Natural cure for cat’s ear infection – from pau d’ arco to Hepar Sulph

A natural cure for cat’s ear infection can become an effective means to end the constant shaking of the head and scratching of the ear that accompanies this common ear problem. Or it may alleviate the condition. 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.

Itchy ear
Itchy ear. Photo in public domain.
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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. Some are insightful and others less so. First-hand experience is always useful.


Symptoms of Cat Ear Infection

A cat suffering an ear infection will often shake his 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 a while, 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 in 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
Cleaning Maru’s ears. Still from video.

RELATED: Are cat ear mites contagious to humans?

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.

RELATED: Veterinarian puts ear mites in his ear

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. These are both herbal, homeopathic medical remedies

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.

Two Homeopathic remedies mentioned

Hepar sulphuris calcareum (Hepar Sulph) is a mineral compound. It is prepared from the inner layer of calcium-rich oyster shells. This is mixed with flowers of sulphur and heated. It’s a combination of two homeopathic medicines: sulphur and calcarea carbonica. It means “liver of sulphur”. In humans it is used for several ailments. The video below may be helpful.

The homeopathic remedy graphites are used for long-term skin disorders in people.

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.

Note: this article was written about 12 years ago by a guest writer who was very good and it has been updated several times since and republished. At least one of the changes was due to suggestions by visitors in the comments. Thank you.

Please remember that it is always advisable to consult with your veterinarian if for no other reason to seek another opinion. Some vets will be against ‘natural treatments’ while others may be more open-minded.

Conventional treatments

It is useful to briefly mention conventional treatments which includes veterinarians using antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and antiparasitic ear drops. They might also use lotions to control external ear infections. Middle ear infections are normally treated with oral antibiotics and sometimes decongestants. Sometimes the cat’s balance is affected which indicates anti-emetic drugs as a treatment. Severe external ear disease may require syringing of the cat’s ears under deep sedation or even a general anaesthetic.

118 thoughts on “Natural cure for cat’s ear infection – from pau d’ arco to Hepar Sulph”

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