Why Are My Cat’s Ears Itchy
If your cat seems to be scratching its ears and shaking its head, it could be due to several different conditions or parasites. They can all be incredibly annoying to your pet cat, so you should take him or her to a veterinarian to be checked out, diagnosed, and properly treated.
However, there are some things that you can do as the owner to attempt to help. First, you should begin by inspecting your cat’s ears. If irritation, inflammation, or bleeding is occurring, it could be due to many different problems.
Any amount of scratching can cause abrasions, irritation, and breaks in the skin to occur. It is wise to give your cat an antibiotic and to apply topical antibacterial ointments and creams to avoid further infection and discomfort. Cats carry lots of bacteria and germs under their claws, and this is made worse with the use of a litter box. This makes them highly susceptible to infection, especially when the claws introduce viruses, parasites, and bacteria into open wounds. When your cat begins scratching its ears and shaking its head, it is time to take a look!
Ear Infections And Ear Mites
Cats do get ear infections, just as dogs do. In fact, of all the reasons for head shaking in a cat, an ear infection is the most common cause. When you bring your cat to the vet for head shaking, your vet will first visualize your cat’s ear canals with the aid of an otoscope. This allows them to evaluate any potential inflammation within the canal as well as to determine whether the tympanic membrane, also known as the ear drum, is intact or not. This step is important as some ear medications can be toxic to the inner ear.
Once your vet has been able to check the status of your cat’s ear drums, they will take samples of the discharge from your cat’s ears. From there, they will microscopically evaluate these swabs. On the scope, your vet may see either cocci or rod-shaped bacteria, budding yeast, or ear mites.
Why Do Dogs Or Cats Shake Their Heads
As mentioned, there are several reasons why animals may shake their heads, and the majority of them relate in one way or another to their ears.
- Excessive amount of ear wax
- Grass seed or other types of foreign bodies lodged in the ear canal
- Fly bites to the ear tips
- Polyps or masses in the ear canal
- Immune-medicated disease
Why Is My Cat Shaking Its Head
Dr. Bartley Harrison is a veterinarian with more than 15 years of professional veterinary experience treating dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, and small mammals, with a specific focus on Emergency Medicine. Dr. Harrison is part of The Spruce Pets veterinary review board.
A cat that has suddenly taken to shaking its head incessantly may have a medical condition that could range from minor to serious. Whether the issue is an underlying ear infection or a more serious problem, you will want to get to the bottom of it quickly and consult your veterinarian so that you can begin treatment and your cat can start to feel some relief.
Natural Home Remedy To Prevent Infections
There aren’t any natural remedies that’ll cure ear infections, but there is one to prevent them: Regular ear cleaning at home.
“I recommend cleaning your cat’s ears at least once a month,” Grant says. “You can get your cat used to it by making it a positive experience. Start by massaging the ears first to get your cat used to them being touched. Offer treats for positive reinforcement, too.”
Once your cat tolerates his ears being touched, you can put some ear wash on a cotton ball and wipe down the inside of your kitty’s ears. Another option: Creating an ear cleansing solution at home with a mix of half hydrogen peroxide and half water.
Regular cleaning of the ears and keeping your cat indoors are the best strategies for preventing ear infections. If your cat gets a second ear infection though, it’s time to consider allergy testing. Discovering what’s at the root of chronic ear infections can help you get rid of them once and for all.
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Why Does My Cat Keep Patting My Face
- To get your attention. Yes,cats definitely need attention,and to be honest,a lot of cats need way more attention than many would assume cats ever could need,…
- As a form of affection,like he/she is petting you. …
- As a form of mimicry,copying your petting actions and returning them back to you. …
Video answer: Ask the Vet: Why does my cat keep scratching his ear?
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Are A Cat’s Itchy Ears Always A Problem
When itching and scratching can be signs of issues that can pose serious health consequences, it may raise the question “Should a cat ever scratch its ears?”
Just like us, kittens and cats get itchy too. Therefore the answer is yes.
However, how much scratching is too much? Personally, I would say that itching three times per hour is a good indicator that something is aggravating your kitty’s ear.
It never hurts to occasionally check your cat’s ear for signs of irritation, dirt, or infection every few days when paying them attention. It is quick and easy to do. By doing this, you will develop a heightened awareness of your animal’s everyday health, which is a very important trait of a responsible pet owner.
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How To Stop My Cat From Scratching Her Ear
- Allergies Sometimes Make Cats Itchy One of these issues could simply be an allergy. Allergies in cats are common,and they can have a wide variety of triggers. …
- Parasites Might Cause a Cat to Scratch If this is not the issue,then it may be related to parasites alone. …
- Dirt Can Make a Cat’s Ears Itch
Foreign Object In Cats Ears Or Nose
Grass seeds and other tiny objects often find their way into a cats ear and get lodged there. When that happens, they can make your feline friend to shake head a lot in a bid to force them out of the ear. The cat may also constantly paw at the effected ear.
If you think that your cat has something in the ear, take her to a vet for proper removal of the same. You should never poke around your cats ears as that puts her at risk of permanent loss of hearing.
The only exception is clearly visible objects that are within your reach. In that case, hold them with forceps, then pull them out gently. Finish by rinsing out the ear with a saline solution.
When foreign objects are lodged into the nose, your cat will keep pawing at it and sneezing.
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Since Primary Ear Infections Are Uncommon In Cats Should I Be Concerned That Something Else Is Going On
“Normally cats are very resistant to ear infections.”
Normally cats are very resistant to ear infections. Therefore, if a cat develops otitis externa, and especially if it recurs, it is necessary to look for an underlying cause such as an ear mite infestation, an unusual shape of the ear canal, or a disease affecting the cat’s immune system.
Recovery And Management Of Ear Mites
Managing your cats recovery is just as important as the initial treatment. It is tempting to stop administering medication when the symptoms start to resolve, especially in cats that may be difficult to restrain. However, failure to treat for the entire period may result in a relapse of symptoms, as mites in different stages of the life cycle may survive. Additionally, treating all other at-risk pets in the household will help reduce the risk of recurrence and prevent the spread of the mites.
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How Do I Know If My Cat Has Ear Mites Or An Infection
The symptoms of ear mites and ear infections are very similar, and they both cause itchiness, scratching, and brown discharge in the ears. To decide whether there are ear mites, your veterinarian will need to look at a sample of debris from your cats ear. If the cause of the symptoms is ear mites, theyll be able to see them crawling around amongst the ear wax when they look under the microscope. If they dont see any ear mites, they can look for bacteria and choose an appropriate antibiotic.
How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Ear Mites In Cats
The life cycle of an ear mite usually lasts three weeks which means that you should wait at least that long for your cat can be rid of the microscopic insects. The itchiness should start to subside as the mite treatment for your cat takes effect, but you should contact your vet if your cats symptoms dont improve.
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Diagnosing Ear Mites In Cats
Your veterinarian will examine your cat for clinical signs as well as assessing their overall condition. Then your veterinarian may recommend taking a skin scraping or ear swab to look for signs of ear mites, like the mites themselves and their eggs. If ear mites are not found, but their presence is still suspected, your veterinarian may recommend treating for ear mites anyway. In these cases, a diagnosis is made once symptoms begin to resolve.
Ear mites are a common, routine problem for cats. Depending on your cats condition, however, your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostics to search for other underlying diseases, like secondary bacterial or yeast ear infections.
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Some Of The Common Cat Ear Problems
Ear mites are quite common in young kittens and in cats that spend some time outdoors. Easily passed between cats, ear mites are tiny parasites that can affect the ears and skin around the ears.
You can suspect mites if you see your cat shakes its head and scratches around the ears, head, and neck. If you see a dry dark brown to black ear discharge in a cats ears, it may be due to presence of ear mites. To confirm this diagnosis, a veterinary consultation is advised as other problems can appear similar.
Outer Ear Canal Infections:
This is the most common ear problem as infection can occur in ears due to many medical conditions. Ear infection is general caused by bacteria, or yeast , or possibly due to both bacteria and yeast. Bacterial and fungal outer ear infections can look like that of mite infestations. A range of other signs can be noted including redness or swelling of ears, any type of ear discharge, a foul odour, etc.
Ear infections in cats should always be confirmed by a veterinarian prior to treatment. Some ears may look infected but may not need the same treatment as the previous ear infection in your cat. Moreover, if an ear infection or problem appears recurrent, even occurring as less as once a year, it is time to find out why your cat is prone to ear infections. Finding the cause of ear problems will prevent more severe problems and complications in the future.
Why Does My Cat Keep Shaking Their Head 8 Possible Reasons
If youve noticed your cat shaking its head more than usual recently, it could be caused by several factors. It could be something really simple, like a scratch, that you can treat at home, or it might be something more serious, like an infection that will require a trip to the vet.
Its easy to feel like were overreacting when it comes to our pets. Were often playing a guessing game because they cant just tell us whats wrong. We will go through the potential reasons your cat is shaking its head, but well also let you know if it requires a trip to the vet.
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How To Treat Ear Mites In Cats
Ear mites in cats are a treatable condition. Both systemic and topical treatments are available, including systemic selamectin, moxidectin, ivermectin, and milbemycin. Your veterinarian may also clean your cats ears with an appropriate cleaning solution.
In some cases, additional treatment measures may be necessary to treat secondary infections. Scratching can open your cats ears to fungal and bacterial ear infections, which will require medication to resolve.
Proliferative And Necrotizing Otitis Externa In Cats
Proliferative and necrotizing otitis externa is a rare disease in cats, and the cause is unknown. It can affect cats from 2 mo to 12 yr of age, with most cases occurring at 4 yr of age. No breed predilection has been reported, but it may be more common in males. It most commonly affects the inner surface of the ear and the area near the ear canal, but it can also extend into the ear canal. Other skin surrounding the ears, eyes, and mouth may also be affected. Affected areas may have thick crusts that may bleed or ulcerate. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections may worsen the condition. Most cats appear do not pay much attention to the affected areas, but mild itching and discomfort may follow when ulceration develops. Diagnosis is confirmed by a skin biopsy. Some cases may clear up on their own, but only after 12 to 24 mo. Treatment with topical medication may resolve the signs.
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Middle And Inner Ear Infections
Typically an ear infection starts at the outer part of a cats ear. From here, the middle and inner of a cats ear can become infected if the bacteria has spread. Its potentially more serious than an outer ear infection as its covering a wider area and going deeper into the ear canal.
Some of the symptoms and signs for us to spot still the same, your cat will keep shaking their head and scratching at their ears. Some other signs to look out for are
- Tilting their head
- Difficulty with balance and distance perception
- A decrease in their appetite
- Excessive blinking or squinting
Middle and inner ear infections need to be examined by a vet. They may even take an x-ray or do a CT scan. Your vet will then prescribe the appropriate treatment to deal with the severity of the infection.
Why Is My Dog Scratching His Ear And Shaking His Head
If your dog is scratching his ears and shaking his head at the same time, there is a high possibility that your pet is undergoing some type of ear infection. Even though this isnt true for all cases, but for most of the time, you can reasonably say for sure that the source of irritation is originating from his ears.
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