Ask the Vets Pets
A weekly column about pet health care home
Pet Care Especially for Editors About Us Search
DOGS
CATS
OTHER PETS
IMPORTANT INFO
PET OF THE MONTH
LINKS
 
CONTACT US
C2008-29

Dear Christopher Cat

Are ear mites contagious? Our new kitten sleeps with our daughter, often sharing her pillow. Although our veterinarian treated the kitten for ear mites, I’m concerned that the mites might infect our daughter.

Christopher Responds

You may rest assured – and your daughter may continue to rest with her kitten – because ear mites very rarely infect humans.

Regular readers know I am a perfect cat, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve never had ear mites.

But one of my feline sisters had them when she joined our family. Ear mites were common in the outdoor cats with whom she lived, and she suspects one of her friends gave them to her.

Mites live in pets’ ears, where they feed on ear wax and skin oils.

Ear debris that resembles coffee grounds suggests an infection, and finding the mites under the microscope confirms the diagnosis.

On the very rare occasions humans become infected, the mites usually cause skin rashes.

I know of one eccentric veterinarian who purposely infected himself, by transferring ear mites on a cotton swab from a cat’s ears to his own.

He described hearing crunching sounds as the mites dined in his ears. Fortunately, the infection was easily treated once he tired of his experiment.

back to index

  contact us