If your kitty is scratching her ears a lot and you're seeing signs of a minor mite infestation, you can try some easy home remedies for ear mites. Start by very carefully cleaning out the ear canal and then treat your cat and your home with this simple procedure. Keep in mind, if your cat's mite problem is severe, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian right away.
Home Remedies for Ear Mites
You have a few options to consider when looking for home remedies for your cat's ear mites. The best course of action is to talk to your veterinarian about them first to make sure your cat can be treated safely at home.
Over the Counter Ear Miticide
These anti-mite ear drops can be purchased at most pet stores and online. Some common brands are Hartz Ultraguard and Sentry HC Earmite Free. These products can pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide which are pesticides. These should not be used for kittens under 12 weeks of age and talk to your veterinarian before using them on elderly, sick or pregnant cats.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One natural method of killing ear mites is making a simple spray using a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water. The spray should be used twice a day for at least a week inside and around the cat's ears to get to all the infected areas. Apple cider vinegar can be effective for mild infestations as it's known to be a good anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ingredient but won't be effective for more intense ear mite growth.
Yellow Dock Root
This root has a number of medicinal properties including working as anti-inflammatory. You can make a solution of 10 drops of the extract to one tablespoon of water and apply it to the cat's ears by soaking cotton balls in it and press and hold them gently in the cat's ears so the solution coats the effected areas. This should be done for a period of two weeks every other day.
Olive and coconut oil can both be used to clear out ear mites by heating some oil so it is warm to the touch but not hot. Drop about eight to 10 drops in your cat's ears and gently massage the oil in. Some cat owners will mix in some crushed garlic with the olive oil while heating it as both the scent of the garlic and the oil are a repellant to the mites. Another oil that is used often is mineral oil, which you can use with a few drops just as the olive oil, or soak a cotton ball in mineral oil and press the balls against the insides of your cat's ears so that the area becomes saturated before removing the cotton balls.
Natural Ear Mite Remedies
You can also try some pre-prepared ear mite remedies available for sale online and through holistic pet supply stores. Ark Naturals' Ears All Right is a cleaning solution that can treat ear mites. It's made entirely from human-grade botanicals and can be used for regular ear washing as well as treating mites. The company claims the formula was created by a team of veterinarians, biochemists and scientists.
Cat Ear Mite Home Remedies You Shouldn't Use
There are many suggested remedies on the Internet that may sound like a good idea but can be harmful to your cat.
While there are pesticides available over the counter for use with mites, make sure that any that you use are specifically labeled for use with cats. Make sure that your cat is older than 12 weeks and physically healthy before using them and talk to your veterinarian first if your cat is elderly or has medical conditions like diabetes as there is potential for a negative reaction.
While hydrogen peroxide can be a safe cleaner for some types of wounds, avoid using it in your cat's ears to clear out ear mites. It can actually irritate your cat's delicate ears further and make the problem worse by drying out the skin making it more susceptible to irritation.
Avoid Ineffective Remedies
If you choose to use a home remedy or natural treatment, your best course of action is to always clear it with your veterinarian first to make sure it is safe for your cat and will actually work to get rid of the mites. Using a treatment that does nothing will just allow the mite infestation to get worse and make it harder to treat your cat as well as lead to a possible infection. You also should not use home treatments if your cat's ears are already infected, as clearing out the mites will not help the infection. Only antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian will cure an ear infection and if left untreated, this can cause serious damage to your cat's ear and possibly other organs.
Steps in Home Treatment for Ear Mites
If you've decided to treat your cat's ear mites at home and you've cleared your chosen treatment with your vet, there are some steps to follow to help get your cat's ears mite-free. Be diligent about following the steps and don't skip a treatment to make sure that the mites are completely eradicated.
1. Clean Your Cat's Ears
Once you or your vet have properly recognized ear mites as being the problem, your first step in handling this condition is to clean out your cat's ear canal. Many types of oils can be used for this procedure from mineral oil to olive or corn oils and even jojoba oil, which is often available at health food stores. Using cotton swabs and warm oil (to soften the debris), you will want to delve carefully into your cat's ear and remove as much of the dark matter as possible.
2. Use Miticide Drops
Next, you will want to pour miticide ear drops into your cat's ear canal and hold this solution in place for half a minute to a minute. Some people who are fond of natural home remedies for cat ear mites recommend using infusions of natural remedies like apple cider vinegar and yellow root extract to treat the mites, although these methods may not be as immediately effective at relieving the infestation as a miticide sold through a pet supply store. It is extremely important that cat owners focus on the most effective means of mite elimination since these pests come back quickly and with a vengeance.
3. Provide Ongoing Treatment
Ear mites lay eggs that hatch within about four days. Thus, a single application of ear drops is not enough. You must continue this process for several weeks. Moreover, mites travel all over your cat's body. During this time, you will need to bathe your cat several times with a feline flea treatment shampoo over the course of about six weeks. You can also use a monthly flea prevention product that prevents ear mites as well such as Revolution for cats.
4. Treat Other Pets
You will also need to treat any other pets in your household with the same treatment protocol since mites are highly communicable. Chances are, your other pets are also harboring these rapidly proliferating creatures.
Eliminate Ear Mites from Your Home
As if this were not enough, mites are very similar to fleas in that they can house themselves temporarily in your carpets and upholstery. You'll need to vacuum your home repeatedly to remove the mite eggs. Although mites can only survive efficiently on a host organism, they can easily lay eggs around your house. Other feline-safe extermination techniques may also be necessary for thorough pest elimination. Since mite eggs hatch after only a few days, you'll want to cleanse habitually for several weeks along with your pet treatments.
Prevention Is Key
In order to prevent an ear mite infestation from occurring on your pets, there is only one truly effective way to avoid these common creatures. You need to keep your pets indoors and away from other animals. This may involve a difficult transition period for your pets, but it will be more than worth it to avoid mites, fleas and the horde of other threats that exist for a pet in the outdoors.