly contagious parasite that can easily affect your cat if it comes into contact with another animal that has them. If you have a multiple cat household and find them in one cat, it is likely that all of your cats have them - they just may not be showing symptoms.
Earmites usually cause inflammation and redness in the cat's ear, and they can cause discharge as well. If you leave the ear mites there untreated, it can lead to infection and skin diseases.
What is the treatment?
There are a number of different ways to get rid of them in cats. First, be aware that if you give your cat flea control products, some of them kill ear mites as well. Some people suggest that you can apply Frontline to the cat's ears to kill them - but that is not an intended use, and it is not the way you're supposed to apply it. I personally wouldn't risk it. However, Revolution flea control works on ear mites if you apply it like you're supposed to. It kills them through the skin and affects a number of parasites. That may be your best bet - it can get rid of them and give you added protection against other parasites as a freebie. You'll have to get a vet prescription, however.
You can also treat them specifically through prescription drugs designed to kill them and given by your vet. TopSpot Rx is one of the big brands of medication for it. Some others:
Acarexx - A medicine you apply directly to the cat's ears.
It's important to remember, though, that ear mites often live on the cat outside of the ear. They can live on the head or even on the cat's body. This means that often people apply creams and similar products just to the ear - and the mites just keep migrating back there from the body. You'll have to bathe your cat if you want to go that route.
Are there any home remedies?
A lot of people look for a home remedy for ear mites, either to save money or just because they want a natural remedy and not a chemical-based one. Some people have suggested soaking a cotton swab in mineral oil and swabbing the cat's ear. But this is only temporary - and again, the mites would just come back from the rest of the body. I looked around for awhile trying to find something that would work. There was this page advocating herbal remedies. But then the guy starts advocating chiropractic solutions to ear mites (yes, a cat chiropractor) along with acupuncture. Personally, I think you're just hurting the cat if you are going to those extremes to avoid using medicine. I also found a suggestion to use Wesson corn oil on a cotton swab here. Other suggestions for ear mite home remedies: baby oil and diatomaceous earth in the cat's ear were offered here. Again, I offer these not because I think they are a good idea, but because I think people will try them anyway. These are at least a little more credible than trying to solve an ear mite problem by sticking needles in the cat, though.
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