If your cat is scratching more than usual and you don't see any evidence of fleas, your cat might have mites. Mites can burrow in the skin and cause itching. Mites also are common in the ears of cats. Ear mites can be especially bothersome and cause your cat to scratch their ears or shake their head frequently.
If your cat is showing signs of excessive scratching, take your cat to a veterinary clinic to uncover the cause and begin treatment. Here's how a vet might treat your cat for mites.
Identify The Problem
Your vet can tell by looking in your cat's ears if mites are present. A mite problem isn't difficult for a vet to diagnose, but if necessary, the vet can swab your cat's ear and look under the microscope for the mites.
Mites are tiny and hard to see, but they leave behind signs of their presence besides itching and scratching. Your cat might have black debris in their ears or have patches of thinning hair or bald spots.
Treat Mites In The Ears
Ear mites eat ear wax, so the veterinarian might flush your cat's ears to get rid of wax and mites. This might be difficult and dangerous for you to do at home, so taking your cat to a veterinary clinic is a good idea when it's necessary to treat the inside of your cat's ears.
You will probably need to put ear drops in your cat's ears for several days to kill the remaining mites. After that, you might need to take your cat to the vet for another examination. If mites are still present, the veterinarian might flush your cat's ears again and prescribe more ear drops until the mites are all gone.
Treat Mites On The Skin
Mites can cause severe hair loss and make your cat miserable. Mites are also spread from cat to cat and from your cat to other pets and humans in your house. It's important to treat mites early if possible, and that might entail giving your cat a bath with prescription shampoo from the veterinary clinic.
Your vet might also prescribe topical medications for your cat, especially if your cat developed skin issues due to the burrowing of mites. While the medications and shampoo should kill the mites fast, it will take time for your cat's skin and hair to return to normal.
Preventing a future mite problem might be difficult if your cat goes outdoors since mites live on other animals and can survive a short time on their own. If you can keep your cat inside and no other pets go outdoors, you'll reduce the risk of your cat getting the bothersome mites. If your cat likes to go outside and roam, watch for signs of scratching so you can get help from your vet quickly before mites get out of control and make your cat miserable and sick.