Itchy Ears In Cats: Causes And Solutions

Does your cat have itchy ears? Although cats are masters at covering when something’s wrong, it’s quite obvious when their ears are bothering them. Here are some possible causes and solutions for itchy ears in cats:

itchy ears in cats


Food Allergy

Many cats develop allergies to chicken or beef, and one way the allergy manifests itself is by giving your cat itchy ears. If your cat is allergic to his current food, switch to a limited ingredient formula with novel proteins such as duck, rabbit or venison.

Try the new diet for 6-8 weeks and watch for signs of improvement.  Check the ingredients in treats you give your cat, too. Steer away from those that contain ingredients that may aggravate your cat’s allergy.

Environmental Allergy

This can be a problem especially during the spring when so many trees and plants are blooming. Some cats develop allergies to pollen, mold or even dust mites. Your veterinarian can perform an allergy test to find the exact triggers for your cat. If the condition is temporary, there are some over-the-counter medications that will provide relief. Check with your veterinarian for dosages and safe meds before using any over-the-counter medications.


Chronic inflammation or ear infections cause these benign growths. IFor small polyps, prescription ear drops  often take care of the problem. Larger growths can be surgically removed by your veterinarian.

Bacterial or Yeast Infections

Causes of yeast infections are moisture trapped in the inner ear, food allergies or hormonal imbalances. Food allergies often manifest by skin irritation, and that irritation can make cat’s ears more susceptible to yeast infection.

Hormonal imbalance compromises the immune system, making a cat more susceptible to opportunistic yeast infection.

It’s important to determine the root cause of these infections to prevent recurrence. When linked back to food allergy, dietary changes are

needed. Hormonal imbalance may require additional treatment and/or medication to regulate.

Ear Mites

Cats that have been in shelters, or are strays often have ear mites. Once infected, cats often develop an allergy to the mites, causing the extreme itchiness. Often, the ear canals will have a secretion that looks very similar to coffee grounds.

The treatment is quite easy. For adults cats and those over 3 months old, a prescription medication called Revolution applied every four weeks clears the problem. Mites are easily transmitted between cats, so in multi-cat households, all cats must be treated.


Regardless of the cause of itchy ears for your cat, don’t use cotton swabs in an attempt to clean his ears. The swabs can damage cat’s ears if inserted too far into the ear canal.

To find the cause of your cat’s ear problem and determine the best treatment, check with your veterinarian.


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.