Maine Coon Cat Itchy Ears: Cat Ear Mites vs. Ear Wax

PawperCare Team

Updated on:


Are your cat’s ears constantly itching? 

Itchy ears can be a common issue for cats, but identifying the underlying cause is crucial to help your feline friend feel better. 

In this article, I will show you the differences between cat ear mites and ear wax, how to tell the difference, and how to keep your cat’s ears healthy.

Cat Ear Mites

What are ear mites?

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in a cat’s ears, causing itching, inflammation, and sometimes infection. 

They are highly contagious and can easily spread between cats, particularly outdoor cats or those living in multi-cat households.

Can indoor cats still get ear mites?

Keeping your cat’s living area clean and sanitized is essential because indoor cats can still get ear mites.

If your cat has ear mites, it may act differently than usual. 

For example, they may shake their head frequently, scratch their ears excessively, or rub them against objects. In severe cases, they may even have sores on their ears or lose their balance.

How to deal with ear mites in cats?

Ear mites are treatable, but it’s essential to take action promptly. Ear drops prescribed by your veterinarian can kill the mites, but follow the instructions carefully. 

Applying mineral oil or olive oil to the ears can also help smother the mites. However, if left untreated, ear mites can lead to severe ear infections or even hearing loss.

Cat Ear Wax

Is it normal for cats to have ear wax?

Cats, like humans, produce earwax to protect their ears from debris and bacteria. 

However, excessive ear wax buildup can cause itching, discomfort, and sometimes infection.

What color should cat ear wax be?

It’s entirely normal for cats to have ear wax, but the amount and color of ear wax can vary depending on factors like age and breed.

Regular cat ear wax should be light in color and have a slightly sticky texture. However, noticing black or dark brown gunk in your cat’s ears may indicate an infection or wax buildup.

The buildup can block the ear canal in severe cases, leading to hearing loss.

How do you get wax out of a cat's ear?

Removing ear wax from your cat’s ears is essential to keep them comfortable and prevent infections. 

You can use a damp cotton ball or a soft cloth to wipe away the wax gently, but be careful not to push it deeper into the ear canal.

Your veterinarian may recommend a professional cleaning if your cat has excessive ear wax buildup.

How to keep your cat's ears healthy?

Prevention is vital when it comes to keeping your cat’s ears healthy. Here are some tips to help you maintain your feline friend’s ear health:

  • Clean your cat’s ears regularly: Gently wipe away any visible debris or wax using a damp cotton ball or cloth.
  • Don’t use cotton swabs: Never insert cotton swabs or other objects into your cat’s ears, as this can push debris and wax further into the ear canal and potentially cause damage.
  • Check for signs of infection: If you notice redness, swelling, or discharge in your cat’s ears, consult your veterinarian.
  • Keep your cat’s living area clean: Regularly clean your cat’s bedding and living space to prevent the buildup of bacteria and debris that can lead to ear infections.
  • Protect your cat from ear mites: Keep your cat indoors as much as possible, particularly if they live in a multi-cat household or an area with a high population of outdoor cats.
  • Schedule regular check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups can help catch potential ear problems early and prevent them from becoming more severe.


In conclusion, identifying the cause of your cat’s itchy ears is crucial to help them feel better and prevent more severe health problems.
Ear mites and ear wax are common culprits, but differentiating between them can be challenging. 

If you’re unsure what’s causing your cat’s itchy ears, it’s best to seek veterinary care.

Remember to take preventative measures to keep your cat’s ears healthy, like regularly cleaning them and scheduling regular check-ups. With proper care, you can help your feline friend stay happy, healthy, and free of itchy ears.

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