Causes of Ear Infections in Cats

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Ear Infections


Ear infections in cats are most often caused by environmental allergens or parasites. In some cases, ear infections in cats can be caused by trauma, underlying diseases, or tumors.

Causes of Ear Infections in Cats

Ear Mites

One of the most common, and well known, causes of ear infections in cats is ear mites. These mites burrow deep within a cat’s ears, feed off of the cat’s blood, and they cause intense itching and excessive discharge in the ear. If ear mites are not treated in a timely manner, they can quickly cause secondary bacterial infections to develop. Other types of parasites that can cause ear infections in cats are scabies and fleas.


In some cases, environmental allergens can cause ear infections to develop in cats. These allergens may be certain types of grasses or pollens, chemicals, or food ingredients. In other cases, hot humid environments cause ear infections to develop in cats due to out of control bacteria and yeast infections that thrive in these climates.

Underlying Medical Infection

Underlying medical infections can also lead to ear infections in cats. Cats that are suffering from diseases which attack the immune system, such as Lupus, FeLV, or FIV, often develop ear infections as their immune system breaks down.


Cats may also develop ear infections due to ear trauma, tumors in the ear, or even if an object becomes lodged deep within the ear. Though these are rarer causes of ear infections in cats, veterinarians still see many cats each year that are suffering from ear infections due to these causes.

Ear trauma can occur from constant itching, scratching, and head shaking from allergies, and tumors in the ear may be caused by some types of cancers. In some cases objects, such as plant stickers or seeds, may become lodged in the cat’s ear and cause an ear infection to develop.

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