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Common ear problems in cats

The cat's ear consists of the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Unfortunately, diseases can arise in all these parts. The ones that are easiest to detect are naturally those that affect the visible outer ear. Here you can read more about the most common ear problems in cats.

How does a cats ear work?

The cat's ear is divided into three parts; the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear consists of the ear lobe and the ear canal with a vertical and horizontal auditory canal. The outer ear ends at the eardrum. Inside the eardrum is the middle ear, which consists of the air-filled tympanic cavity and the three auditory bones called the anvil, malleus and stirrup. The inner ear consists of two labyrinthine sections: the bony labyrinth and the membranous labyrinth.

Blood ear

The root cause of cats suffering from ear bleeding is often ear mange or ear inflammation. The itching causes cats to scratch and shake their heads, a blood vessel in the ear then bursts and fills the earlobe with blood. Sometimes ear bleeding can also form if your cat has been bitten by another cat.

Ear scabies

Ear scabies is a parasitic disease that manifests itself through varying degrees of itching. The disease is caused by parasites that mainly live in the ear canals but also around the cat's ears. The ear canals can be filled with black-brown secretions and the scabies can cause severe itching, but not all cats get severe itching.

Ear inflammation (Otitis externa)

Otitis is shown by the cat scratching a lot in and around the ear. Common symptoms are that the cat's ear becomes red, gets visible black/brown wax in the ears and smells bad. In addition to ear infections, cats can also get inflammation from bacteria, fungi or neoplasms.


Deafness sometimes affects old cats. If your cat's hearing has deteriorated, you should contact a veterinarian to rule out ear disease which could be causing the cat's hearing loss. If necessary, the cat's hearing can be tested with special equipment available at larger animal hospitals.

There are also hereditary problems with hearing. Some cats can be born deaf or hard of hearing, especially cats that are completely white and have blue eyes.

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