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Sound Advice on Cat Ear Mites

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/2/2008 | Pets and Animals
Ear mite infestation is not an unusual issue in cats. Since the ears are one of the more susceptible parts of a cat, this causes them to be predisposed to ear mite infestation. Typically, discarded cats and juvenile cats are more afflicted by mites than healthy mature cats who are slightly more resistive to them. Whenever they are present, a cat may be plagued with possibly hundreds or thousand of ear mites.

Ear mites are transmitted with ease by close contact among pets. So you can expect that if one of your cats have contracted them, it is likely that the mites have or will spread to your other cats. As a result, a mother cat is able to infect easily her litter of kittens. Consequently, it is important to treat each animal in the home for ear mites.

If an appropriate remedy is administered at the first sign of ear mites, their presence does not have to be a huge crisis. The trouble lies once the condition is allowed to continue to where a resulting bacterial or yeast infection occurs. Ear mites will not normally rupture the eardrum, but with a serious secondary infection it could cause a rupture or other problems. A serious case of mites therefore will need a good cleansing of the ears by a veterinarian.

Cat ear mites are white microscopic organisms that are scarcely discernible with the eye. Otodectes are the type of feline ear mites mainly found inhabiting the ear. What is worse is that the mites are not only confined to inhabiting the ear canal of cats. They are capable of scattering to various regions of the feline body. Ear mites will not dig down and nestle into the skin like some ticks. Instead the mites travel inside the ear and live off skin and discharge leaving the ear lining sore. To protect the cat's ear, the biological reaction is to create additional earwax.

It is helpful to know the four different developmental stages of these mites when attempting to rid them from a suffering kitty. The stages require three weeks to complete, beginning as an egg and ending as a full-grown adult. The first stage is as an egg. Stage two is when the larvae emerge four days after being laid. The larvae will nourish themselves for a while, eventually molting into stage three, the nymph. The nymph stage contains two sub-stages, the protonymph and then the deutonymph. Each sub-stage consists of a phase of feeding with a period during which they molt. Throughout the deutonymph sub-stage the nymph does not have a gender, even so it will actually breed with a mature male. Then should it evolve into a female, she will already possess eggs and begin laying them. Otherwise if it turns into a male, he will merely breed with other deutonymphs. The final stage is the adult, which survives about another 60 days. During her lifetime, an adult female might deposit eggs in the cat's ear every day starting the whole process over and over.

Since mites are difficult to see, how do you know if your cat has them? A few of the symptoms your cat may display are head shaking or fervent scratching of its ears. Inspecting the ears may prove to find reddish brown waste matter that looks like coffee grounds left by the mites. There may also be a foul smell. An experiment you can try is to prompt a reflex by massaging near the cat's ear that stimulates scratching actions with its rear legs. This rarely happens in uninfected cats. Astonishingly, there are cats that will not demonstrate any discernible evidence of irritation or pain, so a veterinarian may need to do a more thorough examination.

Today eradicating cat ear mites does not have to be an overwhelming challenge. Routine cleansing of the ears will help in controlling mites. Your veterinarian is able to prescribe or recommend various treatments. Some will kill the mite eggs. There are monthly topical remedies to wipe out mites on the feline body too. It is wise to have your other pets examined by your vet also and have them undergo the treatment that he suggests.

Understanding the dangers of permitting mites to establish an infestation makes managing mites a significant factor of cat care to the responsible cat owner. Observing your cat and looking out for any telltale symptoms should help alert you to an infestation. Developing proper grooming habits by devoting additional tending to your cat's ears will help in eliminating mites.

Disclaimer - Information in this article is just for educational or entertainment purposes only. It does not distribute medical or expert counsel, nor does it recommend any action, tactic or remedy that should be tried without the recommendation of a professional. Information changes constantly, therefore what was considered appropriate yesterday, may no longer be true today.