Cats, like most other animals, can experience ear infections, an unpleasant condition that requires attention. It is important to consult a veterinarian if irritation is suspected in one or both ears.

Among the many reasons for ear infection in cats, excels the ear mite itself as one of the most common, especially in cats that stay outdoors and socialize with other cats. Regardless of the cause, it is crucial to have the condition examined as quickly as possible.

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Written by our vet

Symptoms of ear infection in cats

  • Shaking of the head
  • The cat scratches itself with its paw or rubs its head against things
  • Visible earwax
  • Redness, swelling and crusting
  • Acid or unpleasant smell
  • Pain to touch
  • Reduced hearing and balance problems

Anatomy of the cat's ears 

The cat's ears, like those of other mammals, consist of three structural areas: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear includes the outer pinna (pinna) and the ear canal, where sound vibrations are transmitted from the external environment.

Causes of ear infections in cats

Ear infection in cats is often caused by ear mites, but can also be caused by viruses in the upper respiratory tract. Bacteria and fungi may also be involved secondarily, which requires thorough assessment and treatment by a veterinarian.

Other potential causes include:

  • Allergy
  • Excessive earwax
  • Narrow ear canals due to anatomy, race, tumor or polyp
  • Foreign bodies in the ear (meaning that the cat has got something in the ear)


Diagnosis begins with microscopic analysis of ear secretions. If viral infection is suspected, a virus sample is sent to a laboratory for further analysis.


Prevention is the key to maintaining good ear health in cats. Regular ear inspection, especially for breeds with long ears, can help detect any problems early. Also avoid using sharp objects to clean the ears, as this can cause damage.

Treatment of ear infections in cats

If you suspect an ear infection in your cat, you should see us immediately. The treatment depends on the cause of the ear infection. Ear flushing (ear cleaning), a gentle process with warm salt water, is often necessary. We prefer ear flushing at A-Vet, as it gently cleans the ear canal without causing further inflammation. Using a videoscope enables a more thorough assessment of the ear canal and eardrum.

It is important to check the integrity of the tympanic membrane, as up to 50% of cats with ear infections may also suffer from otitis media, which requires specific treatment.

Ear infections caused by viruses can be challenging to treat, as there are currently no drugs against viruses. per today The vet will guide you through proper care to relieve symptoms and promote good health.

Symptoms in cats

A black and white cat with green eyes looking at the camera.