I have for years used tea tree oil as a cure-all for skin ailments as well as wounds. I foolishly thought that tea tree oil would be a good preparation for my cat's ears that were scratched raw from ear mites. It seemed to help the skin, BUT I found out a few days ago (check any website!) that tea tree oil, which contains phenols (as does its neighbor, turpentine!) is very toxic to cats because they do not possess the enzymes to metabolize it, so it is stored in the liver, and can cause irreparable damage over time. I was SO shocked by this, I thought all cat guardians fond of "organic" and "natural" remedies should be made aware of the toxicity to cats of tea tree oil. Great for humans, DEADLY for cats! Thanks & best wishes.
I've been using Ted's solution on my cat's ears ...very much improved. Warning note for others: my grey fluffy cat's hair around the infected ear is turning a pale shade of orange from the peroxide.
Which leads to my question. While I haven't bathed her in the borax/peroxide/water solution yet, I'm still planning on it. She is very fluffy, looks like she might have Norwegian Forest Cat in her. My plan is to fill a mop bucket with the solution, then put her in the bucket and literally soak her. Trying to get it to the skin and then have it dry is going to be a challenge because of the under-floof in her coat. And liquid tends to run off. I figured I would then put her in a cat carrier for an hour to give the skin a chance to absorb the solution before she could dry herself. Does this sound like a reasonable plan to anyone else? Would appreciate any input anyone else has.
Hi everyone!!! I am very very very grateful for all of you, your comments, and this site. @nycandre, thank you for all the details and the follow-up on your beautiful cat, Ted, thank you for being so gracious to share and share again.
I noticed my beloved fur ball Violet had gunk around her one ear. Not really scratching at it, but also recalling last year when this happened it was ear mites, which I took her to the vet for. We did that gel, plus Revolution. Right now a $200+ vet bill is out of the question. So I googled. And y'all came up. And I started reading ... and cleaning her ear .. and reading.
I started with colloidal silver in the ear, and internally. Kept reading. Saw the olive oil/garlic. My husband is a naturopathic GP ... so we have lots of remedies around the house. Grabbed the ear drops that had the olive oil and garlic, plus something else. At this point her ear starts to look worse. She's scratching more, and the exterior in front of the ear is looking really irritated. So I keep reading, and reading, and reading. Ted's formula keeps coming up. I had to get to the store to get Borax, but I had peroxide at home. So I started cleaning her ear with straight 3% peroxide. As a rule, I don't like peroxide on an animal's ears. It's very very drying to tender skin. BUT ... I needed to get something going better. I used cotton pads (Shiseido, expensive but worth it. They don't shed, they're strong, and they are SUPER soft.) soaked but not dripping, then q-tips. It hurt. Her ear was bright red and I thought I did some real damage. I left her alone for the night and checked her the next day. Blood crusts, her ear was loaded with them. Which told me something in the right direction was happening. I bathed her using Dawn, paying attention to butt and feet. She has long hair - we think Norwegian Forest cat- so you have to work thoroughly to make sure it gets to the skin.
I got the borax, and read more. I needed to know if I could use it directly in the ear. Yay Ted!! YES I COULD. I mixed up a 1/2 batch, storing it in a glass jar in a drawer. For the last 3 nights I've soaked cotton pads and worked them inside her ear to loosen everything, then used q-tips. Violet has a "pocket" in her ear that was holding a lot of crust. The first night she wouldn't let me get anywhere near this pocket. The next night I started on the pocket with a q-tip before cleaning the ear with the pads. Success!!! She was in less pain, so I had more time to work with it. I pulled out a lot of crust. After cleaning it as thoroughly as I could, I took a dropper and put in 3 or 4 drops in the ear directly -- 2 into that pocket -- and massaged the ear then let her shake. Last night, very little crust, pocket still pretty clean. We're in the right direction.
My husband is going to fashion me a "cone of shame" so we can make sure she stays wet long enough for the solution to dry into the skin (which is what Revolution does). Then the dog will get done. I plan on keeping this up for at least a month, and treating the carpet.
I just noticed behind the ear she had matted hair "dred locks" and she's scratching behind that ear .. so it's going to be a Ted bath tonight. At least I know this is the right direction. If it happens again .. and it probably will .. I will go straight for Ted's solution. I don't think the oil etc did what was needed. So thank you one and all for all of your comments!!! Your comments gave me the direction I needed to go in!!!
I tried the peroxide-borax remedy: Day 1. Dear Ted, In desperation searching for Hartz Mt. ear mite medicine, the best over-the-counter for cats I've found, I went to 10 stores but there was a run on the stuff! I turned to the web,found your site and read about the ear mite control. Bought the stuff, mixed it up, bathed my poor old cat's ears which were hairless on the outside, bad looking with the bloody stuff inside. So far on Day 1, this treatment has brought Nicki instant relief. She has been sleeping with her ear up for some days now, unable to go into deep sleep mode due to the ear mites. Right now she's in a deep sleep, all curled up like normal. I found all ingredients quickly in my small town but could not find Hartz Mt. ear miticide in faraway larger town after 3 hr. of searching. Thank you! Will let you know as things progress but so far, Day One is going well.
Update: two weeks later. Kal romps around now without his collar, the mites are still there, as I see a small amount of residue, but clearly they are on the way out. Many thanks to Ted at earthclinic.com for his latest suggestions on using a more concentrated dose of H2O2 (hydrogen Peroxide) for the finish. .. Are there any other suggestions esp. re: diet to finish the ear mites? Maybe the drier air helped ..
I tried the oil based treatments, actually using coconut oil since I heard it has antiseptic properties, and hdrogen peroxide. This only slowed down the ear mites. After a couple of weeks of this, I started with a mix of Borax (20 Mule Team), hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and a little Dr Bronner soap. After just two days the mites are disappearing. To prevent my cat from lcking off his wet fur, that I allow to dry naturally as indicated, I got him a collar. See his picture on Fickr, tag: ear.mite.cure.for.cats, or go directly to the page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/1459080973/
Thanks a lot, Ted and everyone else here! nycandre
New Florence, Pa
I really appreciate all the great advice I've gathered from reading your site. But, if I had used the remedies that are recommended specifically for ear mites, I would have severely annoyed my cat and myself and she would still be scratching. Thank goodness I made the association between ear mites in cats and mange in dogs and used Ted's wonderful mange cure. (My mixture was 2 parts apple cider vinegar, to 1 part hydrogen peroxide, and 1 part Borax; diluted in a gallon or so of water) And it worked like an absolute charm. Bathing a cat is never fun, but the next day her incessant scratching had stopped and has not returned. What a wonderful gift this man has given to animal lovers and caretakers around the world! Thank you so much Ted, for sharing and proliferating your extremely useful knowledge in the way that you have. And I'm sure there are millions of small four-legged creatures who no longer have itchy and infectious skin that are singing your praises as well. Thanks again.
New York, USA
Armstrong, BC, Canada
Well I first started with the suggestion of using drops of Vegetable oil to loosen up the infection in my cats ears. Massaged it in, let her shake, then used cotton swabs and balls to clean the ear. After that I proceeded with rubbing the vaseline in her ear with my finger and not really down into the upper canal. I let her be and now her ears hurt even more and she's really groggy and miserable. I don't know where I went wrong, if she has an allergy to any of the products, or something else. Her ears are really really pink and she's just now in alot of pain. Should I wait it out or bring her to the vet immediately? I've never seen her more miserable in my life, it really saddens me... I need help!
I have a cat that will not allow me to put any kind of liquid into his ears. Even if somebody holds him down for me, he's too strong and goes nuts when the liquid hits his ears. I've found the best way is to rub vaseline inside his ears while petting him. He doesn't seem to notice, and even when he does, he doesn't mind too much. It seems to work almost instantly suffocating the mites. After one application, he stops scratching, but I do it each day for a week until I'm sure they're gone.
Hi! I have two cats and my daughter has one. She didn't know her cat had ear mites when she moved into our home. Now I have to deal with all 3 of them having ear mites. I tried cat mite medicine from a store, plus the one called Adams. All it did was make my cats very sick and their ears heated up, and became irritated!! I was at my wits end when I thought I would look up about ear mites on-line. I was so happy to hear about your natural remedies!! I have been using vegetable oil,' for the past 3 days and it seems to be working!! If it doesn't clear them all the way up, I am going to try some of your other remedies. I like the vegetable oil, because it doesn't irritate their ears, and doesn't make them vomit. (the other remedies from the store made them vomit and run fevers.) They don't seem to be scratching as much with the vegetable oil either. It is a battle though putting it into two of the cats ears, as they don't like anything in their ears. Thank you so much for helping me deal with these pesky mites who seem never to leave!! Now maybe my cats and me can get some rest!! Thanks again. I will write more to let you know how they're doing. Thanks again!!
I used to raise rabbits. For ear mites I used a solution of quarter cup vegetable oil and teaspoon of iodine. The solution needed to be shaken before I applied it with an eyedropper and rubbed it into the rabbits ears. Each day I would clean the waxy build up from the ear and reapply the oil until the infestation was gone. Is this remedy safe for dogs?
My 5 year old Collie has had ear mites for as long as I can remember. I tried cleaners and treatments nothing worked. I put ambesol ( baby ambesol for teething) to numb her ears but that was just temparary relief. One night I thought about what would sufficate those pesky things and as I reached for the cleaner I saw the vicks. She has been ear mite free ever since!!! I just swabed it on with a cotton ball once a day for 3weeks and cleaned it out after 24 hours then reapplied. I don't know if it will work for everyone but it worked on her! Smells good too!!!
My bull terrier picked up a nasty case of ear mites from an encounter with an especially filthy ferral cat. Because she's vet-shy here's the cure our vet had us do at home with ordinary earth-friendly products.
First we irrigated the ears with vinegar, which changes the pH and kills adult mites. Then we put 5 drops of heavy oil (olive would have been okay but we used jojoba) in each ear and gently massaged the base of the ear before allowing her to shake it out again. The jojoba really did wonders to stop itching and speed up healing.
The vinegar changes the pH in the ear, killing the eggs and the oil drowns live mites and soothes the ear. We irrigated and bathed weekly and oiled every other day.
Irrigations took place in the tub to restrict mess and so I could immediately bathe her in a pyrethium-based flea/tick soap; treating only the ears and not the entire body allows mites to flee the ear during treatment, then move back in. Our other dogs had their ears swabbed with hydrogen peroxide daily to prevent transmission.
We continued treatment for 5 weeks to be extra safe, but things noticably improved after the first treatment.
Wanted to say thanks for all the great advice here - I noticed one of my guys shaking his head at the beginning of last week and thought he'd gotten into a fight with his brother. When he was still doing it the next day, I looked and there they were. Looks like they have not been 'moved in' for too long, thankfully. After reading the comments here I decided to try using a mixture of about 80% Vitamin E oil (cutting open the gelcaps and squeezing the oil out) mixed with 20% Purell with aloe. I used cotton balls to wipe his ears out and then a clean one to 'drizzle' the mixture further down the canal. He was not happy at first but was not in pain at all. Afterwards, he glared at me for an hour but then came over to knock his face into my hand. It's a few days later now and while they have not gone completely (because of the breeding cycle, of course) his ears are much cleaner and when he sees me starting to make his 'mix' up he comes over to me and waits. Wanted to also remind everyone that the eggs can live on the fur around their ears so you want to pay attention to keeping that whole area cleaned, too.
I am very sure my cats have ear mites; one seems to be worse then the others and has them on his body as well. I purchased the yellow dock root extract. Can I use this on his skin too? Please let me know, thanks.