Everything you need to know about otitis in cats

Otitis in cats is a very common disease , but the truth is that it is often difficult to know what happens to our furry since he is an expert in hiding the pain and discomfort that it can generate.

Therefore, knowing your symptoms will help us to better perceive what is happening to you and what measures we should take from now on so that your health improves.

What is otitis?

Otitis is the inflammation of the epithelium , which lines the ear canal and the pinna. It appears especially in cats that have low defenses, either through the contagion of ear mites or by direct contact with an infested area or animal. Anyway, you also have to know if the animal suffers a trauma or an infection in that area could end with this disease.

There are three types of otitis:



     It affects the ear canal, from the pinna to the eardrum.

  • Otitis media: usually occurs when external otitis has not been well treated. The pinna will be severely affected, and the eardrum will have become inflamed or even ruptured.
  • Internal otitis: it is the inflammation of the inner ear and it generally occurs when the cat has suffered a trauma or because it has had poorly healed otitis externa or media.

What are the causes?

There are many causes of otitis in cats. Let’s see which are the most common:

  • Ectoparasites: such as the Otodectes cynotis species mite, which lodges in the ears, head and neck.
  • Bacteria and fungi: these are opportunistic microorganisms that take advantage of situations such as excess humidity, the presence of foreign bodies, allergies, trauma, or irritations to infest the feline’s ears.
  • Foreign bodies: such as spikes for example. The animal will try to remove this foreign body without success normally, causing otitis. The veterinarian must remove it with the appropriate tools.
  • Trauma: if you have suffered an accident in which the ear area has been affected, otitis can occur.
  • Tumors: if the cat is older and usually has otitis problems, it is probably due to a tumor.
  • Immune diseases: Because these diseases weaken the immune system, opportunistic microorganisms take advantage of the occasion to infest the cat’s ears.
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps: these are normal proliferations that are detected in the middle ear, in the auditory canal and in the nasopharyngeal mucosa.
  • Other causes: problems like scabies or other types of diseases, such as metabolic or endocrine, can cause otitis.

What are the symptoms?


The symptoms of otitis in cats are the following :

    • Pain in the area
    • Head shaking
    • Head tilt
    • Redness and swelling of the ear area
    • Itching that can range from moderate to severe
    • Hearing loss


    • Bad smell in the ears
    • Presence of mites in the ears


  • Hair loss in the affected areas due to excessive scratching
  • Irritation and exudation of the affected area

How is it treated?

Treatment of otitis in cats will depend a lot on the cause. For this reason, the first thing we have to do is take him to the vet to examine him and tell us what to do . Never – I insist, never – must be given a medication to the furry without first consulting a professional.

Thus, your procedure will be:

  • Foreign bodies: if the cat has a foreign body, it will be removed with suitable tools and then at home we will treat it with otic medications as you have told us.
  • Bacteria: it will be cleaned with water or physiological saline and then a specific antibacterial eye drops will be recommended.
  • Fungi: if you have fungus, he will prescribe the appropriate fungicide product.
  • Ectoparasites: he will recommend an antiparasitic (such as a pipette) and a specific acaricidal eye drops. In addition, we will have to give him anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation and to relieve pain.

In severe cases the professional will perform a surgical treatment.

Should you wear an Elizabethan collar?

Surely yes . From my own experience I know that the cat HATES having to wear an Elizabethan collar, but it is very important to wear it if the vet has advised us as this will not scratch the ear and it can heal much better. Products like feliway (you can buy it here ) and spending as much time with him as possible will help you feel somewhat more comfortable.

Can otitis in cats be prevented?


Not quite, but we can do several things:



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