Cat Scratching Ears

If you find your cat scratching his ears very often, it may be signs of an infection. Bacterial infections, fungal infections and parasites are known to give rise to symptoms like itching, tilting of the head and ear inflammation. Since the cat's ears are very sensitive and prone to infections, you need to examine your pet's ears periodically to identify any abnormalities.

Ear Mites

The most common reason why cats scratch their ears is ear mite infection. Ear mites are parasites that attach themselves to the pet's body and feed on oils and tissue present in the ear canal. The pet excessively scratches his ears and causes open sores. These sores lead to ear infections that are often very severe in nature. Ear mite infections cause your pet a lot of pain and discomfort and should be treated at the earliest.


In order to find out why the pet is excessively scratching his ears, the vet will perform a thorough physical exam and use an otoscope to examine the ear canal. An otoscope is a magnifying tool that helps identify any infections present in the canal. Mite infections can also be detected with the help of an otoscope.

Apart from this the vet will also use a swab to extract a sample of the ear discharge for laboratory analysis. If the pet has any visible swelling or inflammation in the ear, bacterial or fungal culture tests may be performed.

Treatment of Ear Conditions

Since outer ear infections can quickly spread to the inner ear, it's important to confirm diagnosis and initiate treatment as soon as possible. In rare cases, infections of the inner ear canal have to be treated with surgical intervention. Bacterial infections are treated with a course of antibiotic medication. Fungal infections may be more difficult to treat but the vet will prescribe ear drops and anti-inflammatory medications to bring relief to the pet.

Although there are several ear cleansing solutions that are commercially available, it's important to avoid the use of any over the counter products without obtaining vet approval. For the treatment to be effective, medications should be prescribed on time and in the right amounts. Some pets may develop a few side effects after taking antibiotics, and these reactions should be brought to the notice of the vet.

Commercially Available Ear Medications:

  • Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution Hydrocortisone Free
  • Eradimite Ear Mite Treatment
  • Nolvasan Otic
  • Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser 
  • Tresaderm

Tips for Pet Owners

If your cat suffers from chronic ear infections that cause excessive itching, you should consider using herbal products or natural medicines because they're safer for use. These herbal remedies don't cause side effects and are ideal for long term use.

The cat's ears should be checked frequently and if the pet has excessive hair growth under the ear flaps, it's best to trim the fur. Also avoid using canine ear medication on your cat because the dosage varies for cats and dogs.