Ear Infections In Cats: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Kitten during examination at a veterinarian's office

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Ear infections in cats can affect both the inner ear and outer ear. Those affecting the inner ear are known as otitis media. Those affecting the outer ear are called otitis externa.

In general, otitis media infections can be more severe and dangerous to a cat’s health than otitis externa infections. If you see the signs of either type of ear infection in your cat, then you must get to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for ear infections in cats.

Symptoms Of Ear Infections In Cats

Ear infections in cats can usually be detected at first by noticing a cat starting to scratch or itch their ears more than usual.

Beyond that, some of the common symptoms include:

  • Discharge (that smells noticeably bad)
  • Build up of wax
  • Redness or scaly areas around the ear
  • Showing a loss of balance
  • Seeming to hear less well

Causes Of Ear Infections In Cats

Veterinarian examining the ear of a cat

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Causes of ear infections in cats can vary.

If you can rule out ear mites causing the ear infections, some of the most common causes include:

  • Build up of too much yeast
  • Build up of too much wax
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Presence of polyps in the ear
  • An immune disorder
  • Presence of a foreign body in the ear
  • A negative reaction to medication

Treatments For Ear Infections In Cats

If your veterinarian suspects that your cat is suffering from an ear infection, they’ll conduct a thorough physical examination and pay special attention to the ears and surrounding areas.

Sometimes vets sedate cats for the exam due to the sensitivity of their ears. They may also take wax samples further analysis. In more severe cases, they may even order X-rays.

Once your vet determines the cause of the ear infection, they’ll often prescribe a course of antibiotics or antifungal medicine. As ever, if your vet prescribes a course of medicine, you must adhere to the correct dosage and complete the full course of medication, even if your cat appears to have already recovered.

Your vet may also suggest a professional ear cleaning to keep your cat’s ears in their best condition.

Has your cat ever had an ear infection? What did your vet prescribe for treatment? Let us know in the comments section below!