Dealing With Mites in your Cat

Dealing With Mites in your Cat

Recognising mites and being able to treat them is important to the health and wellbeing of your pet cat. Mites are nasty little creatures cause skin irritation and inflammation; cats will try to scratch themselves to try and get relief from the itching, which can result in deep wounds or infection.

Here, I will talk about recognising the symptoms of a mite infestation in cats and most importantly, how to get rid of them!

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

Types of Mites in Cats

The most common types of mites in cats are;

Ear Mites

Ear mites can be found on the skin of the ear canal and like to feed off ear wax and skin oils. The lifespan of an adult usually lasts two months, but they can multiply quickly. It takes just four days for eggs to hatch and a further three weeks to develop into an adult mite ready to breed. Your cat’s ears will begin to itch due to the infection, which can result in them;

  • Excessively shaking their head or scratching their ears
  • Having red and inflamed ears
  • Producing a black, dry ear discharge which sometimes gives off an unpleasant odour

Irritation in a cat’s ear can also be caused by allergies. This can often resemble an ear mites infection, so it’s critical that you get your pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis.

cat scratching ears due to mites (1)

Demodectic mites

Also referred to as demodectic mange, normally there are very small quantities of these mites on a healthy cat, but if your cat is immunosuppressed they can rapidly repopulate and result in itching, hair loss, skin inflammation, and crusting. While these mites are not considered a life-threatening, it is still important that you seek veterinary attention as soon as any of the following symptoms reveal themselves in order to minimise your cat’s discomfort and pain.

  • Crusty scabs or sores around the head, ears, and neck
  • Excessive itching and grooming
  • Signs of pain
  • Hair loss

Cheyletiella blakei mites (Walking Dandruff)

These type of mites are very contagious, especially in catteries or multi-pet households. They get their name ‘walking dandruff’ due to the way they can be seen moving around on your pet. They live on the surface of the skin, and they spend their entire 3-week life cycle on their host. Cats infected with these nasty mites are often intensely itchy which can result in unusual behavioural changes, such as excessive grooming. These mites can also cause;

  • Extreme irritation of the skin
  • Redness and sores
  • Hair Loss
senior cat being checked by vet

How to Get Rid of Mites in Cats

It is essential that your cat is examined by a vet if you suspect a mite infestation. Your vet will need to possibly perform tests to confirm the diagnosis, and determine whether any more problems have developed as a result of the mite infection. Your vet may also provide you with medicine or a spot-on to help get rid of the infestation. Mites, if left untreated, can lead to bacterial infections, swelling of the ear canal, and even deafness.

Preventing Mites

The best way to prevent your cat from becoming infested with mites is to make sure they don’t come into contact with an animal who has them. It’s, of course, not always possible to know when animal has mites, but keep an eye out if they come into contact with an unfamiliar dog or cat, and try not to come into close contact.

If you suspect your cat has mites, it is imperative they are seen by a vet so they can provide the best course of treatment.

If your cat has been treated for mites, make sure to thoroughly wash their bedding and environment, as this can help prevent re-infestation. Keep your pet away from other dogs or cats until the mite infection has disappeared.

Shop Cat Parasite Control

Share this post

You've just added this product to the cart: