Ear problems in cats – swollen, itchy, red, hot or sore
- Ear problems can be very painful, and should always been checked by a vet.
- There are many different problems that can affect any one of the three main sections of a cat’s ear.
- The ear has three main parts:
- The outside ear (ear flap, ear canal and ear drum)
- The middle ear (for hearing)
- The inner ear (for hearing and balance).
Signs of an ear problem can include:
- Ear scratching
- Head shaking
- Smelly ear(s)
- Hot, swollen ear(s)
- Discharge or bleeding from the ear
- Painful ear(s) – your cat may not want to be stroked
- Head tilt (holding head to one side)
- Loss of balance
- Flickering eye movements.
There are many different ear problems your cat could develop:
Ear infections occur when bacteria or yeast overgrows inside the ear.
Parasites such as ear mites cause an intense itch and often lead to ear infections.
Ears bleed a lot – read our first aid advice.
If a blood vessel inside the ear bursts, it’s likely to cause a blood blister in the ear flap called an aural haematoma.
Something inside the ear
Sometimes objects (such as grass seeds) get stuck inside the ear and cause irritation.
Tumours on/in the ear can be benign or malignant. Two common tumours are squamous cell carcinomas on the ear flap and polyps inside the ear.
Vestibular disease is an inner ear problem affects balance.
Published: May 2019
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst