Itchy ears can be a problem for some cats and ear mites could be the cause. Here are some facts that will help you understand what this parasite is all about.
What is an ear mite?
The ear mite is a cousin to other mites and to ticks. Their life cycle is very similar to that of ticks. Their full life cycle from egg to adult lasts about 3 weeks, which means new egg-laying is constant and overall population growth can increase quickly.
Effects and transmission
Ear mites are almost microscopic and live primarily in the cat’s ear canal. Inside an infected ear, thousands of mites are crawling over a black mass of mites, mite eggs, dead mites, ear wax, dried blood and other debris. This condition is extremely itchy for your cat and the constant scratching can sometimes lead to the point of damaging the ear flap, the skin surrounding the ear, and even the inside of the ear. Occasionally, your cat may get a bacterial infection on top of his ear mite infection.
Ear mites can also be found on the outside of the body, around the neck, rump and tail. Ear mites are easily transmitted from animal to animal. Kittens can become infected early in life from an infected mother when the kitten’s ears open at about 10 days of age and can also be passed from an infected pet to other adult pets.