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Feline Ear Infection - Cat Ear Infection

Updated on July 12, 2010

Ear Infections in Cats

Ear infections aren't typically very common among cats, but it is possible. Just make sure that if you think that your cat may have an ear infection, you get it diagnosed asĀ  soon as possible because ear infections can become chronic and may lead to deafness or even facial paralysis.

Cause of Ear Infection

Generally, an ear infection is caused by some other underlying illness or problem. The most common factors of an ear infection are:

  • an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria
  • wax buildup in the ear canal
  • thick hair in the ear canal
  • hypothyroidism
  • an autoimmune disease
  • diabetes
  • ruptured eardrum
  • improper cleaning
  • foreign bodies in the ear or body like tumors or the bristle from grass
  • an environmental irritant

In some cases, the cat's breed may make it more prone to developing an ear infection. Persians are prone to ear infections, as are cat breeds that are susceptible to diabetes, allergies, and breeds that are prone to immune diseases,

Signs of an Ear Infection in a Cat

The most common signs of an ear infection in a pet cat can include one or more of the following signs,

  • physical discomfort
  • scratching or pawing at the ear
  • shaking or tilting his head
  • black or yellow discharge from the ear that may look like coffee grounds
  • redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
  • waxy buildup on or near the ear canal
  • odor
  • hearing loss
  • loss of balance

Nature's Way - Pau D'Arco Inner Bark, 545 mg, 180 capsules
Nature's Way - Pau D'Arco Inner Bark, 545 mg, 180 capsules

Open the caps to get the powder inside, mix with olive oil, treat your cat's ear infection naturally


Feline Ear Infection Treatment

After diagnosing an ear infection, most vets will treat your cat with an antibiotic, antifungal, or an antiparasitic medication. Generally, you'll received ear drops that will have to be administered throughout the day.

When administering the ear drops, it may be easier to trim the hair around the ear canal. Lift the ear flab and drop in the medication into the lowest part of the ear canal, and then massage the base of the ear to help the medication work its way into the ear. When you let go of the cat, he may shake his head; it's normal to see dissolved was fly out of the ear. When your cat has settled a minute, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the inside ear flap.

Natural Ear Infection Treatment for Cats

Because some cats may be allergic to some medications or some pet parents just prefer natural treatments, it's always good to check out your options, especially if you're worried about the side effects.

  • You can use a diluted white vinegar to help revitalized the chemical balance in your cat's ears, as it will remove the debris. You will want to pour a small amount of the diluted mix into the ear canal and massage the ear, working the diluted white vinegar throughout the canal. Then wipe the inside of the ear using a cotton ball. You can clean the ear once a day until the infection starts to improve.
  • Some claim that pau d'arco, an herb that originated in South America, is a good antifungal treatment. The herb works fast to help eliminate bacteria and fungus in the ear. You mix it with mineral oil, and put a few drops in your cats ear 2 or 3 times a day for a few days.
  • You can use almond oil or olive oil to help kill ear mites, if your cat's ear infection was caused by ear mites. This may take up to 3 to 4 weeks using 3 to 7 drops a day, depending on the severity.
  • Gelsemium can be used to help treat severe cases of ear infection in which your cat is suffering loss of balance or severe head tilt issues. You want to administer one tablet 3 times a day for about 3 to 4 days.

Cat Ear Infection Natural Treatments

PetAlive Ear Dr. - Ear Drops for Pets (30ml)
PetAlive Ear Dr. - Ear Drops for Pets (30ml)

PetAlive Ear contains a blend of natural, herbal ingredients in a medicinal olive oil base, that are selected to treat and prevent ear infections and ear mites without the side effects that you may see with prescription drugs. This treatment will provide safe and effective relief from your cat's ear problems, as well as prevent the spread of mites to another cat. The product treats ear infection, ear mites, as well as reduces ear inflammation, pain, itching, and discomfort.


Prevent Ear Infections

It's always easier to prevent than it is to treat an illness. Can you imagine having to hold down your cat while you administer liquid drops into his ear? It may be hard to imagine.

The best way to prevent an infection is to check your cat's ears regularly. Look for redness, residue, or odor. You want healthy ears with a pale pink color with every inspection with little to no wax or debris.

It's also a good idea to clean your cat's ears at least once or twice a week with an ear cleaning solution. Make sure to dry out the ears and keep the canals dry after each cleaning. You don't want to soak his ears with the solution.

Cat Ear Cleaner

Vet Solutions Ear Cleansing Solution 8 oz
Vet Solutions Ear Cleansing Solution 8 oz

These drops are formulated to clean, dry, acidify, and deodorized your cat's ear canal.


Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. Consult a veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns so that you can have him checked out, diagnosed, and treated.


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    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      I think my kitty may have one - time to take her to the vet!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Whitney, Good hub. As a cat lover I appreciate this advice. My beautiful cat is healthy right now but it's good to know the signs to look for and I like the idea of a natural treatment.