Cat Scratching Ears: Most Common Ear Problems And Treatment

Ritwik Bhuyan
Nov 09, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
A cat scratching ears can be the start of an infection that could hamper their health tremendously. It is imperative to seek out treatment as soon as you see the signs.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.9 Min

You might have noticed your cat scratching her ears without stopping.

If your cat seems to be scratching ears and shaking their head, it might be due to more severe conditions or parasites. It won't be enjoyable for you, but more importantly for your cat, it is necessary to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

A cat scratching ears and shaking head is quite common to see in your pet, but any amount of scratching can cause irritation, abrasions and might even break the skin. Check your cat's ears for any infection, irritation, inflammation, or bleeding.

If you find these ear infection symptoms, it is crucial to provide an antibiotic or apply topical antibacterial ointments and creams. Still, all these should be used only by the advice of a veterinarian.

This treatment should avoid further discomfort and infection. Cats are known to carry a lot of bacteria and germs under the claws, which result in allergies.

This behavior of cats makes them highly susceptible to bacterial infection. If your cat has an open wound, its claws will deposit viruses, parasites, and bacteria into that area. So, it is important to take notice; otherwise, your cat may cause harm by searching its ears.

There can be various reasons due to which cats usually scratch their ears. The diagnosis is sometimes challenging, so it is advised to take the opinion of a veterinarian first.

Allergies are known to make a cat itchy occasionally. Parasites can also make a cat scratch its ears.

You might find signs of ear mites, ticks, and fleas in the cat's ears. The animals will try hard to remove these ear mites from the ear canal, resulting in excessive scratching and ear infections. Even dirt can make a cat have itchy ears.

The best thing to do is to take good care of your cat's ears and the cat itself in these conditions. If it does not help, taking your pet to the veterinarian for treatments is the best option for the excellent health of the feline friend.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about why do dogs howl at night and can cat eat chocolate here on Kidadl?

What does it mean when a cat scratches its ears?

A cat scratching its ear can be a symptom of the most common cat ear problems. If you see the signs of allergies early on, take the cat to the vet immediately.

A kitty will show early symptoms of the following kind. Follow us for a more detailed review not usually seen by the naked eye of a pet owner.

Some of the commonly seen symptoms of ear problems that affect these animals include scratching and pawing near the ears and head, ears that are sensitive to touch, tilting of the cat's head to one side, poor balance and disorientation, and frequent head shaking.

It is also essential to check the cat's ear canal for redness, swelling, foul smell, black, yellow or brown discharge, and ear wax.

You may also notice hearing loss (complete or partial), irritability in the pet, or bleeding in their ears.

Common medical issues include ear mites seen in young kittens and cats alike. Ear mites are parasites that affect the ears and the skin near them in both cats and dogs.

Ear mites look like tiny white dots. The parasite feeds off the ear wax and skin oils and lives on the skin of the ear canal. Ear mite infections can lead to ear infections as well as itchy ears.

Scratches and itching can also be due to an allergic reaction to something related to food or the environment. Allergies are common and can lead to many infections in the cat's ear and the head area if treatment is not received sooner.

Food allergies can also lead to ear infections. Food allergy includes fish and milk. Some other common triggers a cat may be subjected to are dust mites and pollens that can cause ear infections in the cat's ear canal and its surrounding area.

This can also cause hair loss. So visiting a vet is the best option if you see your cats scratching their ears.

What to do if your cat is scratching its ears?

It becomes troublesome for humans when they see their cats scratching their ears. It can bring fear, too, as cats may become allergic to many different substances.

If your cats are constantly affected by allergies and ear infections, you should take your pet to a vet or dermatologist for an examination as soon as possible. Humans love their pets and are known to develop unique relationships with their cats.

So one would quickly see when the pet cats develop symptoms of an infection. There are treatments for ear polyps (ear mass in a cat's ear) too, but before applying that, a diagnosis from a vet is essential.

Treatments should be done, and medication should be given so that the mass does not ever come back. If the inflammation stays, it could bring more ear polyps in the future.

Remember to always ask your vet before using any medication on your pets. An ear is a vital part of the body, and treat it with utmost care. If the doctor agrees, treat the infection with an antibiotic or apply creams and antibacterial ointments to help reduce the discomfort.

Ear mites can affect a cat ear and, if not treated quickly, can cause many problems in the future.

Ear Mites In Cats

Ear mites are very common in young cats and adults that spend more time out of the house. An ear mite can easily travel from one cat to another.

The parasites known as ear mites are known to affect a lot of cats. If you see your cat shake its head and scratch around the neck, head, and ears, you can assume the presence of ear mites.

These tiny white dot-shaped parasites called ear mites will infect a cat's ear, and you will see a dark brown to black discharge in the cat's ear. Take the pet to the vet immediately if you find the presence of these ear mites.

Treatment Of Ear Mites In Cats

There are different ways to get rid of ear mites from a cat's ear.

There are parasite-killing medicines available that can get these mites out with a single dose. Cat itchy ears home remedy includes cleaning the ears thoroughly. Once the wax and other debris are out of the ears, you can use medications to get the ear mites out.

However, if there is swelling, it is recommended to treat with the help of a doctor. The veterinarian might also give other medicines to get rid of the mites. These preventive medications will not allow the ear mites to come back again.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for cat scratching ears, then why not take a look at can dogs get lice or can ferrets eat cat food.


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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi Raturi picture

Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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