It’s a common sight to see cats scratching their ears. It’s an instinctual response they have to itchiness and discomfort. Cats will often show signs of this scratching by shaking their head or rubbing against a leg. This habit seems normal but it also can be caused by some health problems. So, why do cats scratch their ears?

Cats scratch their ears for a variety of reasons, including to rid themselves of ear mites or parasites. Cats may also scratch their ears to relieve itchiness caused by allergies, infection, irritant substances in the ear canal, or even excessive wax production. And yet another reason for this is to signal that they are stressed or experiencing difficulty hearing.

This article will explore the reasons behind cats scratching their ears in detail.

The reason why do cats scratch their ears in details

The reason why do cats scratch their ears in details

Cat’s scratching their ears is an issue that many cat owners know about and talk about. It is common for cat owners to underestimate this problem because they don’t understand what it means to scratch their ears for a cat.

We will explore these different causes and how to help with these problems in detail.

Something in the ear

A cat could be scratching its ear because there is something in or on it that is irritating its ear canal. The cat’s ear canal can be irritated by dirt, debris, wax, or other substances.

If the problem is not addressed properly, the irritation may turn into an infection. Scratching or shaking their head can cause microscopic particles to fly into the ear canal and aggravate the irritation.

Because of an infection

Cats scratch their ears often when they become itchy and uncomfortable. This may be a sign of infection. When a cat scratches their ears, it can trap bacteria and dirt in its skin and lose the natural oils to keep the skin soft and healthy – which can lead to an infection.

Ear infection in your cat can be difficult to take care of. To treat it, you will need an antibiotic and a clean water-based solution for irrigating the ear. These two things combined should help clear up your cat’s ear infection quickly and with little trouble. Cleaning the outside of the ear is also important as you want to reduce any bacterial build-up that can lead to more infections.

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Cat owners can help their furry friends by cleaning the outside of the ears to see if there’s anything in there. If they are able to clean out any buildup, their pet should cease scratching after a few days. If the cat is still being irritating, it may be best to bring them in to a vet for further examination.

Signs of an Ear Infection in a Cat

Cats can develop allergies to many things, including foods, environmental allergens, and fleas. Symptoms of an allergy in a cat are usually seen as scratching the ear more often than normal. Some breeds are more predisposed to allergies than others. These are typical for breeds with long hair or very short hair.

Allergies are common in humans as well as pets, and they can affect any part of the body. It’s important to identify the cause of the allergy so that it can be treated appropriately.

Symptoms of cat scratching ears that may cause infection:

Symptoms of cat scratching ears that may cause infection

There are many symptoms of a cat scratching ears, including a thick discharge from the ear, swelling of the ear canal, and a foul odor. If you notice any of these symptoms on your cat, take them to a vet immediately.

Continuous scratching

Do your cat often scratch their ears? Continuous or often scratching is one of the symptoms they can be having a problem near their ears. If your cat scratches ears often, it’s time to check with your vet about what is going on.

Thick discharge from the ear

A thick discharge from the cat ears may indicate an infection or other serious ailment. It can either be fungal in nature, or it can signify a more serious ailment such as mites.

Read More: Are Cat Ear Mites Contagious? Prevention & Treatment.

The discharge is usually brown, black, or yellowish in color and may be accompanied by itchiness. If the ear canal is also infected with yeast then there will also be signs of inflammation.

Swelling of the ear canal

A common symptom of an infection in a cat can be swelling of the ear canal. A blocked ear canal will cause inflammation and draining fluid. This condition is called otitis externa and it can be painful for the animal.

It is often mistaken for allergies, but with a blocked ear canal, you may also notice that your pet’s hearing has been diminished or that they are pawing at their ears frequently.

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Foul odor

When a cat starts to have a foul odor coming from the ears, then one should take their cat to see a veterinarian because it can be a sign of an infection. One common cause for infections in cats is due to bacteria or yeast growing inside their ears as well as accumulated wax.

The bacteria and yeast cause inflammation which results in an unpleasant smell. Although personality can vary, some cats may feel uncomfortable about having these problems and be less willing to groom themselves often.

How to prevent cat from scratching ears

How to prevent cat from scratching ears

Keep their ears as clean as possible

The best way to keep your cat ears clean is by using cotton swabs to remove wax buildup. This will not only keep wax away but also keep bacteria and dirt away.

You can use the cotton swabs any time you feel like it is necessary, or when you are trying to maintain the health of your cat ears. Another good idea that will help is using a natural ear cleaner twice a week.

Dry your cat properly

Drying a cat after bathing can help prevent them from becoming wet. If a cat becomes wet, they may have the urge to clean themselves with their paws as well as lick themselves with their tongues.

The moisture from their fur and saliva can create an environment for bacteria and fungus to grow, which is not good for the health of the kitty. If these organisms are allowed to stay on their fur, they could lead to ear infections or other health problems.

Trim your cat’s nail

This will help to stop scratching ears because trimming the nails in the appropriate manner helps to stop them from scraping against the ear. This can be done by either using sharp clippers or filing down the nails with a file. Both methods work well, but one should take care not to cut too much off as it can lead to complications with an animal’s feet.

Introduce your cat to different surfaces

Introducing your cat to different surfaces can prevent scratching their ear. Cats are great at making themselves comfortable in any area, but not all surfaces will make them happy. Cats like soft objects like carpets, bedding, and towels. Introducing them to new things like hardwood floors or metal surfaces can help keep them from scratching their ear in that spot.

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A cat owner can prevent the cat from scratching its ears by introducing them to different surfaces. Cats are more inclined to scratch surfaces when they are not exposed to them, which can lead to ear infections. By introducing a new surface to the cat at an early age, there is less likelihood of the cat scratching their ears before they get older and more experienced.

How to treat cat ear infection

If you have a cat with an ear infection, it can be difficult to know how to treat the issue. Keep in mind that these infections are usually not life-threatening and will most likely heal on their own. So, how to treat a cat ear infection?

A cat ear infection can be treated by cleaning the area with a diluted vinegar solution to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. A cotton ball dipped in the vinegar solution is then gently rubbed onto the outside of the ear canal, then squeezed out and wiped off. This can be repeated at least 3 times per day for about 7 to 10 days if needed. If using this method, it is best to clean cats’ ears once per week to avoid an infection.

However, if they do not, or if your cat’s infection is very severe, you may want to consider taking him to your veterinarian. Treatment usually involves cleaning the affected area and applying a topical antibiotic ointment to the ear canal. If these treatments don’t work, your veterinarian may recommend a course of antibiotics for your feline friend.


Scratching one’s ears is a common thing to do for any cat. But, why do cats scratch their ears so much in the first place? Cats scratch their ears for a variety of reasons, including to rid themselves of ear mites or parasites. Cats may also scratch their ears to relieve itchiness caused by allergies, infection, irritants in the ear canal, or even due to dry skin near the ear canal.

A veterinarian should always be consulted when cats start scratching their ears excessively. They will typically treat your cat by examining them, checking for ear mites and parasites, and determining what may be causing the problem.


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