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Bugs on my cat's ears

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

My 2 cats have bugs on their outer ears. They're definitely not fleas. I did pull them off with my finger nails and "squished" them. They tend to stick to the skin. I thought that they were ticks but I've never seen one engorged like one. I'm reading about mites and they're in the inner ear.  I do have a picture of the bugs on my cats ear but I'm not able to attach a photo or I'm not looking at the "icons" properly to be able to?

My cats normally have Advantage. When I thought they were ticks I put on feline Frontline but, the bugs are still there. I try and pull off and kill as much as I can but the cats aren't patient with me and don't want their ears fussed with. They're dark brown to black looking dots that are about 1/16 of inch or something like the size of a flea. Some of the ones that I've squished between my nails have had blood. I even bought flea and tick spray and put some on a cotton ball and dabbed the ear...didn't phase the bugs and they still get new ones after I've killed what was there.


I have 3 senior dogs that aren't affected by these parasites.


Unfortunately, we're one of the statistics here...Unemployed and funds are extremely limited, otherwise I would have taken them to the vets right away.


Does anyone have any suggestions? 


Thanks for any Information!





post #2 of 30
Gee..... I wonder what these are..... if they are not moving around, sounds like it could be ticks rather than fleas!
Please do not put flea spray - it can seriously harm your babies!!
Get some Food grade Diatomaceous earth and sprinkle on them - you can also sprinkle all over the house - it is very cheap and safe - just make sure it is FOOD SAFE. It will kill the bugs right up.....
post #3 of 30
I agree on not using over the counter flea spray. The thing is both Advantage and Frontline should be doing the trick here if it is fleas or ticks.

I'm wondering what they are. If you want to upload an image, the image icon is the second one from the right, just below "full page editor". Hope that helps.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thanks Carolina and "Pushylady!" (cute name!)  I was concerned about the over the counter and just put a little on a cotton ball gently put it on their ears.


I have a picture though not the best. These little bugs I believe are not mites...they're single bugs that are attached to their ears and only on the ears well, there were a few on Willy's belly where there isn't a lot of fur but no where else.


I'll try and put a photo on!  Thank-you!Picture 1.png

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 

What is your thought on this Food-grade diatomaceous earth (this is what I found when I googled it)



A: I use it myself on my dogs. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a desiccant, and when it is rubbed on a tick, it scratches the surface, causing the tick to release its hold on the animal. Food-grade DE is generally available at feed stores. Do not buy or use DE sold for swimming pool filters. This form is not effective as an insecticide and, when inhaled, can cause silicosis, a deadly lung disease. Diatomaceous earth is abrasive to the lungs and eyes, so use proper personal protection when using this product.

If you don't want to use diatomaceous earth for some reason, you can spray Greenbug for Pets on your dog. It will effectively and safely kill the ticks (or fleas) they have. It's available at


Read more:


Will this Food-grade diatomaceous earth be harmful to my elderly dogs who lie in the house....If the above is true how would you rub it on the bug?  Can I put this in my yard too and not harm my chicken who scratches on the ground to get tasty bugs?  My 2 kitties like to lie out there too?

Sounds like a GOOD product but I don't understand how to use it properly...any thoughts?


**as of this writing I haven't opened the link to the, I was interested in the Food-grade diatomaceous earth



****Any thoughts on what the bugs are????

post #6 of 30

They look like very early stage deer ticks.

get the DE and use it, it does work, I use it myself.

Use it like flea powder, just try to keep kitty faces covered to prevent them inhaling it.

You can even use it outside safely, and it can be safely ingested by animals and humans as long as it is Food Grade.

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thank-you for the information!

post #8 of 30

Treat all of your animals with the DE, and as soon as you are able, a vet check is in order for the cats, as deer ticks are disease carriers.

post #9 of 30

My cats have these too! They get them only in my moms backyard. They are not deer ticks as someone else has said. They look identical to fleas, not even remotely like ticks. I can't figure out exactly the species either. Ive tried all the stuff posted on here already and no luck. only way ive found to keep them off is not let them outside at my moms because my cats are staying there right now. Its crazy. They look like fleas, stick like ticks, have the colors like fleas, get bigger the more they drink blood and pop just like fleas. I know thats gross but when you are trying to get rid of something you stop at nothing.


Any more ideas?

post #10 of 30

these things have traits of a tick but it is more from the flea family than tick side. i promise that. someone help me though ive researched so much and got nothing!

post #11 of 30

I would take them to the vets and let him have a look and see what he suggest you use to get rid of them..

post #12 of 30
Hercules had these when I first brought him inside. I think my vet called them ground fleas. He gave Hercules one treatment of Revolution and that seemed to do the trick. I did pick off as many as I could first, and never saw any new ones. I think Revolution is something you can only get through a vet with a prescription. You might call your vet to see if they would be willing to supply you with the Revolution without you having to bring the cat in for a regular appointment. It wouldn't hurt to try the diatomaceous earth as well.
post #13 of 30
I actually think they are a form of tick. Cats ears are vulnerable to ticks though it is unusual for htere to be so many. I do know that many places are experiencing plagues of ticks this year because of unusual weather conditions. They can carry some nasty diseases so it is important to get them off. Can you pick them all off and isolate the cats till you know where they are picking them up from?
post #14 of 30

These fleas are sticktight fleas. They are commonly found on poultry but have been known to be on cats, dogs, horses and pigs. you can look on the internet to find what you can use to get rid of it.

post #15 of 30

there ear mites ..just pop to your petshop and get some eardrops clears up really quickly and isnt too pricey cat got them whe she was about 4 mnth old :) hope this helps

post #16 of 30

Diatomaceous earth kills insects and other parasites by scratching and damaging the protective cuticle that covers their body. This damage causes the creature to dehydrate over a period of hours or days until it finally dies. This same effect damages human skin,(like tiny pieces of glass, it can be horrific inside a cat's ears! The damage to inside of soft tissue would be terrible. Ask you vet!  causing dry hands when used without gloves or other protection. Diatomaceous earth also irritates the user's eyes, so protective goggles are recommended. Wash hands with soap and water if affected. Rinse eyes with clean water and remove contact lenses. Don't mean to start out making anyone angry but I'm not a fan! it may get rid of some pests but... what it does to skin is horrific. and if it gets into eyes, look to see a blind kitty with great pain not fixable. Frontline plus no longer works at least in the US. Vectra for cats is the best now. I'd be keeping my cats inside.

post #17 of 30

YES! Revolution is a great idea! clap.gif

post #18 of 30

revolution gets rid of ear mites, fleas, regular mites, ticks all of em

post #19 of 30

yes, i'd use ear mite drops and the Revolution because the Revolution takes care of other icky creatures to boot. This may sound wierd but coconut oil, the virgin stuff rubbed on won't hurt too. if the cats licks it, it's ok too. not toxic for them.

post #20 of 30

looks like huge ear mites too. the ear mite drops one suggested is good plus the Revolution. and i'd put some virgin coconut oil onto the places they are. i take it the cats go outside.

post #21 of 30
Originally Posted by Amy Harvey View Post

These fleas are sticktight fleas. They are commonly found on poultry but have been known to be on cats, dogs, horses and pigs. you can look on the internet to find what you can use to get rid of it.


I go with this, not ear mites.  Ear mites live deep inside the ear canal, not on the flap and are tiny, and the ear has brown gunge in it - there are plenty of explicit photos that Google can find.

post #22 of 30
Oh my cat has these weird little bugs on his ears too. Maybe 3 or 4 usually on each ear everyday and I can pick them off just like u can. Like you, I am so strapped for money. I have two dogs with pretty serious health problems that are costing a lot to care for right now and if there is any over the counter or cheap way to take care of these icky little bugs I really need to hear it.

Did you ever figure out what they are? Thanks in advance.
post #23 of 30

i made a huge word document on strictight fleas for anyone who might want it. last time i tried to upload a document it wouldn't let me because i haven't been on this site long enough. anyone can email me and

i will send it to you if you want me to.






will do it later.jpg 49k .jpg file






OH COOL! IT ATTACHED!!! YEY! zwaai.gif

post #24 of 30




post #25 of 30
This may be chigger. Im sorry your having this issue. My dogs bring these in. My cats have them too!!! Best thing used is DEET =off for yourselves. Make sure the yards animals go in is mowed oncd a week. Use sulphur powder works wonders! Hope this helps.
post #26 of 30
Oops chiggers
post #27 of 30

i have the same problem but he is an outdoor cat and hes very ittitated by them atm always flicking and scratching his ears but he still has his hair covering his ear last night i removed most by disturbing them and then they de-attach and run and i catch them as its hard to remove them while they are attached  and tonight hes come back with groups i dont know wher they are coming from and they dont seem to grow in size much at all????

post #28 of 30

I have a cat that goes outdoors and Ive been feeding and trying to care for a feral cat and both of them had these black dots today now they would not let me mess with their ears....but here I am typing and I felt an itch and I go and feel this little bump I look and its one of them darn things that were on the cats ears......I had to remove it with tweezers just as I removed bigger ticks off of the stray today and I have a ton of health issues, cancer, liver disease and Lord I don't need anything from these things does anyone know for sure what they are?

post #29 of 30

Yes, Amy Harvey posted the answer, and I thank her for the research! My family has rescued cats for years and these bugs have come up occasionally; I never knew what they were. They're 'sticktight' fleas, also known as poultry fleas or hen's fleas. As she said, just do an internet search; you can look right at a picture of them. I found a site, 'Backyard Chickens', and a member there, 'Rayday61', posted some very encouraging information under the title 'a-cure-for-sticktight-fleas'. Basically just Adams puppy or kitten spray, dabbed on with a cotton ball and Ortho yard spray for the yard. Keep in mind, they're dealing with chickens over there so I don't know how safe the Ortho stuff is for cats.


It seems I had tried Revolution years ago and didn't think it worked, but I realize now those little *%&#@! dig so deeply into the animal's skin, their bodies must stay in place long after they're dead, leading one to believe it didn't work. What others have posted here about Revolution being effective is surely true, because it works on just about everything else. It really is a miracle worker. BTW, it's an instant cure for Mange, something a vet finally admitted to me after years of me begging for a cure when finding suffering strays and no money to bring any of them in. It annoys me deeply that we still need a vet's prescription for it. The supposed reason for that is if the cat has heartworms (unlikely) the treatment could end badly, but no vet who has EVER prescribed my cats Revolution ever actually tested for heartworms.


Most of what little I have learned over the years has come from times of desperate poverty, so I understand what others have written about finances. Occasionally you can find Revolution on Ebay or you can do what I have had to do. I currently have ten cats and care for many others in a stray colony. If I have to take ANY of them in for ANY reason, one of my own or a stray I'm getting spayed, I mention to the vet I would like to get Revolution for them at a later date and they're fine with that (and I confirm that with the receptionist before I leave). That gives you a year from the date of that appointment to go in and tell them however much Revolution you need for Kitty-fill-in-the-name. Good luck, and thank you for what you are doing :-)

post #30 of 30

Those are rabbit fleas. My cat gets them everyspring when he goes after rabbits and gophers. They stick to to the tips of the ears and cause little bald patches on the outer ear. I use a spot on treatment monthly. When I used Frontline, he was flea free. I switched to Sentry and its not working, so going back to frontline or advantage. Just apply it between the shoulder blades and it works for a month. 

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