Whether you’re a long term cat owner or have only recently brought home your new furry family member, it’s important to be aware of problems that can affect the feline species. A common issue is ear infections. All cats have the same types of ears and therefore all breeds are equally as susceptible to this painful problem. Here are the primary problems that can affect your cat’s ears and how to recognise them. As with most pet problems, early identification is ideal.

What can cause an ear infection in cats?

The most common causes for ear irritation in our feline friends can be narrowed down to three main origins. Early recognition is the key to a swift resolution. These top three causes are as follows –

Ear mites

These tiny contagious parasites easily spread from cat to cat, causing pain and discomfort. If left untreated, can results in more complicated and severe prognosis for your pet. Some symptoms are easily recognised such as hair loss and a strong odour, but the common symptoms such as scratching and head shaking can also be reason for concern. These responses to ear irritation can readily lead to inflammation, infection and ruptured blood vessels.


Just like humans, cats and other animals can develop allergies that require careful management. Allergies are often in response to food or their surrounding environment, such as pollen or dust, and can cause the ear canal to inflame or develop bacteria if left untreated. If you suspect your cat may be suffering from allergies, a visit to your local vet will be in order to have them assessed and treated.


A polyp is an inflamed growth that forms in the canal of your cat’s ear. If left unnoticed or untreated, the polyp can develop to a size that it can block the ear canal or even extend into the outer parts of the ear. If left untreated, it has the potential to cause lasting damage to your feline friend.

What are the symptoms?

The signs of infection can vary. Keep a close eye on your feline friend for the following as these symptoms can suggest your cat may be suffering from an ear infection. If you notice any of these issues, take them to the vet to have them diagnosed and treated.

  • Black or yellow coloured discharge.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Loss of balance or disorientation.
  • Swollen or red ear canal or flap.
  • A build-up of a wax-like substance on or near the ear canal.

How can it be treated?

Prevention is often better than a cure. Talk to your local vet about preventative options that are available to help keep your pet pest free. When it comes to treatment, pets require medication and doses specific to their species, origin of infection and type of infection present. Diagnostics are often required to determine what type of medication your feline friend may need to make them comfortable and ensure a rapid recovery. If you notice that your cat exhibits any signs of an ear infection, a trip to your local veterinary clinic for professional diagnosis and treatment is in order.  Early intervention is the best way to help stop your furry friend from developing a more severe medical issues and more likely to recover swiftly from a condition that can be exceedingly uncomfortable.

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