Categories: Infection

Natural Cure for Cat’s Ear Infection

A natural cure for cat’s ear infection can become an effective means to end the constant shaking of the head and scratch of the ear that accompanies this common ear problem. While your feline will most likely dislike any remedy that comes in contact with their ultra-sensitive ears, it is important to seek out the safest and least threatening approaches to combating an ear infection.

Caution, gentleness and working within your limits of knowledge are important when administering home treatments to your cat. When necessary seek your veterinarian’s advice. Thanks.

Help please! — If you have personal experience of curing a cat’s ear infection using natural means please leave a comment to pass on your knowledge to others. Many thanks.

Note: Aug 2017 — there are 108 comments on this page. Please explore them.

Symptoms of Cat Ear Infection

A cat suffering an ear infection will often shake its head in an attempt to remove debris and fluid out of the ear, as well as scratch at their ears or the side of their face. The irritation in the ear may also drive a cat to rub their ears or head against carpeting or furniture. After awhile, the ears appear red, irritated, and become painfully inflamed. An unpleasant odor develops, which is accompanied by ear discharge that is black, brown, or yellowish in color.

When a cat is battling a severe infection, they may lose their sense of balance or suffer “head tilt,” which is characterized by the persistent turn of the head that usually indicates an issue with the middle or inner ear. Overall, ear infection in cats is quite uncomfortable because the ear canals are a very sensitive part of feline anatomy. When it comes to keeping an eye out for the symptoms associated with cat’s ear infection, keep in mind that the Persian breed seems more susceptible to ear infections than any other species of cat.

Cleaning Maru’s ears. Still from video.

Causes of Cat’s Ear Infection

When it comes to cat’s ear infection, there are two common diagnoses a veterinarian may conclude: otitis externa (infection of the ear canal) and otitis media (infection of the middle ear). Otitis externa is typically caused by bacteria or related to the overproduction of yeast. Sometimes, an accumulation of wax in the ear; debris; faulty drainage of the ear; and matted hair in the canal is also behind an infection of the ear canal.

Otitis media is typically the result of an ear canal infection that has spread to the middle ear. Sometimes, inappropriate cleansing of the ear causes a rupture in the eardrum that leads to infection. Additionally, the spread of debris and ulceration are also behind the progression of a middle ear infection in cats.

The presence of mites can also cause infection to develop in a cat’s ear. The minuscule parasites are behind the overproduction of wax in the ear because of the irritation they initiate. The excess wax begins to clog the ear, eventually worsening cat ear infection symptoms. Ear mites also cause secondary infections in the ear that involves bacteria and fungus (in the form of yeast). Although a veterinarian visit may not reveal the immediate presence of mites – a noticeable ear infection caused by the irritating parasite is left behind.

Cat’s ear infection is rarely a condition that threatens the life of a feline, but the ear can only tolerate a certain level of inflammation before permanent damage becomes a result. When left untreated, a persistent problem may develop, which can become quite hard to reverse. Sometimes the ear canal will actually close when the infection has become advanced and chronic. While there are some medications that can decrease swollen tissues that allows the canal to open in some cats – others may require surgery to correct this problem. In the worse cases, hearing loss is an unfortunate outcome.

Using a Natural Cure for Cat’s Ear Infection

Traditionally, a veterinarian will prescribe cat antibiotics, antifungal medicines, or another drug on the market. However, many cats undergo a disruption in the normal makeup of the inside ear when taking such remedies. Sometimes, the simplest of ear infections can become a long-term issue when an adverse reaction to antibiotics takes place. Over the years, pet owners have become more interested in the results associated with the use of natural pet cures. As you scan the many natural cures for cat’s ear infection, you will find remedies that come in liquid, as well as tablet form.

When a brownish-pink wax fills the ear canal of your cat, chances are they are suffering a yeast infection that requires a thorough cleaning. Diluted white vinegar helps revitalize the chemical balance in the ears by removing unwanted dirt and debris. It is suggested to pour a small amount into the ear canal, massaging the area before gently wiping the inside of the ear using a cotton ball. Using vinegar is a once-a-day treatment that continues until the ear becomes better.

An herb called pau d’ arco is an inner bark natural cure for cat’s ear infection that originates in South America. This organic antibiotic works fast to eliminate fungi and bacteria. At the first sign of cat ear infection, mix equal parts of pau d’ arco tincture with mineral oil and place several drops into the ears of your cat. For a couple of days, the treatment is given two to three times per day.

When ear mites are the source of a cat ear infection, consider putting a few drops of almond oil or olive oil in each ear, which kills mites and allows the infection to gradually heal. This particular regimen is necessary for three to four weeks – using three to seven drops of oil each day. Sulphur tablets are also considered a well known anti-parasitic used to treat ear mites in cats.

The Holistic Kitty recommends the following for ear mites (see comment):

I used tea tree oil for my kitties ear mites with great success! We continue to use it for routine cleaning also.

Important note: Don’t use tree oil. Please read this article instead – link. I have kept the quote and put a line through it to remind visitors and myself that we must all be careful when considering home treatments. This article was written years ago by another author. It has been updated by me. It is useful but contains warnings. Cat owners are rightly interested in home remedies but sometimes this is borne out of a desire to avoid veterinary costs. That is not necessarily a good reason.

To treat severe cases with a natural cure for cat’s ear infection when a loss of balance or head tilt surfaces, administer one tablet of gelsemium for three to four days (three times daily). Additional natural remedies for cat’s ear infection includes vitamin C (reduces inflammation), an all-natural diet (reduces wax and boosts immune system), and hepar sulph or graphites to treat discharges of pus and foul smells.

Safe Administering of a Natural Cure for Cat’s Ear Infection

When using a natural cure for an infection in the ear, it is important to administer the remedy into the horizontal part of the ear canal. First, gently pull the ear flap straight up, holding it with one hand. Apply a small amount of the remedy into the vertical portion of the ear canal – making sure the ear flap is kept elevated. This position should be held long enough to allow the medication to run down the rest of the canal.

Place one finger in front of the ear flap at the base, as your thumb rests behind and at the base of the ear flap. Massage the ear canal between your finger and thumb until you hear a “squishing” sound, which indicates that the medication has reached the horizontal canal. After releasing the ear, your cat will probably shake his or her head. It is normal to see dissolved wax fall out of the ear when applicable.

Last, clean the outer part of the ear canal and the inside of the ear flap using a cotton ball (not a Q-Tip) that has been soaked in a bit of rubbing alcohol.

Complementary Treatments

This is an addendum and not necessarily to do with infections. Naturopathic veterinarians believe that many ear problems are caused by immune disorders. Diet is important. Vets might check for food intolerance. Some vets will recommend vitamin D supplement for a cat going deaf. Vitamin A is said to help the cochlea function efficiently; a vet may recommend it with vitamin E.

Mild acidic herbal remedies may kill yeast. They may be useful for loosening ear wax. A vinegar/water mixture is sometimes recommended. Olive oil or almond oil may assist in clearing residual wax after an ear infection/infestation.

Marigold can be used for cleaning inflamed ear canals. Ginger is said to help reduce deafness by improving circulation to the ear. Warning: over use of topical herbal solutions can increase the possibility of an inflammatory sensitivity response.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I have spent about 300 euros on veterinary treatment for my cats ear infection. She had alot of dark colored pus and a foul smell. First vet in Portugal gave her MITEX administered directly into the ear. Two weeks later still there. Second vet in France gave me a calendular wash and a cream, he said they were very inflamed. 2 weeks later still there. I took her back, she was seen by another vet in the practice, he said to continue washing out her ears but not so much and no more cream. 2 weeks later still there. A friend gave me Rhus. Tox. which seemed to clear it up for a day. It has come back but more and softer and mid brown. When it dries it is crusty. She is 13 years old. Her brother was PTS last year at the end of a period of auto immune disease. Thing is this, after spending so much money shouldn't I at least have a diagnosis? Otherwise, she is eating and seems ok but does sleep alot but she had been like this for some time as she is partially blind, probably from an accident she had when she was alot younger in which her top palate was split in two and she had several teeth removed, blood was coming from her eyes, she is amazing, she recovered and she is such a sweet cat but her sweetness I fear now is partially because she is ill and in pain but how can I tell?

    • Hi Julia, I think you are right to ask whether she might be in pain or not. Or at least in discomfort. My personal experience is that sleeping a lot can be an indicator of being in pain. Although of course your cat is quite old at 13 years of age that too will make a more likely to sleep.

      My guess is that she is in discomfort. Has a veterinarian diagnosed ear mites? I am in the dark really as to a diagnosis because it is impossible for a layperson to diagnose a cat's condition via a comment but ear infections are quite common in cats.

      However, the signs can be that your cat scratches because of the irritation. This is not happening. There may be an allergic reaction to the mites. You might see dry, crumbly, dark brown, waxy discharge. The discharge may be foul-smelling. Ear mites can be identified by a veterinarian by removing some earwax. Ear mites are a parasite. They can be killed.

      There may also be a bacterial infection. I would like you to check for ear mites. And I would presume that she is in pain or discomfort. The very best of luck to you both.

  • Our cat doesnt seem to be bothered by his ear and that's prob why we didnt notice until I was petting him and it sounded like water and I look in and it's some brown but there's like a mucus color of stuff coming out. I want to take him to the vets but every vet wants 75 - 100 jus for the visit and we jus can't afford it right now. I'm trying to find what it could be but the liquidy stuff isn't on any lists. He's not in pain when I touch it bc he let me wipe it out. I think it's itchy but not lot...any one have any advice

    • Lindsay, it looks like a bad bacterial infection to me requiring antibiotics. But you will have to have it checked out for the cause. The thing is, Lindsay, you can't really avoid a veterinarian in this instance. "The first step is to determine the cause....." Sorry but I do hope you can get him to the vet and good luck.

  • My cat has a pus ballon in his ear. Is there any home remedies for it? Can I drain the ear myself?

  • My Siamese cat has dark brown puss in his left ear and in addition, I have to remove some from his eyes. Can you please let me know what I can do to resolve this?

    • I cannot help but think that this is a bacterial infection of the ear which has spread to the eye. There may also be a fungal infection. There could be ear mites too but you'll have to take him/her to the vet, Lorrie. My guess is a bacterial infection. The very best of luck to you both.

  • My 8 year old cat must have been in a fight. Now his ear fills up with puss. It is not coming out of his ear canal. It is in his ear. If I massage it, it dissipates but it keeps coming back. Please advise

    • This is an abscess caused by the bacteria of the other cat being injected into the ear flap when biting the ear. Ear flaps are vulnerable to injury in fights. A vet will need to drain the abscess to remove the puss and then wash it and then provide you with a course of antibiotic pills. This will fix the problem. Please take him to the vet asap and thanks for visiting, Lianne. I am not a vet.

  • Some brown and smelly fluid come out from my persian cat. Wht do i have to do? Is it because of the bacteria or infection?

    • Hi Wafa, it sounds like a bacterial infection. A bad one. If I am correct it requires antibiotics but a veterinarian visit is essential. Good luck.

      P.S. it needs urgent treatment as it is causing discomfort and pain to your cat.

  • I've had my 5 year old cat to the vet several times over the years for what they say is a yeast infection. We've tried different medications but the infection keeps returning. Usually she's just shaking her head and you can hear what sounds like fluid. Is there anyway to cure this for good?

    • Hello Shannon. The well-known book that I have states that prolonged use of topical antibiotics alters the natural bacterial flora in the ear canal, which improves conditions for the growth of yeast and fungi. A yeast otitis may therefore develop as a secondary problem in a cat with a long-standing bacterial or ear mite infection, or a food allergy. Yeast and fungus infections tend to recur, and treatment is often prolonged.

      As to treatment, your vet may want to do a swab to look at cells from the ear to determine the exact cause of the problem and to determine whether the problem has cleared, because stopping treatment beforehand (not just at the remission of signs) frequently results in relapse. Topical medications may need to be supplemented with oral medications.

      Treatment is similar to the treatment for bacterial otitis, except that an antifungal agent is used. Panolog, which contains nystatin is effective against the yeast Candida albicans. Tresaderm, which contains thiabenzole is effective against Candida and most other common used invaders. Miconazole solutions are commonly prescribed as well.

      I hope that this helps and the very best of luck to you and your cat. I feel sorry about your cat must be in discomfort.

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