Caring For Your Cat’s Ears

The most common ear problems in cats are infections generally caused by bacteria, yeast, fungus, or mite infestations. If an ear infection recurs, the causes should be identified and treated to prevent more severe complications in the future.


Did you know that ear mites can easily be transmitted between pets?


If your cat has allergies, they can often lead to itchiness in the ears and around the head. Other symptoms that affect the skin could also be noticed. The allergies that most commonly affect your cat are to certain foodstuffs. E.g., fish and milk are frequent triggers, along with environmental allergens like dust mites and pollen.


These are tissue masses (thickened tissue) found in cats’ ears. They are not tumours or cancer but are due to inflammation. They are often at the root of non-resolving ear infections and veterinarians recommend their removal.


Such infections are characterised by patchy hair loss, reddening of the ears, and itchiness. Other typical symptoms include crustiness and flaking ear skin.


Even if your moggy is fastidious about grooming, a cat’s ears can easily become a site for mite infections.

Mites can be picked up outdoors or from another pet that shares their living space. You’ll notice the problem by excessive scratching, inflammation, hair loss, and what looks like coffee grounds in the ear. If you’ve spotted these signs, you should deal with them immediately. Fortunately, humans are not susceptible to ear mites, so neither you nor your human family is at risk.


While the cleaning process is fairly simple, you may find that your cat does not enjoy the attention since their ears are extremely sensitive. These simple steps are recommended to ensure that the procedure is as efficient and stress-free as possible.

  • Make sure your pet is calm and relaxed. Any kind of fuss may create tension and this will make the job harder.
  • Have all the necessary gear nearby to limit excessive movements and distractions.

You’ll need some cotton wool swabs and buds, an ointment that contains pyrethrin or a similar pesticide (this kills mites on contact), or even baby oil (this smothers the mites). Such unguents also aid in removing the detritus, soothe the skin, and reduce discomfort.

Having someone to help you will be a great advantage but if not, you can go ahead on your own. Gently but firmly hold the cat under one arm so that both hands are free. Swaddling in a towel will lessen the chances of being slashed by an angry claw. One hand cups the cat’s head to expose the ear and the other applies the treated swab and allows you to use your fingers to remove the nasties in a few strokes.  Repeat these steps with the other ear by placing the cat under your other arm. It may be necessary to penetrate the ear canal more deeply with an earbud but this could be trickier. If the earbud proves difficult, pour a little baby oil into the ear canal. A single application is seldom adequate to kill the mites, but a small amount every day for a week or two should do the job.

To reduce the need for repeated treatments, remove as much of the pests and grunge as possible before setting your cat loose. Once they’ve processed their outrage, it’s a good time to enjoy a special treat together to restore your relationship.

Of course, there’s no shame in taking your beloved to a professional pet groomer or veterinary clinic who’d be more practiced and at ease managing such operations.

If there are obvious injuries from previous scratching these will require separate attention. If they don’t clear up by themselves or with topical treatment in a few days, it may be necessary to see your veterinarian for an antibiotic prescription and to fit a collar.

Dealing with ear ailments as soon as they are noticed is essential because leaving such problems untreated can have serious consequences.

The contents of this post are for informational purposes only and do not constitute professional medical advice. To have your pet’s condition accurately diagnosed kindly see your veterinarian.

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