Cats can develop inflammation of the outer ear (otitis externa) from ear mites, bacteria, wax accumulation, or infected wounds. Symptoms include odor, scratching or pawing at the ears, inflammation, head shaking, appearance of exudate, or holding ear flaps at an unusual angle. Treatment consists of cleansing the ear and applying a topical antibiotic medication.

Middle ear (otitis media) inflammation can be caused by bacteria, parasites, foreign bodies, or fungi. Symptoms include lack of balance and tilting of the head. Treatment may include the use of an antifungal medication or antibiotics. Surgery may be required in some cases.

Inner ear infections (otitis interna) are extremely serious and can result in irreversible damage or even death. Signs of an inner ear infection include vomiting, hearing loss, circling, abnormal eye movements, and loss of coordination and balance. Treatment may include the use of antibiotics or antifungal medication.

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