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Ear Mites in Cats – Easy Treatment, Plus Common Questions

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Ear mites in cats are quite common for cats that spend time outside. Since most of our kitties adopted us after living outside or in a barn, they still want outside time. They are also working cats, patrolling the garden and orchards for rodents.

cat with ear mites

There are commercial earmite control products available, or you can get your vet to clean kitty's ears.

Because cats put everything they groom/lick into their mouths, I wanted to use a non-toxic ear mite control instead of a pesticide. I cleared this technique with our vet. She said that coconut oil or olive oil are both safe to use.

How Do Cats Get Ear Mites?

Cats typically pick up ear mites from contact with other animals, including other cats, dogs, rabbits and rodents. Mother cats may pass them on to their kittens.

There are several species of mites, with the most common being Otodectes cynotis.

Mites can survive for a short time off of the animals, so they may be spread through bedding, carpets and other soft surfaces. Some species of mites may also spread outside the ears, causing patches of skin irritation.

When you treat you pet for ear mites, try to clean their primary areas at the same time. I cover our kitties' favorite hang out spots in old blankets that I can throw in the wash.

You can also thoroughly vacuum and wipe down items that can't go in the washer (like cat trees), and set them out in the sun for a day or so to help kill off the mites.

How Do I Know if My Cat Has Ear Mites?

Mites are tiny, barely visible to the naked eye. They chow down on the wax and oils in kitty's ears.

Though the mites themselves are hard to see, what you can see is, well… mite poop. They leave behind dark debris that looks something like sticky coffee grounds.

If it gets bad enough, the mite infestation may completely clog the ear canal with debris, and/or lead to ear inflammation or infection.

With some cats, you may notice excessive exterior ear grooming, leading to hair loss on the back of the ears.

ear mite hair loss
This is Roger, who has very fine fur and is prone to groom excessively. His ears went from “normal” to “half naked” in about a day.

Other symptoms you may notice:

  • Smelly ears
  • Head shaking
  • Dark, waxy ear goobers
  • Pink and swollen interior of ear
  • Scratches or scabs near the ear
cat ear close-up
Note the dark brown waxy looking deposits (ear goobers) inside the ear.

Can Humans Get Ear Mites from Their Cats?

Thankfully, ear mite infestations in humans are very rare. It's still a good idea to keep your ears clean, and don't encourage kitty to lick you due to risk of cat scratch fever transmission.

Cat scratch fever, unlike the name implies, does not need to be spread by scratching. It can also be spread by licking.

Learn more at Cat Scratch Fever – Why You Should Never Let Your Cat Lick Your Face.

Dogs and other pets may be susceptible to mites, so make sure to check all furry pets and thoroughly clean surfaces.

Ear Mites in Cats – Easy Treatment with Coconut Oil

To use coconut oil to clean and remove ear mites in cats, first make sure your oil is in liquid form. The melting point of coconut oil is around 75°F, so in summer your oil may be liquid without heating.

You can also use fractionated coconut oil, or gently heat the oil. I heat up less than a tablespoon, and that's more than enough to do 3-4 cats.

Make sure the oil is warm, not hot. Kitty's safety is a priority.

To make it easier to handle your cat, you may wrap the kitty tightly in an old towel, tucking in paws and claws. We call this the “kitty burrito”.

Use a small syringe to squirt a little oil into the ear canal. Never force anything deep into the canal.

Gently massage the ear area to work the coconut oil into the mites and debris. Use a cotton ball or cotton swab to wipe the debris and mites from the ear. Again, never force anything into the ear.

Be extra careful if using swabs, because the cat may get annoyed at having their ears touched and shake their heads aggressively. You don't want the swab to poke too deep into the ear.

Once visible debris is removed, make sure to give kitty lots of love before releasing. Repeat in 5-7 days for bad infestations, or any time you notice your cat grooming their ears excessively.

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and and antifungal, so it will also help to heal and soothe any scratches in the ear.

If Your Cat's Ears Look Very Sore or the Mites Don't Respond to Treatment

If your cats ears are very red or sore, please take them to a vet, as there are some other conditions with symptoms similar to ear mite infestation.

With a typical ear mite infestation, there is usually some debris, and the ears may be a little pink. If kitty appears to be in significant pain, seek professional help.

cat with ear mites

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87 Comments

  1. I have been using Coconut Oil for all of my cats ear mites. I do not take them to ANY vet for that. No need. I do it myself and the results work. Why put a chemical in their ear? Why pay a vet when you can do it yourself? I also use another jar of Coconut Oil on my own body, face, and hair. Another thing I do with Coconut Oil is put a little bit on their paws. They lick it off and it is really beneficial for their mouth, bad breath, and dental problems. Coconut Oil is a staple in my home as well as Apple Cider Vinegar. Yes, I put a tiny bit in their water, too. It takes care of fleas!

    1. I’m with you, Patsy, which is why I put up the post. We feed our cats small amounts of coconut oil, too, and I also use it for personal care on my skin and for oil pulling. Why make things more complicated and expensive than they need to be?

      1. I know this is an older post but i just rescued a kitten and if I don’t have to right now I’d like to avoid a big vet bill! I’m sure this baby has ear mites. She’s 8 weeks old and weights 1.5 lbs. she’s tiny. Wanted to ask if this remedy is safe for little ones.

        1. Yes, it should be fine, as the coconut oil is non-toxic. Just make sure not to use too much, only as much as you need to clean, as larger amounts may cause loose stools.

    2. I love coconut oil and I use it daily, it’s nice to learn of more uses!! Thank you for the additional recommendations. I have a cat with bad skin allergies and I tried to put coconut oil in her food but she won’t eat it. I will definitely be trying the paw trick and the ACV in their water!

    3. Wow! Thanks!!! I’m looking to stop excessive grooming of her entire body…..she’s a rescue who was left for weeks without Dad or Mom being home….and is very needy. The vet was convinced it was fleas, but she’s got a good flea repellent, and the other two don’t have very many, if any. They are all inside cats. I’ve tried a calming collar (didn’t help), and neem powder, and I’m just stumped. The vet’s been no help. She won’t take pills…..she’s skitter, too. Any ideas? I like the sardines thing….that’s easy….she loves fish!
      Any help would be GRATEFULLY accepted!

        1. Hello everyone!

          Please, please do research on the dangers of grain-free dry cat food! Peas, potatoes, lentils and legumes are dangerous for cats (my friend learned the hard way). There are many, many complaints filed from people who lost their precious healthy cats and dogs because of
          grain-free food (including well known brands). Also any indoor cats need to have wet food daily (along with the dry food). Take care!

      1. I had a female cat which over-groomed. I changed her diet to grain-free which eliminated the problem.
        I had a male cat which over-groomed areas under both front armpit areas to the point of bleeding. I tried everything. This went on for over a year. We did an x-ray when he started to fail. The areas he was over-grooming showed bone tumors, as well as tumors in the abdomen.
        It helps to search for the cause.

      2. My cat also grooms to the point of bleeding and we have tried really good cat food and the 70.00 flea collar i do see some dirty ears and head shaking so im trying olive oil cause thats what i have right now. I do believe he was left or taken away from mama to early. Idk what else to do for him. He also has litter issues where he wont use it all the time and wont use scented at all.

        1. Olive oil is fine if that’s what you have on hand. No scented cat litter. Kitties have very sensitive noses. Make sure litter box is cleaned promptly. You may want to try different types of litter to see if he prefers one over another. Avoid clay litter because the dust is hard on your cat. (Both breathing it and licking it are a problem.) We’ve been using a walnut shell based litter and all the cats like it. It’s also good for odor control. (Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh)

          I’m not a fan of flea collars. They are poison. More on flea collars at http://www.our-happy-cat.com/cat-flea-collars.html.

          You may want to consider Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets. We’ve added it to the kitty water when the cats are stressed.

          Study kitty’s behavior. Is the excessive grooming worse at some times more than others? Does kitty get enough play time and cuddle time? Is kitty bored? I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but the TV show My Cat From Hell is actually a great resource for analyzing cat behavior and working with kitty to help kitty become happy and healthy.

        2. It may sound funny, but I taught my kitty to make a toilet for a litter box in a peculiar way. My kitten initially peed in the basket in which she was sitting, so I put this material on the edge of the litter box so that she could feel her urine. Of course, I put the litter box in the bathroom. When I was going with my own needs, I would take the cat and put it in the litter box. At first she left the litter box, but after a while, listening to what I was doing, she returned to the litter box and made her own need. Then I took the material I had put in there and washed it. However, I always took my cat with me to the toilet, whenever I was going. This is the way my cat remembers this moment and the place where she has to go to fulfill her need and she walks alone to the litter box, which is still standing in the toilet. You just have to be methodical with our pets. Just as we want to teach our child something, we have to show it first. This is also how animals learn. If the baby – a kitten or a puppy was taken too early from his mother, she/he has no clue how to perform basic activities. Inclusion with ear washing. Some pets do many things instinctively, but not all of them have such a strong instinct and not all are smart enough to be able to do everything from the first shot, so it’s our job to help them do that.
          That’s it for this topic. I hope you find my information helpful.
          PS. For fleas, just stick a few cloves in the collar, it will effectively scare away insects.

      3. There we’re almost 50-60 fleas in my kitten the only way to destroy them is give him a injection which makes him sleep for three hours at least, then do group work like 2-3 people on him/her to clean up the fleas. Before killing fleas put an 2*2 size white cloth around ur kitten

    4. I applied coconut oil in a syringe to my cats ears last night, massaged in let him shake and then cleaned out debris with some cotton wool balls. He is still shaking his head/ears today when should I put more coconut oil in his ears if at all just wondering how long it takes before you see results? He seems fine in himself just still trying to scratch inside of his ears bless him. I also have organic apple cider vinegar in the house I could try would love to hear from you. Thank you chris.

      1. There will be residual irritation for a couple of days, but it should get better over time, not worse. It won’t hurt to treat again, but I usually wait a week and see how things are going. Recovery time varies from cat to cat, depending on the severity of the infestation and their personal tolerance to the mites.

    5. Hi Laurie, does apple cider vinegar really get rid of fleas? last year I had a horrible problem and the only thing that handled it was giving my cat medication. She ended up throwing up three times and was depressed after so I don’t want to give her the medication again but I am really worried about fleas. Last year they infested our bed, couch, carpet, etc.
      Any advice would be wonderful.

      1. Like most natural treatments, apple cider isn’t something you just apply once and it kills everything. What it does do is make your pet less appealing to fleas. You can use it in your cat’s water, in a bath, or as a spray. In combination with thoroughly cleaning her areas as well as you can, this should help reduce the risk of flea infestation and get rid of them if they do show up, but it will take time.

        For a natural flea spray, you can mix equal parts of ACV and water on a spray bottle. To add it to her water, try just a small amount, and always offer some water without ACV.

      2. Bit of a necro post but you should also try using a cat flea comb. You need a bowl of hot water, i use a clear plastic one so i can see the results of my work, IE dead fleas!, and use dawn dishsoap to make some suds as they help kill the fleas as well. You comb the cat, quickly dip comb in the water solution and repeat. It picks up eggs and fleas and sometimes the larvae. You can lift the bowl up and see them floating in the bottom if you hold it up to the light. Use a comb even if you use a good flea remedy as you can get them off the pet before they jump onto your bed,couch, rugs etc. Flea remedy’s are not insta death and the fleas can lay eggs or jump off before they croak.

      3. There we’re almost 50-60 fleas in my kitten the only way to destroy them is give him a injection which makes him sleep for three hours at least, then do group work like 2-3 people on him/her to clean up the fleas. Before killing fleas put an 2*2 size white cloth around ur kitten

    6. What is the percentage of apple cider vinegar to the water percentage that you put into their drinking water?

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the ear mite video. That was very helpful. I think I’ll try this on my dog whom has some symptoms of ear mites. Big ears without protective fur covering. Thank you again.

  3. Hi,

    I don’t have a kitty but i thought the information was well researched and very helpful. Keep up the great work.

    P.S. Do you know what they call the student of medicine at the bottom of the class? … Doctor

    BTW a degree or deploma is only an expensive piece of paper.

  4. I don’t, at present, have a kitty but I use natural remedies for cleaning my dogs ears. I didn’t go to veterinary school, but know many friends who did. They have no problem with what I use. Thank you for posting this remedy for kitty ear mites. It’s a good one, Laurie!

  5. I too use virgin coconut oil for so many things. I don’t have a kitty but I do use it in my dogs ears & on her paws – I do have a question. I have always used apple cider vineger & again for just my general health, I am carrying on my mothers teachings in use of a few her remdedys using the apple cider vinegar, usually get it from a Whole Foods store. Braggart brand. U can see the mother in , well yesterday I saw a smaller sized bottle with Braggs Label , I was thrilled. A smaller bottle size & Braggs to but then I became quickly dissapointed. It said it had peach flavor, strawberry flavor, something I can’t even think of what other flavor was. I put it back on shelf I had never saw it in flavord before & smaller bottles. But as u looked in bottle the mother ( if ) that was what it even was. Very little of it, but the mother did not look right either. I can go back to that store a grocery local store to send you. But it did have Bragg label on it. Have you ever knew of Braggs putting out flavord ? Plus the mother looked like coffee griounds- do u know of this being put out by Braggs ? Thx (. Rose Hardin)

    1. Hi Rose.

      Apple cider vinegar has a long list of uses for many ailments. I have it in many of the home remedies posts.

      I did a little research on the Bragg’s product line, and they now have a line of flavored drinks with cider vinegar in them to make it more appealing for people who don’t like vinegar to drink their vinegar. One of the ones I found on amazon is Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Grape Acai flavor. The ingredients are: Pure distilled water, organic concord grape juice, Bragg organic apple cider vinegar, organic acai juice and organic stevia extract.

      I’m guessing what you saw that looked like coffee grounds may have been the herbs? That would seem to be the most likely option.

    2. I work at a grocery store and promote Braggs to a lot of people from what I’ve learned from its great health benefits for people and animals.Never read or heard anything bad.Braggs does make a drink that we have at my store that you can drink straight without dilution.Possibly that might be what you were looking at.I think they gota few different flavors.As far as the regular Braggs you never want to drink it straight without dilution in water it can damage your intestines as well as your teeth and esophagus!I hope this helps

  6. My vet believed in using Mazola corn oil for ear mites, and when possible having the pet owner clean them out to save a trip to the vet and not using chemical products. I learned a lot working with her.

    1. That’s all it is all GMO don’t give it to your kids of any breed. And don’t give them any money by purchasing toxic insidious crap.

    2. Hi Tricia, how much oil per treatment? Do you have to warm it? And how often and low long for the oil to rid my cat of the ear mites? Thanks much.

      1. Whatever oil you use, you only need a small amount. A teaspoon should be more than enough for one cat. It’s best to warm the oil for the cat’s comfort, but not absolutely essential.

        Repeat in 5-7 days for bad infestations, or any time you notice your cat grooming their ears excessively. Mites are a natural part of the environment, so cats are likely to get them again.

  7. I love Common Sense Homesteading. Thank you Laurie for bringing all this wonderful information to us. I have learned so much from you.

  8. Applying essential oils like lavender, almond, & vitamin e on cats ear canal is a beast and natural method to get rid of ear mites in cats.

  9. Laurie. I need to know which coconut oil to use. I found a all organic in the hair products or the one you cook with. The one for hair says pure coconut oil. But for external use only. Please let know. I’m confused. Thanks

      1. I have a bottle of Carrington Farms Coconut cooking oil that’s unflavored and odorless in liquid form. I see no reference on the bottle it is virgin coconut oil as the ingredients say: coconut oil only. Will this work for ear mites in cats or is another type recommended instead ?

        1. Any sort of coconut oil is fine. Our cats like to eat the refined coconut oil (the flavorless type). I use it for skin care and they kept trying to jump on the bathroom counter and eat it, so I let them have a dab each day.

  10. Hi Laurie, thanks for this info on ear mites. I’m interested in feeding my kitty duck to help with shedding, I got a duck and plan on boiling it with a few vegetables like carrots and potatoes, maybe celery. But how much should I give her daily? Thanks for your help. Janet

    1. If you’re looking for the best option for kitty health, raw meat is better for health. Bone and chop the meat, finely chop and freeze in quarter cup size portions.

      How much you should feed your cat depends on your cat’s size, age and activity levels. Most cats will self-regulate their eating. If you have a cat who overeats, then you can reduce their portions. When feeding raw or fresh cooked food, always serve small enough portions that kitty can finish it in one sitting, so it’s not sitting around.

      1. And of course you properly balance it with organ and bone if you are feeding this as more than 10% of the cat’s diet.

  11. Hi Laurie, thank you so much for this! I heard that the earmite’s life circle is 3 weeks so I have to do this everyday for 3 weeks.. Is it true? My Kitt doesn’t have ear wax but does did scratch himself silly like Roger in the picture

    1. I think your kitty might hate you if you cleaned his ears every day. The oil coats the surface of the ear, smothering the mites, so once a week should be fine, even if there’s a bad infestation. Roger improved dramatically after just one treatment, but we did also give him herbal dewormer and improved his diet.

      The mites are always around in the environment, so reinfestation is likely. We watch for visible build up in the ears, any signs of irritation or excess ear scratching from kitty, or unusual head shaking.

  12. 4am Just woke up to my dogs excessive head shaking he was doing every 5 mins. Looked in his ears and his right ear was a slimy gooey waxey mess and irritated :,( I immediately cleaned it out with a gentle ear solution until the cotton balls came out clean. Then I researched if coconut oil would help soothe the pink/reddish canal. Landed on your site, and squirted some warm coconut oil in and massaged it. Questions I have is
    -if reinfestation is possible do I need to wash his bedding and wipe down the wall and edge of our bed frame where he sleeps? Vacuuming the area will be done in the morning cause that happens 2-3 times a week for the pet hair. -and do you recommend adding coconut oil to his other ear which is totally fine to prevent that ear from getting infected?

    1. Reinfestation is likely at some point. Where there are pets, there are things that like to nibble on pets. Cleaning up the areas where he regularly hangs out should make reinfestation less likely, but nothing is 100%.

      It wouldn’t hurt to treat the other ear if he’s cooperative, since coconut oil is moisturizing and soothing, even if there are no mites.

  13. My cat Taco is an outside cat and I think he has ear mites. There’s this yellowish pus-like stuff in the bottom of his ears. What is that and is it sad to treat with coconut oil?

    1. I can’t tell for sure what’s going on just from the description. We’re seen a little earwax, brown and black crusty bits, but nothing that resembled pus. It’s probably best to take him in to the vet and get a professional opinion and cleaning so he doesn’t end up with hearing loss, in case there is a more serious issue.

  14. Ear mites are so easy to cure but so painful to our furr babies. God bless you and your care of His creatures. Your willingness to share your sound knowledge with other animal lovers is pure love. If we all do this, we complete His love.
    I know you get no money out of this so it’s extra special of you.

  15. I have five cats one i just took in a little over a month ago and he had ear mites we took him to the vet they gave him revolution which didnot work at all and the rest of my cats now also have ear mites. It’s been a nightmare for them and for me. I decided to try the coconut oil. They are still scratching but not as much. Then I read on another site that there’s no evidence to prove coconut oil actually kills the mites, yet it’s supposed to smother them. Also I am confused on how many times a day to treat with it as there are so many different methods being told. The one vet i watched on utube recommend 2 times a day for 7 days then stop for 7 days then repeat again for 7 days because of the mites 21 day life cycle. I am just soo confused and I just want my cats to feel better, I hate seeing them like this!!

    1. Coconut oil is not a pesticide, so no, it won’t kill the mites by poisoning – or poison your cat. The goal with the coconut oil is to coat and smother the mites and eggs. Coconut oil is also naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and soothes and moisturizes the skin. When we groom our girl, we tell her it’s time for her spa treatment. I don’t think she believes us, but she does appreciate clean ears. The internet, being the internet, is guaranteed to suggest dozens of ways to accomplish a goal. Don’t worry too much about it, just figure out which way works best for you and your kitty crew.

      If your cats are all inside cats, and the odds are low that they will be reinfected, then it may be worth your effort to treat more heavily in hopes of completely eliminating them from the household. 2 times a day for 7 days, with a week off and then a repeat seems excessive. I know our cats would be upset with that much time spent messing with their ears, plus the oil coats the ears. It doesn’t wear off immediately. Maybe twice a week for a month, at maximum? This would get you well past the 21 day window. Once a week for a month would be easier to manage, and should give pretty good coverage. Make sure to wash all their bedding and other soft surfaces that they are in contact with, if possible. (The mites can survive on soft surfaces for a time.)

      In our case, I monitor for signs of irritation and keep an eye on their ears. If there’s extra grooming, or their ears look unclean, it’s time for treatment. Our cats do go outside to keep down mice in the gardens, and the neighbor barn cats come right up on the porch to visit, so risk of exposure is high.

      Remember, never stick anything deep into the ear, just like cleaning human ears. You don’t want to stuff the wax in deeper or damage the ear drum. Treat only the visible surfaces. The oil will loosen deeper deposits, and kitty’s grooming should help bring them out where they can be wiped off.

  16. Where do you let your cat shake it off? My gal is an indoor cat I treated her in her carrier with coconut oil then she shaked inside of it. I’ll be washing that thoroughly with an organic cleanser..I don’t know if it will kill mites in her carrier ? What do you suggest I use to clean It?? Will vinegar work to kill mites? And another question I have is when do I treat her again?

    1. You should be using only a small amount of oil, so there shouldn’t be more than a few drops that kitty will shake off. I heat up a spoonful because I am normally treating more than one cat at a time, and it makes it easier to fill the syringe, but I only use about 1/4 teaspoon or a little less per ear. Most of that will be wiped off while you are cleaning.

      If you get done cleaning and there’s so much oil around the ears that it looks like kitty had a bath, you’re using more oil than you need. I don’t worry about isolating kitty after treatment, because there’s next to nothing being spread around. They normally find one of their favorite grooming spots and tidy themselves up. Any mites that are shed should be covered in coconut oil, which will smother them.

      If you’re still concerned, or accidentally used too much oil and ended up with a mess, wash hard surfaces with a citrus oil based cleaner to cut the coconut oil, and launder soft surfaces if possible. If you can’t wash soft surfaces, vacuum and wipe them down, and let them air out outside in the sun. Mites have a limited lifespan off the host, so if you clean the cat and the environment, your odds of beating the bugs are much higher.

      I keep most of our cats favorite spots covered in old blankets that I toss in the wash on a regular basis. It makes cleanup much easier.

      Treat every 5-7 days for about a month.

  17. Hello!

    I hope someone can help me?! I have adopted an abandoned stray:) I took him to the vet and he has ear mites. I have two indoor cats and the vet said my indoor cats will get the mites and to treat my new cat first. So the vet gave me Tresaderm (I didn’t know about the coconut oil until now). I have had to keep the poor cat outside because of the ear mites and it’s breaking my heart I just want to bring him inside with me. So I am treating him with the ear drops for 7 days then bringing him inside. I haven’t been getting the black residue out of his ear hopefully that won’t mess his up (wasn’t told to do that):( so one question I have is:
    With 7 days of treatment will he still be contagious to my other two cats??? I’ll still use the drops for the 10 days but I want to bring him inside day 7 and am counting the days down until I can officially bring him inside I’m so excited.

    I will also bathe him before I bring him inside. But not sure what shampoo too wash him with??? I gave him Advecta to keep fleas away also last week. But he has really bad dandruff. I’d like a shampoo that will help with that but that will also kill any parasites or mites that jump to his fur.
    Anyone know what I can use???

    And what about my two other cats…should I put coconut oil in their ears to prevent any mites from getting in their ears???

    Will his cat carrier have mites in it and how long will they live in it, do I clean it with something?? I don’t want them to jump back on him again.

    And last question. He has been sneezing once in awhile. I have been giving him him L-Lysine (which always cured my cats colds) I just don’t know when to know if he has a respiratory infection???

    Thank you very much for ANY help and your time!! 🙂

    1. I’m not a vet, and haven’t seen the cat in person, so please keep in mind that any advice is only my best guess using the information that you’ve presented. You should be able to call the vet and have them (or their staff) answer your questions over the phone at no extra charge, at least, our vet would for something similar. They may recommend different options.

      I’m not familiar with the ear mite medicine your vet prescribed, so you’d need to ask the vet about whether that cat is contagious. I’d be tempted to clean the ears out gently, if kitty will allow it.

      For shampoo, I’d stick to something gentle, like Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo, or Dr. Bronner’s. Make sure to rinse well so kitty is not ingesting excess shampoo. Again, talk to your vet staff and see what they recommend.

      It wouldn’t hurt for your other cats to have their ears cleaned, but don’t leave excess oil in their ears.

      I’d probably wash off the pet carrier in the shower or bath tub and set it out to dry in the sun.

      I use L-Lysine for cat sniffles, too. He’s likely under a fair amount of stress with everything that’s happened. If you’re concerned about a more serious infection, it’s probably time for another vet visit.

      1. Thank you so much for all the info and your time! I did ask the vet all of this and I basically got a shrug 🙁 no one seems to know except for people who had to deal with mites. And no one I know has lol. The oil for the other two cats…in your experience should I just put one drop of coconut oil in each ear and move the ear a bit…then wipe some of it away? I am going to do that in my cats ears as a preventative before I bring the new one inside. Hopefully that will stop any straggler mites? 🙂 Unfortunately, the cat carrier is cardboard…I have had it sitting in the hot car for a few days. Hopefully the ones that were in the box have died because I need to use it to bring him to the self wash place. Thanks for the name of a good shampoo! I am going to continue using the Lysine glad you know about it with your kitties :)…It’s great stuff. …I think he’s not beating the cold because he’s outside. Soon I can bring him inside and get him healthy!

        1. Hmmm… not the most helpful vet, but if they avoid giving an answer, they avoid liability. If they say the odds are that something will work, you know some pet owner is likely to take that as gospel and hold it against them if it doesn’t work – like ear mites not being completely wiped out by the medication.

          It’s impossible to say with 100% certainty that the ear mites will be wiped out. If they aren’t, or if the other cats get them, simply use the coconut oil treatment. Pets are messy, things happen.

          If you want to treat the other cats, I’d put a small amount of oil in (round 1/8 tsp/1-2 ml) and massage it around with a cotton ball, like we do in the video, but you shouldn’t need to wipe it around as much because they aren’t infected.

          Sunlight is a good disinfectant, even without washing, so airing things out outside is always a good idea. I’m not sure about the heat tolerance of the mites, but they do die if they are without a host for too long.

          Our kitties tolerate being washed best when we use a hand shower and keep it close to their skin, almost like running a brush over their hair. I love the self-cleaning cat brushes for helping to clear dandruff and loose fur. Our boy, Zoro, has a little dandruff once in a while, and of course they all shed. All of our cats have either showed up at our door or been rescues, so there’s been plenty of fur cleaning. Poor Big Fluffy had been kept in an old, moldy farmhouse basement, and my son couldn’t handle him without breaking out in a rash. After he was washed, no more reaction, although we did have to clip sections of his fur that were so matted that they couldn’t be groomed out.

          Another natural treatment I’ve used for stressed pets is Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets. It’s just for calming – no antiviral action like the L-Lysine. We put it in water dishes when new cats were introduced the house. (I didn’t worry about specific dosages per cat, I just wanted everybody to chill.)

    1. Not every cat will be as patient as ours in the video. In general, cats don’t like to have their ears touched. For less cooperative cats, I highly recommend finding a friend to help hold the cat and keeping that towel wrapped snugly so you don’t get clawed. I also do not recommend corn oil, as it is a very heavy oil that is more likely to leave an unpleasant coating in the ear. Coconut oil or olive oil are a better choice, and remember, you don’t need very much oil.

  18. Hi Laurie,
    Just got my first bottle of fractionated coconut oil today. I put a bit on my fingers and all 5 of my cats are fighting to get some! I plan to use it for ear mites but see you also put it on paws. How often do you treat the paws?

    Thanks!

    1. I don’t specifically use it to treat paws, as our crew has paws that are in good condition. I do allow the cats that enjoy it to have a dab of coconut oil each day – 1/8 teaspoon or so. I use the solid oil and put a dab on a hard surface for them to lick off.

      Do exercise caution. We have not had any issues, but other readers have cats with more sensitive tummies that developed diarrhea. Not sure how much oil they used.

  19. Hi. I wanted to ask if it would be okay to use this remedy for a cat that is only 10 weeks old. Also since she is quite small, it’s difficult to hold her because she tries to bite me. Is there any other way I could hold her in position or try to calm her?

    1. The oil treatment should be safe for kittens, as it is non-toxic. The towel wrap technique is recommended by veterinarians to calm cats during procedures. It’s something like swaddling a baby. Can you draft a friend to help so one of you can concentrate on keeping her calm and snuggled in while the other focuses on her ears?

      1. I too use coconut oil to treat my cat’s ears for mites. I also add a few drops of Callendula oil to treat any irritation or inflammation there might be…it is very soothing to my cat’s ears.

  20. I’ve used Olive oil and coconut oil. She didn’t give me any problem with those.
    I tried vinegar (my cat wouldn’t tolerate that one bit) she is still scratching. She’s not happy with me doing this in the first place and I’m not happy because it keeps coming back. She doesn’t mind when I put my pinky finger in her ear without the anything on it. That’s how I find out which ear has the mites in them. It goes back and forth from one ear to the other. I don’t know what to do anymore 🙁

    1. Clean both ears thoroughly whenever you treat kitty, not just one. Stick to the oils, as they help smother any eggs and soothe the skin. The vinegar is acidic and will burn any open wounds, which she’s likely have because of the itching. That hurts.

      If possible, wash bedding and surface where kitty hangs out to reduce risks of reinfection.

  21. I just moved to a much smaller apartment. My 2 cats were feral cats and have only lived in one place their 11 yesrs. They are traumatized and it is difficult to treat them for ear mites but I am trying. They hide behind boxes,etc and I am having a terrible time. I am using olive oil as demonstrated by a internet vet tech. Each time I check their ears the mites are worse. They hide in the same place on the carpet under my bed and I wonder if the mites stay in the carpet. We barely moved in to the apartment and they got ear mites. I have never had a cat with ear mites in my life. No one in my family has had cats with ear mites. None of my friends either. Could the mites have been in the carpet when we moved to this new apartment. Fleas appeared at the same time but i treat my cats monthly with Advantage II. Rabbits run freely around this huge cpmplex and management is fine with this. I am exhausted and frustrated. Please help!

    1. It’s possible the mites and fleas could have been in the carpet, or they could be transmitted by wildlife.

      How frequently are you treating? For bad infestations, weekly treatment is probably needed. The carpet and other soft surfaces where the pests can hide should also be cleaned.

      If you feel your cats are in discomfort and treatment is beyond what you can do, it may be time for a vet visit.

      If that’s not possible due to cost or other factors, be patient and keep cleaning – the cats and the apartment. Give kitties as much TLC as you can, and good quality food and plenty of fresh water.

  22. I was wondering I use to have rabbits and for ear mites we would put baby oil in there ears. Is it ok to do it with my cats also?

  23. Hi! I’ve been using coconut oil on my kittens ears for about a week and more and more black gunk is coming out – I’m assuming that’s a good thing as the mites are coming to the surface from the canal??
    When you say that the coconut oil only smothers the mites does that mean that they don’t actually die and are continuing to live within my kittens ears? Or will this eventually clear the infestation up all together? My poor little buddy had a rough start! found abandoned, got ring worm and now mites. I just want to help him get healthy! Thank you!!

    1. Smother = can’t breathe and will die, but the dead bodies and mite poop are still in the ear and need to be gently wiped clear. If kitty was in rough shape, it may take some time for all the gunk to work out. Once clear kitty should be good for several months, depending on conditions. Watch for excessive ear grooming or head shaking, and visually inspect ears regularly.

      If kitty appears to be in serious pain, please take him to a vet.

  24. Hello laurie
    Me and my husband adopted a new persian baby boy he’s 8 weeks now but I noticed that he has some dirty stuff in his ears and he doesn’t have hair on his belly and thats a little bit suspicious right!!
    Anyways i cleaned his ears with coconut oil and i put coconut oil all over his but over night but i still can see some black dots…
    The scary thing is my husband got a rash on his arm And then i found one similar on my chest and more on my arm starts like small red pimple then spread ..
    so please please Please!! I need to know ASAP if the ear mites can bite or transfer to humans and if yes are they dangerous to humans, and how should i get rid of them 😭😭😭

  25. Hi Laurie, what brand of Coconut oil do you use? I don’t want to buy the wrong kind ( So many different kinds!) as I am on a very limited income & in an assisted living home and don’t drive and would have to order it online at Walmart or Amazon. Also, I clicked on the highlighted syringe in your directions which took me to Amazon and it is no longer available. Any others on Amazon that I could use & how many cc’s would I use for each ear? Also, if I was to use a ear dropper, how many drops per ear? Do I do this once a week? And for how long? So sorry I seem to be making this so complicated but I have never done this before and can’t afford right now to take Boo to a vet. He’s been my best buddy for a long time and I just want to do my baby right.

    1. Hi Sherry.

      Pretty much any sort of coconut oil will do, as long as it’s food grade. I just use whatever I have on hand.

      I reuse a syringe we got with other medicine. It’s a 5 ml, similar to this one.

      Just a ml or two per ear should be plenty.

      I haven’t used an ear dropper, so I’m not sure how big your drops are.

      Your goal is enough oil to evenly coat the inside of the ear and smother the mites.

      We do a cleaning if we notice any irritation or excess residue in the ear. If they have a bad mite infestation, you may want to treat again in one to two weeks.

      Watch kitty’s behavior, and look in the ears. When ears are clear and kitty is relaxed, you’re good to go.

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