How do indoor cats get ear mites? Indoor cats are not likely to be exposed to mites or other parasites. However, there are still some chances for them to get ear mites.

Indoor cats can get ear mites from another pet who already has mites. It is enough for a cat to come in contact for a few seconds with another cat, dog, or even rabbit that has them. Cats can get it from visiting pets, guest pets, or if they go out even for a short time.

Let’s see how indoor cats can get mites ear mites and what can be done to get rid of them.



Ear mites are microscopic parasites that like to live inside cats’ ears, dog ears, and sometimes inside rabbits and ferrets. They want to eat the wax and dirt inside the ears and create many problems for our pets.

Cats with ear mites infections feel a strong and intense itching, and they continuously have to scratch them. Mites are tiny and barely visible by naked eyes. But, one can see the byproducts of ear mites, such as black and compact substance in the cat’s ears.

Cats attempting to get rid of mites by themselves end up scratching and injuring themselves around and near their ears, often bleeding. All of it can result in additional infections and diseases.

Mites belong to the same class of spiders, or at least they are in the family and are very small, around 0.4 mm. They do not live for a very long time, about four weeks, but mites can lay eggs for the next generation to continue their work within this time.


Indoor cats have really a few chances to get ear mites. After all, they do not get out often and supposedly live in a pretty clean environment. Ear mites can only be transmitted from other pets that already have ear mites in them. Even indoor cats need to get out from time to time, or various opportunities can present themselves, leading to ear mites infections.

Here are some of the ways for cats to get ear mites:

  • OTHER PETS: it is enough that a cat touch another pet. Cats like to play with each other, or at least sniffing each other when they meat. Indoor cats do not have a lot of chances to meet other pets, but a guest coming over with a dog, could be the cause for ear mites. Ear mites can also jump on beds, couches and other surfaces. Cats could still get mites after other pets are gone.
  • VET VISITS: cats could get ear mites when they leave the house to go to the vet, meeting other pets or in other ways. Vet offices are usually very clean, but pets with any kind of problem come in and out, so there are still chances for cats to get ear mites.
  • SHORT TRIPS OUTSIDE: indoor cats that have the chance to get out of the house, to a garden or similar can still gets mites if they are laying around or if they encouter other pets.
  • TRAVELING WITH CATS: bringing an indoor cat out for travels, can create an opportunity for cats to get ear mites. Going to hotels or other places, where other pets have been, with your cat, can expose them to ear mites.

Mites get into bedding, cats’ beds, and other surfaces. When cats get ear mites, it is not sufficient to clean their ears. You have to clean everything else that could carry them in the house. Remember, ear mites lay eggs. Therefore, deep cleaning must be done routinely for 3 or 4 weeks to ensure they are all gone.


There are many ways to get rid of ear mites. Some are more valid than others. Typically, it is better to ask the vet for an effective treatment instead of trying some natural or homemade remedy that may not work.

There are also over-the-counter remedies one can buy online or at a pharmacy. Verify, or ask the vet if those can work out and will not waste your time and prolong your cat’s suffering.

Here are some of the most common over-the-counter remedies. But, first, read the specification carefully and see if it is good for you:

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Things like vinegar, olive oil, and green tea could be natural elements that can be applied to the cat’s ears to suffocate the mites. Green tea is also a natural antiseptic. Here are some natural substances and non-natural substances that can be used on cats ears to kill mites:

  • Green Tea
  • Apple Cider Vinegear
  • Olive Oil
  • Pyrethrin (to be found in over-the-counter medications)
  • Selamectin (antiparasitic)
  • Moxidectin
  • Ivermectin
  • Milbemcyn

There are instructions on how to use the medication. However, whether one uses over-the-counter medications or a natural remedy, applications should be continued for days and repeated after a few weeks.


There are specific signs one can see that indicate that a cat can have ear mites. For example, the constant scratching, the constant shaking of their heads, and a black discharge clearly visible in cat ears.

Symptoms of ear mites can be:

  • Cats shaking their heads
  • Cats scratching their ear constantly
  • Brow, black or reddisch discharge in hears
  • Wax crust forming in the ear, usually dark
  • Bad odor coming from the ears

To check if cats have mites, you have to observe if your cat does the above things or if there are discharges in the ears. Bringing the cat to the vet can confirm that a cat has ear mites because vets have a special instrument to look into the cat’s ears.

They can even take a piece of what is in cats’ ears, look it up under a microscope, or do further analysis, to make sure that the problem is caused by mites and not fleas.


Ear mites like to place themselves inside cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets’ ears. Commonly, they do not infect humans, but it is not to be excluded. In some cases, humans can be infected with ear mites.

The symptoms for humans are similar to the ones visible in cats and dogs. People can feel itchy in their ears, ear irritation, and dark wax coming from the ears. Doctors may clean a person’s ears with a saline solution and use other medications.

In case of mites infections in the house, whether in humans or pets, the house has to be cleaned deeply, including bedding, cats beds, and any other place cats use to sleep in. Pesticides can be a solution in case of a problematic situation. However, cats should be placed somewhere safe before using any pesticide.


How long does it take to get rid of ear mites in cats?

Ear mites live for three to four weeks. During their life, female mites deposit eggs, which will produce new mites within a couple of weeks.

Therefore, one can remove the current mites, which is usually not done in one go, but it can take several product applications for several days.

After that, one has to do a new clean-up after 2 or 3 weeks to remove the eggs. All in all, it can take two or three months to be sure to have removed all mites.

What happens if ear mites go untreated?

Ear mites, if untreated, can create problems to the cat ear and make the cat deaf. Ear mites are painful and create many discomforts, creating itchiness and other infections due to scratching and bleeding. Ear mites should not go untreated to avoid infection and earing problems.

Can ear mites spread to other parts of the body?

Ear mites can spread to other parts of the body and create itchy sensations and problems too. To get rid of mites, one can use flea-killing products, while mites products can be applied to the ears.

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