Cat Ear Infection: Prevention & Seeking Treatment

Cat Ear Infection

cat ear anatomy

Picture Credit: Cat Watch Newsletter

Cats don’t generally develop an ear infection, but when they do, it could cause discomfort and possible deafness.

If they are in contact with other cats with ear mites, chances of them having the same infection are high. An underlying medical problem may cause an ear infection too.

  • Overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, or both
  • Wax buildup in the ear canal
  • Thick hair in the ear canal
  • Food or pollen allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Tumors/polyps within the ear canal
  • Ruptured eardrum
  • Improper ear cleaning
  • Foreign bodies such as bristle from grass
  • Environmental irritants
  • Diabetes mellitus

Cat Ear Infection

  • Black/yellowish discharge
  • Redness/ swelling of the ear flap or ear canal
  • Waxy Buildup
  • Discharge from ear canal that resembles coffee grounds which is the symptoms of ear mites
  • Foul odor
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of balance or disorientation

If your cat has ear mites, yeast or bacterial infections, your vet will treat it with anti-parasitics, antifungals or antibiotics. These medications come in the form of ear drops.

However, if the infection has reached the middle ear, the vet may prescribe oral medication or injectable antibiotics.

Your vet may clip off the fur around the cat’s ear canal to help with cleaning and drying of the ear canal. Once you’re home, apply medication as instructed. If unsure, get the vet to demonstrate to you how it should be done.

However, if your cat is having chronic infection, the vet may prescribe a medication that helps to reduce the swell in the ear canal. Sometimes a surgery is needed to remove swollen tissue that has narrowed or closed the ear canal.

Cats with diabetes or weak immune system are prone to getting an ear infection.


Check your cat’s ear regularly to make sure there’s no redness, swelling or foul odor. Clean when necessary. A healthy ear should be pale pink and have no visible debris, odor, minimal or no ear wax.

Get your vet or groomer to show you how to clean your cat’s ears. As regular checks and cleaning help prevent painful ear infection in your cat.